SBN

Penetration Testing as a Service

More than a year ago,
we talked in a blog post
about the growing expansion of the pentesting market
and how complex it is becoming for organizations
to make the right choice of a provider
with so many offers on the table.
The problem resides in the fact
that many of them can be misleading
and do not guarantee a sufficient quality
that other providers can achieve in this security testing method.
At that time,
we highlighted some key attributes
you could keep in mind to choose a competent penetration testing vendor.
Now,
we will inform you about a more recent model,
penetration testing as a service (PTaaS),
in which traditional pen testing is tweaked
to have more value within the agile
and now popular DevSecOps methodology.
Our intention is that you have a clear understanding of what it is
and what benefits it offers
before you make a decision.

Introduction: What is penetration testing?

As you saw in the previous paragraph,
we used the words “penetration testing,”
“pentesting,” and “pen testing.”
This is common in this context,
but they all refer to the same concept:
the security testing of information systems
by simulating genuine attacks
with the authorization of their owners
to detect vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing is part of an offensive security posture
in which the predominant idea is that
the best way to deal with malicious attackers
is to think and act like them.
This is done by security experts,
known as white hat testers,
ethical hackers or,
precisely,
pen testers,
using various tactics,
techniques and procedures.
In their penetration and exploitation results,
these experts disclose to owners and interested parties
where and how to make adjustments
to protect their systems.

The continuous progress in cybercrime
and the accelerated evolution of technology
make it necessary to evaluate system security time and again.
Mistakenly,
many organizations believe that
implementing automated tools is the perfect solution.
And that the more tools they have,
the better.
Automation fulfills the so-called vulnerability scanning.
This,
however,
acts only as a first layer
within a strategy of comprehensive security testing.
Systems are checked through this method
to quickly detect previously known security problems in them.
Not including an active layer of human intervention
in a security testing project,
precisely with manual pen testing,
is a blunder.

We ask you to be aware of our emphasis above on “manual.”
We speak of manual penetration testing because,
in the context of cybersecurity,
automatic tools are also attributed the capability of performing pentesting.
We do not dispute that tools can infiltrate
or find their way into various nooks and crannies of a system.
But proper penetration testing should not be limited to automation.
Pentesting without human intervention ends up being
mere vulnerability scanning.
In contrast to what ethical hackers can achieve with in-depth inspection,
this method fails to report complex business logic
and zero-day vulnerabilities.
In addition,
it yields false positives and false negatives,
which professionals must validate.

How is pentesting usually performed?

A penetration testing service can include among its targets
web and mobile applications,
networks, IoT devices and many other information systems.
It seeks to detect problems in user authentication
and authorization controls,
exposure of sensitive data,
secure coding errors and weaknesses in defense mechanisms,
among many other security problems.
To begin with the penetration,
the pen testers must get the approval of the system owner,
who may set certain scope limits.
Once everything is agreed upon,
the pen testers begin a reconnaissance phase.

First is passive reconnaissance,
where hackers collect information about the organization and the target
without interacting directly with them.
What takes place is the use of external and open sources.
Then there is active reconnaissance
through direct interaction with the target.
The pen testers seek deep profiling
with more intrusive information gathering.
They identify the technology used and how it works.
Furthermore,
they determine possible entry and attack vectors.

Subsequently,
pen testers use scanning tools and manual methods
that contribute to the identification of vulnerabilities.
They analyze through various factors the level of risk
and the impact that may generate the exploitation of each security issue.
After all the planning,
the hackers try to exploit the vulnerabilities in a creative way
(something that an automatic tool cannot do),
preferably within a staging environment.
They get access to the target with different methods
(e.g., privilege escalation and lateral movement),
at varying levels of depth,
in order to determine real impacts.

Once the task is completed,
the pen testers compile their results
in technical and executive reports.
These present to the stakeholders details
on the vulnerabilities detected and exploited,
the system’s responses to the penetration,
the data they accessed
and all other information about the simulated incident.
Additionally,
they provide evidence of the security issues
and recommendations for their remediation.

What is PTaaS?

