The Next Generation Penetration Test An Alternative to Traditional Penetration Testing

The Next Generation Penetration Test: An Alternative to Traditional Penetration Testing

The concept of penetration testing was born in the 1990s as a process of adversary simulation. Its job was to define what a malicious attacker is likely to do, and what they can actually do in a given system. Throughout the decades, high profile security incidents have made security a tangible topic for all. After breaches like Equifax and Marriott, the issue of security was clearly brought to attention, even for the least tech-savvy people.

The vulnerability assessment industry has embraced penetration testing as a valuable practice over the past few decades. Traditional Pen test programs used to be an integral part of a solid security program. However, the current way of resourcing and deploying them hasn’t been able to keep up with the modern attack surface.

In recent years, many organizations with extensive penetration testing programs have experienced data breaches; and the most of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing by day. As a result, the traditional models are now called into question.

Give it some thought. Is it truly possible for 1-2 testers to mimic the actions of the entire global cybercriminal community in just a few short weeks?

What are the various types of penetration tests?

  • Network penetration testing: These assist companies in reducing risk and exposure across key infrastructure on your host network and all network devices. A network penetration test is used to detect security flaws in the design, implementation, and management of servers, workstations, and network services.

To scope a network pen test, you’ll need the following information:

-Number of external IPs to be tested and also the number of those that are live

-The number of internal IPs and internal hosts that’ll be tested

-Count of physical places

-The network subnet size (s)

  • Web application testing: The goal of an application penetration test is to discover security risks caused by unsafe development methods in software design, coding, and publication.

To scope a web app test, you’ll need the following information:

-Number and variety of web app to be tested

-Number of dynamic and static pages

-Number of user input fields

-Whether test will be authenticated

-Choice between local and remote testing

  • Wireless penetration testing: A wireless penetration test seeks to detect misconfigurations of authorized wireless equipment as well as the presence of illegal access points, and helps in the detection of encryption flaws and WPA vulnerabilities.

To scope a wireless pen test, you’ll need the following information:

-The number of wireless networks to be evaluated

-The number of locations of sites

-Whether guest Wi-Fi is included

– The number of unique SSIDs

  • Segmentation check: The goal of a segmentation check is to evaluate network builds and configurations to find errors across web and app servers, routers, and firewalls.
  • Social engineering: A social engineering assessment’s aim is to identify employees who don’t correctly authenticate people, follow processes, or validate potentially harmful technology. Any of these ways might enable an attacker to abuse the employee and trick them to do something they shouldn’t.

– Employee opened harmful emails.

– Employee allowed unauthorized individuals onto the premises.

– An employee plugged in a random discarded USB to their workstation.

Traditional Penetration Testing

Despite all the flaws and issues, traditional penetration testing programs are still relied on by many organizations.
In the traditional approach, one or two testers are assigned to test against a set methodology for a defined period, typically ranging from three days to two weeks. The security industry has long used this format, and executives and business leaders have already realized its value. This project has a known quantity and it is best suited to targets that require physical presence to access/test. With a charge per day and a typical website taking around 4 to 5 days to scan, you know in advance how much you will pay, regardless of how many vulnerabilities are found.

The Traditional Model Has Its Downsides

In the past, traditional penetration testing was a dominant force in security. However, recently, other approaches have gained more popularity. A Yahoo report claims that nearly 80% of senior IT and IT security leaders believe their organizations lack sufficient protection against cyberattacks despite increased IT security investments.
Evidently, traditional penetration testing has become less effective as a tool to manage cyber risk and no longer serves modern organizations’ needs.
The following reasons explain why:

A false sense of security

A majority of companies only run one or two tests per year. Each pentest will only give you a snapshot of your security posture at a particular point in time. Once new updates are applied, all findings will be outdated. In a world where systems are constantly being updated, testing once or twice a year would leave new codes and attack surfaces untested for months.
and guess what? Now come new vulnerabilities!

One person versus a community

A pen test is usually performed by one or two people following a rote methodology. On the other side, the cybercrime community relies on a wide variety of skills and creativity in addition to a valuable amount of time and motivation to gain access to an asset. There’s just one problem:
A pen tester doesn’t have these privileges!
Considering the huge number of potential adversaries and the diverse skill set of cybercriminals, it is unlikely for such an approach to uncover even a fraction of the vulnerabilities an asset may have.

