As a security professional, you know that performing network penetration testing is critical to maintaining the security of your organization. But what are the best tools to use for this process? In this article, we will discuss some basics of network penetration testing and finally five network penetration testing tools that you should add to your arsenal.
Network Penetration Testing Basics:
Network penetration testing involves testing a network to determine if it’s protected against various attack methods. To accomplish this, you’ll need a few basic tools.
The first set of penetration testing tools you’ll need includes various tools that allow you to test different aspects of your network security. These usually include vulnerability scanners, exploit kits, and password crackers.
The second tool you’ll need is a virtual private network (VPN). This will allow you to safely test your network from outside of it.
Finally, you’ll need a thorough grasp of the many sorts of attacks that can be used against a network. This will help you to better determine which tools to use and how to best exploit any vulnerabilities that are discovered.
Let’s look at some important terminology, now that we’ve learned what it entails.
Type Of Penetration Testing Based On Available Information:
- Black-box network pen testing: This type of pen testing is done with no knowledge about the internal systems or network. ype of pen testing is done with some limited knowledge about the internal networks and systems, but not access to them.
- White-box network pen testing: This type of pen testing is done with complete knowledge about the internal systems and networks.
Type Of Penetration Testing Based On Resources Used:
- Automated pen testing: This type of pen testing uses automated tools to exploit vulnerabilities. These tools may be used to test a wide range of systems and networks.
- Manual pen testing: This type of pen testing is done manually, by hand. This is often more time-consuming but can provide greater detail about the security of a system or network.
Now that we have covered some basic terminology and how to approach this, let’s look at the five network penetration testing tools that you must include in your arsenal.
Top 5 Network Penetration Testing Tools
1. Astra Pentest
Astra Security’s flagship penetration testing tool, the Astra Pentest packs a lot of features for network and web application penetration testing including:
- scanning for 3000+ threats
- remediation tips for each vulnerability
- compliance-based testing
- hacker-style penetration testing
- risk scores and threat severity
- 24/7 online support from the team of experts
2. Nmap (Network Mapper)
Nmap is a free open-source tool that can be used for security auditing, network discovery, and mapping of hosts on computer networks. It works by sending sample packets to hosts on the network and analyzing the details of the response such as the time it took, the response it got, etc.
Wireshark is a free open-source tool for network traffic analysis. It can be used to analyze captured network traffic, including information about packets sent and received over the network.
Nikto is a free open-source web server scanner that can be used to detect vulnerabilities in web servers and other applications. It works by sending specially crafted requests to the target system, then analyzing the responses for potential vulnerabilities.
Aircrack-ng is a free open source wireless network security tool that can be used to audit WEP and WPA/WPA networks. It works by capturing packets sent between the access point and clients on the network, then analyzing them for potential vulnerabilities.
These are just a few examples of the many network penetration testing tools that are available. By having a variety of tools at your disposal, you can be better prepared to test the security of your systems and networks.
Benefits Of Using Network Penetration Testing Tools
There are many benefits of using a network penetration testing tool such as:
- Finding more vulnerabilities – It is difficult to find all of the vulnerabilities in a large network without some type of software. By using a penetration testing tool, you can easily scan your entire network and identify any potential threats before they become an issue.
- Automating tasks – Network scanning tools allow for automation which means that you can easily scan your network for vulnerabilities without having to do it manually. This is a time-saving feature and can be helpful when trying to identify any new vulnerabilities that may have been introduced since the last scan.
- Reducing human error – By using a network penetration testing tool, you can reduce human error when trying to identify potential threats on your network. This will save both time and money since it reduces the amount of effort needed from employees who are tasked with identifying vulnerabilities in their networks.
What’s The Best Tool For The Task?
It’s critical to use the appropriate tool when performing any sort of testing. When selecting a network penetration testing tool, you need to consider:
- the type of test that needs to be performed (black-box, grey-box, white-box)
- the resources and duration available
- the operating system, its version, the updates installed on it, and the platforms to be tested
- the level of detail required
- the purpose of the test (e.g., vulnerability assessment, compliance testing, red team exercises)
Once you have determined the goal and the type of test that needs to be performed, you can select the appropriate tool. If more detailed information is required, you will need automated pen testing in conjunction with manual pen-testing.
What If You Don’t Have The Resources To Perform A Full Network Pen Test?
If you lack the resources to perform a full network pen test, there are other options. You can consult with a professional penetration testing company to get a report on the security of your systems. You may also use security testing tools to discover possible flaws in your computer systems and networks.
The important thing is to start somewhere and build on your results. The more you experiment with testing, the better prepared you’ll be to defend your systems and networks from attack.
How To Prepare For A Network Penetration Test?
It is critical to plan for a network penetration test. It is not something that you can simply jump into without outlining certain things such as:
- Which systems can be sidelined and used for testing
- Is everyone on board with the test and all parties whose information or systems may be affected by the test have been informed and given the approval to proceed?
- What is the purpose of the pen test? Is it just a one-off or do you plan on doing multiple tests to find as many vulnerabilities as possible?
- Are there any specific goals for this particular test (e.g., finding the specific latest threat that’s been affecting other companies)?
- What are the limitations of this test (e.g., time, resources)?
How To Perform A Network Penetration Test?
Once you have outlined all of the above items and determined that everyone is on board with it, then you can start your network pen-testing. This can be done manually by following steps such as:
- Reconnaissance – This is where you gather as much information about the target systems as possible. User names, passwords, and even IP addresses are examples of this.
- Enumeration – After gathering information about the target system, you can start enumerating to try and get more detailed information about the system. This includes looking for open ports, services running on those ports, and any vulnerabilities that may exist within those services.
- Exploitation – Once you have enumerated all of the information about the target system, it is time to exploit any vulnerabilities that were found during this step. This means finding a way into the system without being detected by antivirus software or other security measures that are in place.
- Maintaining Access – This is the most important step, as it is how you will be able to extract data or perform other actions on the target system. It is important to have a way to maintain access so that you can come back and revisit the system at a later time.
- Reporting – After completing the above steps, it is important to report your findings. This can be done in many ways such as writing a report or presenting information at conferences and meetups.
How Do You Know If A Network Penetration Test Is Successful?
A network penetration test can be considered successful if the tester has gained access to the target system. There are many different ways that this can happen and it all depends on what type of information or data you are trying to retrieve from the target system. If your goal was just gaining access, then the test is successful. If your goal was to extract data or perform other actions on the target system, then the test is successful only if you are able to do so without being detected.
Additionally, many other factors can determine how successful your penetration test was. These include:
- How long did it take to gain access? If you gained access in a short amount of time, then the target system may be poorly protected and therefore easier for hackers to gain access into.
- Were any security measures bypassed? If you were able to gain access without bypassing any security measures, then the target system is likely not well protected.
- Did you get caught? If you were detected during the network penetration test, then it can be considered unsuccessful.
Penetration testing tools are an important part of any cybersecurity strategy. They allow companies to test their networks and identify vulnerabilities before they become an issue for their customers or employees.
By using a network penetration testing tool, you can reduce human error when trying to identify potential threats on your network. This will save both time and money since it reduces the amount of effort needed from employees who are tasked with identifying vulnerabilities in their networks.
The more you experiment, the better prepared you’ll be, but start somewhere.
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