Before cloud computing,
pentesting was usually contracted
to be carried out as a one-shot assessment
between extensive time intervals,
for instance,
on an annual or semi-annual basis.
(However,
if they apply it at all,
many organizations still request it this way.)
In this model,
results are delivered to the client only in a final static report
that might already have outdated data.
Pentest as a service (PTaaS) emerged as a new delivery model
for penetration testing
to eliminate previous limitations.
It’s tailored to today’s development speed
and performed continuously
while the software evolves at a certain pace
in the SDLC (software development lifecycle).
Results are delivered incrementally based on new findings.

PTaaS uses a cloud-based centralized platform
where the results can be viewed,
monitored and analyzed continuously.
The client can achieve successful vulnerability management
since this new steady model helps solve the problem of prioritization
and remediation caused by the previous model,
in which all vulnerabilities,
old and new,
are left to be reported at a single point in time.
Another difficulty solved with PTaaS is the limited
or non-existent collaboration between developers and pen testers.
The latter can now support the former frequently,
resolving their doubts
and providing them with remediation recommendations or instructions.

In PTaaS,
there must be automated and manual pentesting.
This model recognizes that human creativity is still indispensable
in the assessment of systems.
If it were only the former,
we would end up talking simply about software as a service (SaaS).
Continuous manual penetration testing is combined with vulnerability scanning
to enjoy the benefits of both solutions.
Experts and tools can ensure that
a wide variety of security testing methodologies are used.
While automated tools concentrate
on the fast detection of known vulnerabilities,
pen testers engage in discovering more complex
and even previously unknown vulnerabilities.
Pen testers also correlate their results
and validate those delivered by the tools
making sure that the final report is correct
and that nothing was missed.

Benefits of PTaaS

From a proficient PTaaS provider,
you can expect the following:

  • An integration of automation and ethical hackers or pen testers
    that improves the efficiency and accuracy of security testing.

  • A single pane of glass
    with all relevant data during the penetration testing
    that gives you broad and convenient control for vulnerability management.

  • The data are always available and continuously updated
    as your system assessment progresses;
    a procedure that remains alert to recent changes.

  • Vulnerability remediation can be performed soon after identification,
    following a prioritization.
    You avoid going into production
    with a high risk of being harmed by cyberattacks.

  • Their model enables constant collaboration
    between the group of pen testers and your team of developers.

  • Once you have remediated a vulnerability,
    you can request verification of the effectiveness
    of the implemented solution.

PTaaS by Fluid Attacks

In line with the above,
whether you are attempting only to comply with standards
such as PCI DSS,
NIST, GDPR,
HIPAA, etc.,
or aim for a broader commitment to the security of your company
and customers or users,
at Fluid Attacks,
we offer optimal PTaaS.
We test in safe mode
(i.e., without affecting the availability of your services)
the security of your web and mobile applications,
networks, devices, cloud infrastructure and other IT systems.
We combine our automatic tools
with manual penetration testing
by our cybersecurity experts,
who have highly reputed certifications and diverse skill sets.
In this way,
we obtain minimum false positive and false negative rates.

We integrate PTaaS into your SDLC from the start
and test your software at the pace of your development team
and their micro changes.
On our Attack Resistance Management platform (ARM),
you continuously receive detailed reports
as the continuous pentesting advances.
These make it easy for you to understand your risk exposure
and prioritize security issues for their remediation.
Your developers can maintain communication and collaboration with our hackers,
from whom they receive clear and tangible evidence
and fixing recommendations.
In addition,
our team offers you unlimited reattacks
to verify that your vulnerabilities have been effectively closed.
Moreover,
our DevSecOps agent breaks the build
to prevent vulnerabilities from going into production
if they remain open,
in accordance with your organization’s policies.

This solution is part of our Continuous Hacking service.
We invite you to contact us
if you are interested
in experiencing the benefits of our pentesting as a service (PTaaS).
If you want to get started
with our security testing services by automatic tools,
we have a 21-day free trial
of our Machine Plan at your disposal.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Fluid Attacks RSS Feed authored by Felipe Ruiz. Read the original post at: https://fluidattacks.com/blog/what-is-ptaas/