Poor results

Usually a penetration test identifies only eight high-value, unknown vulnerabilities. False positives and no-risk issues are interspersed among these valid findings, making them difficult to identify and resolve. Worse yet, many genuine high-risk vulnerabilities might go undetected.
Other problems with this format include high costs, time delays, slow results, and lack of SDLC integration. Given all the issues and flaws, traditional penetration testing has become an ineffective approach to managing cyber risk in today’s environment.

Next-Gen Pen test: The Viable Alternative

Since traditional pen testing is being phased out of the cyber battlefield, new approaches that better meet the needs of the industry have begun to surface. The next generation penetration test is the new approach that relies on the power of crowdsourced intelligence to efficiently and effectively manage cyber risk.
By combining the essential elements of security testing, SecureBug has launched next-gen pen test as a crowdsourced model for companies seeking to greatly reduce risk, increase go-to-market speed, and exceed methodology-driven compliance initiatives.
NGPT taps into the expertise of an increasingly diverse pool of security talent all around the globe. Using this fully-managed crowdsourced security model backed by industry-leading technology, NGPT identifies, matches, and motivates the right skills for every project without causing scheduling delays or excess costs.

Determine what kind of pen test you require

Tests may be customized for a wide variety of products, demands, and situations. While deciding on the type of penetration test you need, you’ll also have to decide whether you want a white box, black box, or gray box test.

  • White box tests: White box testing is a method in which information about target networks or other systems is shared with ethical hackers before an interaction, and it can be used to logic test software for gaps in code and security. White box testing includes path testing, loop testing, and condition testing.
  • Black box tests: In contrast, in a black box test, ethical hackers are given no previous information about the environment to be evaluated and must conduct reconnaissance to obtain their own information. Functional testing, non-functional testing, and regression testing are examples of black box testing.

Although a white box test helps to save testing time, a black box test is a more accurate representation of an actual attack type, and is thus preferred by organizations that are trying to replicate the strategy of a genuine enemy.

  • Gray box tests: gray box testing is a software testing approach that combines black box testing and white box testing, and it’s a fantastic way to perform high-level functional testing. Gray box testing provides some insight into the internal structure, design, and execution.

Choosing the correct approach to testing is important to success.

kind of pen test you require

Is It Worth Making the Change?

Getting pen tests can be expensive, no question about it. Yet here’s the kicker: According to CSO Online, Data breaches cost enterprises an average of $3.92 million.
Pen tests seem to be less expensive now, don’t you think?

Considering numerous functional and financial flaws, traditional models have proven inability to adapt to the challenges of the modern world.
NGPT is providing a new form of value to the security industry. This new method eliminates the operational and financial flaws of traditional models by harnessing the expertise of a global tester community.

In organizations that use traditional penetration testing, tests are typically performed 1-2 times per year, possibly less. This leads to insecurity of systems almost all year round. Meanwhile, organizations using the crowdsourced approach test at least 4-5 times a year. As a result, their systems receive much better security coverage throughout their whole life cycle.

Let’s talk money.
ROI plays an important role here, as well. Typically, internal testing is not something that can be afforded by companies. As a result of the relatively high cost and poor results, this solution isn’t cost-effective. On the other hand, the total cost of crowdsourced penetration testing is almost the same as the traditional model. In the case of crowdsourcing, however, the results are unlimited and of much higher quality than the traditional testing. In other words, the crowdsourced model offers much more bang for your buck.
The math is up to you. Who is the clear winner here?

Speaking of results, it is always crowdsourced testing that yields the best results.
It has been proven that traditional penetration tests are significantly more likely to end in poor results. Not only does crowdsourced pentest find more vulnerabilities, but also the findings are of a much higher value and quality.

Lessons Learned

Overall, organizations are realizing the issues with traditional penetration testing services and are seeking better alternatives. The next generation penetration testing has brought a whole new, innovative twist to the industry, and has become a go-to choice by many organizations so far.

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