External Penetration Testing
When we conduct an external pen test, we are simulating an attack from outside the perimeter of your network. We are evaluating all publicly available network applications and servers, including websites, web servers, RDP Gateways, VPN Gateways, SFTP, FTPS, SMTP, Mail Servers, File Servers, Honeypots, and Decoys, as well as any network infrastructure device (e.g., firewall, IDS, IPS, router) that supports remote management via remote login protocols or Web GUI. We attempt to get in as far as we can, and as long as you need us to. The goal is to test the security controls of your perimeter defense and to strengthen them.
What it looks like
What we look for
Legacy and unsupported protocols
Weak encryption and legacy encryption protocols
Weak authentication, anonymous logins
Misconfiguration, logical flaw, human error
Open ports and services
Outdated and unpatched systems and firmware
Banners and Information Leaks
Software/Hardware Design flaws
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During a white-box pen test, our tester is provided with all the information about the system that is being tested. These are typically network diagrams and credentials. This type of pen testing strategy helps reveal vulnerabilities more quickly and provides better test coverage since we know exactly what we're testing.
During a gray-box pen test, our tester is provided with limited information about the system that is being tested. This is typically user-level credentials. This strategy emulates an attacker located within the network perimeter. The intent is to validate vulnerabilities an attacker may exploit using a compromised user account.
During a black-box pen test, our tester has very limited knowledge of the infrastructure. A good amount of effort is spent during recon. The network and attack surface are all manually mapped. This strategy emulates a real hacker and their ability to compromise a target starting with limited knowledge.
Our penetration testing engagement broken down to three main steps.
Here we plan and define the extent of our test, what will be tested, where the testing will take place, and who will conduct it.
Here we perform information gathering, port scanning, enumeration, vulnerability scanning, and attempt exploitation.
Here we provide a report of our findings, a list of vulnerabilities, categorize the risk as high, medium or low, and recommend repair.
Validate vulnerabilities and possibility of actual exploitation
Achieve compliance with regulations and industry standards (ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, NIST 800-53)
Ensures effectiveness of security controls and defense systems
Identify vulnerabilities, prioritize cybersecurity risk and take appropriate action
Reveal actual risks. Determine feasibility of attack vectors and business impact of successful attack
Demonstrate commitment to security and maintain trust with stakeholders
Assures the organization that it is operating within the acceptable limit of cybersecurity risks
Prioritize efforts on high-severity vulnerabilities and delegate specific type of vulnerabilities to appropriate department.
What is the difference between internal or external penetration testing?
The main difference is the perspective of the attacker and the security layer we're attacking. When we conduct an external pen test, we simulate an attack from outside your technology perimeter, attempting to compromise your perimeter systems and services. When we conduct an internal pen test, we are attacking your internal systems from within your network's perimeter, emulating an insider threat or a hacker that has breached the perimeter. External testing is typically conducted using black-box and then gray-box techniques, whereas internal testing is typically conducted using gray-box and then white-box techniques.
What should I do first, internal or external penetration test?
Most organizations combine the two and typically conduct an external audit followed by an internal audit. Why start with the external? due to the fact that external has a greater exposure and typically a larger attack vector. You'd want to prioritize areas with a higher exposure and a greater potential for risk to your organization. However, it ultimately depends on the risk level associated with your organization's current state of security. For instance, if, following a cybersecurity risk assessment, it is determined that an internal threat poses a greater risk profile than an external threat. It would be more beneficial to conduct an internal threat assessment first to mitigate the risk associated with that threat. A cybersecurity risk assessment is highly recommended prior to making any security-related decisions. It will prioritize critical areas and ensure that security initiatives are risk and value driven.
Ready for help?
BitSpartan penetration tests are all conducted by elite ethical hackers who have undergone the most rigorous training available. All of our pen testers hold industry-recognized certifications such as LPT, CPENT, OSCP, GPEN, or CEH Master. All of our pen testers deployed in any engagement have demonstrated advanced reconnaissance and foot printing techniques, pivoting, double pivoting, tunneling, networking knowledge, advanced scanning techniques, firewall bypassing techniques, evading IDS/IPS, scripting, target database construction, and manual and automated exploitation methods.
Whether you need penetration testing done for compliance, contractual, remediation, or hygienic reasons, we can help.