When we conduct an internal penetration test, we simulate an attack from within your network. We're assessing all internal networks, switches, routers, internal firewalls, servers, and endpoints, as well as other infrastructure components located behind the perimeter. Internal pen tests are typically conducted using a gray-box or white-box approach, during which we are granted user-level privileges and attempt reconnaissance, scanning, enumeration, exploit research, and exploit verification. Additionally, we attempt brute force, pivot, lateral movement, and privilege escalation with or without an exploit. The objective is to assess and validate the security controls in your internal information systems. Another objective is to understand the vulnerabilities that introduce risks and the countermeasures that must be taken in light of those risks.
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Outdated and unpatched systems and firmware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.
Why do I need an internal pen test?
An internal pen test examines the strength of the security controls placed inside your local area network. This includes internal physical networks, switches, routers, internal firewalls, servers, endpoints, and other infrastructure components that sit behind the perimeter. Internal systems are vulnerable due to misconfigurations, malware, weak access controls, unpatched systems, legacy protocols, information leaks, design flaws, unnecessary open ports, insider threats, rogue employees, and the end-user themselves. If vulnerabilities exist, depending on what the attacker's motives are, they can exploit those vulnerabilities to gain control, steal confidential information, obtain unauthorized access, and laterally move and escalate privileges within your network until their objective is completed, or their goals are met. Because of this, it is important to conduct an internal pen test to evaluate and assess your internal network security controls in order to prevent and deter such activities.
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. Except for the strategic and tactical approaches, the activities and processes we employ are based on the methodology we employ for external and other penetration testing.
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.