External network penetration testing is the process of identifying and evaluating weaknesses in a company’s network infrastructure. This process aims to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals and prevent the loss of important information or data.
Penetration tests are the first step in the cybersecurity journey for many businesses. They are an effective way to identify security gaps and prepare the organization for future cyberattacks by determining where potential threats lie.
Unlike internal network pen tests, which are designed to test your network’s security against hackers looking to gain access to internal systems, external network pen tests focus on protecting your web-facing assets. This includes your web, mail, and FTP servers, as well as other services that are directly accessible from the Internet.
This type of external network penetration testing can be performed manually or with automated tools. Automated scanning is often used for simple, low-level issues that are easy to find and fix, while manual review is necessary for detecting more serious flaws.
A thorough assessment is essential to ensuring that your system is secure against attacks from hackers who may be looking for weaknesses or weak passwords. This is why it is critical to rely on external penetration testing services that employ experienced, highly qualified, and certified professionals to conduct the test.
The process begins with a consultation with you to determine the scope of the test and any additional requirements that need to be met. This will help you and the team to create a plan that will best serve your goals, as well as ensure the team has the necessary tools to perform the test effectively.
Once the initial consultation is complete, the team will start executing the test by conducting a thorough reconnaissance of your network and systems. This involves using port and network scanners to get a good look at the current state of the network and your existing security.
Following this, they will begin enumerating all of the exposed services on your network and performing vulnerability assessments on them, using both automated and manual techniques. These vulnerabilities will be rated in terms of severity and the recommended remediation will then be given to you in the form of an easy-to-read report, highlighting any potential problems that need to be addressed.
During this phase, the team will also use various types of social engineering to gain a deeper understanding of the business and its internal operations. This will give them the ability to target specific areas of the network in order to glean information that could lead to a successful attack.
Once the team has collected all the necessary information, they will begin attacking the network and systems. This will include attempting to brute-force and steal passwords, as well as searching for known vulnerabilities. Once they have gathered the necessary information and are successfully able to gain access, they will document their findings in a report and explain what they were able to obtain. This report will contain all of the details about the external penetration test and any vulnerabilities that were found.