Penetration Testing

A penetration test, also known as a pen test, is a simulated cyber attack against your computer system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. In the context of web application security, penetration testing is commonly used to augment a web application firewall (WAF).

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$399

Penetration Testing or pen testing is a method of testing an organization’s data defense from a controlled ethical hacking environment.  Scope of the penetration test is defined and a penetrating testing company will attempt to hack into a company’s network to expose and exploit organization’s network weaknesses.With the rise of threats, many ‘would be cyber’ companies are jumping on the cyber security bandwagon, offering a variety of  solutions to the market place, often times ill equipped and lacking the proper experience to successfully manage the right cyber security solutions and proactive network security testing.

1. Planning and reconnaissance

  • Defining the scope and goals of a test, including the systems to be addressed and the testing methods to be used.
  • Gathering intelligence (e.g., network and domain names, mail server) to better understand how a target works and its potential vulnerabilities.

2. Scanning

The next step is to understand how the target application will respond to various intrusion attempts. This is typically done using:

  • Static analysis – Inspecting an application’s code to estimate the way it behaves while running. These tools can scan the entirety of the code in a single pass.
  • Dynamic analysis – Inspecting an application’s code in a running state. This is a more practical way of scanning, as it provides a real-time view into an application’s performance.

3. Gaining Access

This stage uses web application attacks, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection and backdoors, to uncover a target’s vulnerabilities. Testers then try and exploit these vulnerabilities, typically by escalating privileges, stealing data, intercepting traffic, etc., to understand the damage they can cause.

Penetration testing and web application firewalls

Penetration testing and WAFs are exclusive, yet mutually beneficial security measures.

For many kinds of pen testing (with the exception of blind and double blind tests), the tester is likely to use WAF data, such as logs, to locate and exploit an application’s weak spots.

In turn, WAF administrators can benefit from pen testing data. After a test is completed, WAF configurations can be updated to secure against the weak spots discovered in the test.

Finally, pen testing satisfies some of the compliance requirements for security auditing procedures, including PCI DSS and SOC 2. Certain standards, such as PCI-DSS 6.6, can be satisfied only through the use of a certified WAF. Doing so, however, doesn’t make pen testing any less useful due to its aforementioned benefits and ability to improve on WAF configurations.


A penetration test is a crucial component to network security. Through these tests a business can identify:

  • Security vulnerabilities before a hacker does
  • Gaps in information security compliance
  • The response time of their information security team, i.e. how long it takes the team to realize that there is a breach and mitigate the impact
  • The potential real-world effect of a data breach or cybersecurity attack
  • Actionable remediation guidance

Through penetration testing, security professionals can effectively find and test the security of multi-tier network architectures, custom applications, web services, and other IT components. These penetration testing tools and services help you gain fast insight into the areas of highest risk so that you may effectively plan security budgets and projects. Thoroughly testing the entirety of a business's IT infrastructure is imperative to taking the precautions needed to secure vital data from cybersecurity hackers, while simultaneously improving the response time of an IT department in the event of an attack.

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Compotus IT Solutions
Sterling VA | Rosedale MD | York PA
Contact: (804) 256-0417 | info@compotus.com