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Penetration testing is a popular term used for providing more strength to the network security of the corporate world. Penetration testing uses processes and tools for scanning of the vulnerabilities in the environment of the network and focuses on the weaknesses of the system in the case of security of the web applications.
In this digital era, it is vital to connect globally through the internet, which searches for the urge to adopt cyber security processes for the protection of all the information assets over there. According to Zhang et al. (2019), many companies use penetration testing methods to fix the weaknesses in the security as this method can give the exact information of the security systems and can provide services to the network system of the organization.
The penetration testing holds an objective and scope for evaluating the weaknesses of the security systems in the network system of any organisation along with helping the organisation to identify their security issues and testing the awareness towards the security of the employers. In the views of McKinnel et al. (2020), the penetration testing method first identifies the security gaps in the system so that the organisation can build an action plan according to the depth of the threat. The results of the penetration test further help the organisation in creating a stronger case in business for producing the security messages in the case of implementation (Casola et al. 2018). Moreover, this testing can search for new threats for an organisation along with focusing on the internal resources of the security systems in an organisation. The regulatory compliances of any company can be met up by the use of the tools used in the penetration testing method (Rahman and Williams, 2019). Additionally, the penetration test can provide the primary security for the typical entities along with assisting the firm in the case of finding the weakest links in the entire infrastructure. Moreover, according to Ibrahim and Kant (2018), the results of this test will deliver some validation feedback in the security framework and business entities. This will eventually show the company growth while reducing the risk in implementations.
The international dependency on information technology is growing day by day with the increased risk of vulnerability. As observed by Ghanem and Chen (2020), this kind of vulnerability can cause a maximum loss in an organisation as a hacker can take control of the infrastructure of IT if there are weaknesses in the system. In the case of preventing, detecting, responding accordingly and recovering from this kind of attack, penetration testing is significant (Chandrakant and Prakash, 2019). The result of the assessment regarding the risk can provide a company with a list that contains the objectives on a priority basis for securing the business. According to Barik et al. (2021), personnel can learn to handle the break-in through a malicious entry by learning ethical hacking. Further, penetration testing can serve as a path to evaluate if the security policies of an organisation are effective or not. According to Meghana (2019), the penetration testing method can provide solutions in order to help an organisation to detect the attackers along with preventing intruders to force entry with the help of an efficient way. Moreover, the penetration testing method can serve as a kind of fire drill approach to an information technology infrastructure (Fischer et al. 2020).
However, there are certain differences between ethical hacking and penetration testing, but they are often used interchangeably. Ethical hacking is a comprehensive term and an ethical hacker subsequently needs to know the hardware as well as software programming (Pradeep and Sakthivel, 2021). A penetration tester, on the other hand, can only have specific knowledge of the specific area on which the test is going to be performed. Testers can perform the test if they have some inputs of penetration testing. On the contrary, in the views of Tatum et al. (2018), an ethical hacker needs to be an expert professional with an obligatory certificate on the subject in the case of hacking effectively and ethically. According to Khan et al. (2019), penetration testing involves less time than Ethical hacking. As per the circumstance, there is a requirement of a certain particular part of an infrastructure on which the penetration testing is going to be applicable while in ethical hacking, the accessibility of the whole system of infrastructure is required (Radholm and Abefelt, 2020).
There have been some forms of evaluation in the penetration testing method that can be noted and this calls for some expectations of tremendous change in the future of the penetration testing method. According to Gangupantulu et al. (2021), there were manual modes of processing but now, there are several technologies along with improved machine language application, which eventually helps penetration testers to overcome difficulty regarding the handling issues of risks of an enormous number of IP addresses. The future of penetration testing is with the progress of Artificial intelligence (AI) along with the improvement in machine language (Abu-Dabaseh and Alshammari, 2018). AI along with machine language can help testers to gather information and data automatically along with analysis of the data and the determination of the course of action. In the views of Gupta et al. (2020), it can be used as the best way to deploy the best social engineering attacks based on the collected information. Moreover, as discovered by Lin et al. (2021), it can be used to acknowledge and evaluate the target hosts who are going to be attacked first based on the weaknesses of the organisation as the success probability is more there.
AI and machine language help the testers to acknowledge the results from the scan, to analyse, and to remove the threats from the system. Artificial intelligence can help to diagnose the courses of action, which will work best to fight the vulnerable attack by the collateral connection of all the gathered data and information (Schwartz, and Kurniawati, 2019). Moreover, according to the strategies, the testers can gain all the access required in order to perform lateral actions for escalating the privileges. Many tools are open source in the market for executing the phases of penetration testing, which can be more automated in the future to enhance the process of information gathering and improve the process of exploration of the vulnerabilities.
The penetration testing can cost some reveal of sensitive information, which can lead to a huge amount of damage. Moreover, there can be some serious consequences like the crashing of the server, the corruption of the data, or even a criminal hack as well. Conducting a test on the entire infrastructure can cost a lot of effort, resources, time, and details, which can make the process more expensive and complex (Schubert et al. 2018). Moreover, as criminal hacking can be done by the same method, it will not be so wrong to call it unethical.
Penetration testing helps to evaluate the threats about the risk in an information technology infrastructure of any business. It is essential to maintain the ethical values of penetration testing while implementing. It can be concluded that penetration testing is beneficial in many aspects such as revealing the weaknesses of the security and the actions required to mitigate the problems.
Abu-Dabaseh, F. and Alshammari, E., 2018, April. Automated penetration testing: An overview. In The 4th International Conference on Natural Language Computing, Copenhagen, Denmark (pp. 121-129).
Barik, K., Abirami, A., Das, S., Konar, K. and Banerjee, A., 2021, September. Penetration Testing Analysis with Standardized Report Generation. In 3rd International Conference on Integrated Intelligent Computing Communication & Security (ICIIC 2021) (pp. 365-372). Atlantis Press.
Casola, V., De Benedictis, A., Rak, M. and Villano, U., 2018, June. Towards automated penetration testing for cloud applications. In 2018 IEEE 27th International Conference on Enabling Technologies: Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises (WETICE) (pp. 24-29). IEEE.
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Fischer, M., Langer, F., Mono, J., Nasenberg, C. and Albartus, N., 2020. Hardware penetration testing knocks your SoCs off. IEEE Design & Test, 38(1), pp.14-21.
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Ghanem, M.C. and Chen, T.M., 2020. Reinforcement learning for efficient network penetration testing. Information, 11(1), p.6.
Ibrahim, A.B. and Kant, S., 2018. Penetration testing using SQL injection to recognize the vulnerable point on web pages. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 13(8), pp.5935-5942.
Johari, R., Kaur, I., Tripathi, R. and Gupta, K., 2020, October. Penetration Testing in IoT Network. In 2020 5th International Conference on Computing, Communication and Security (ICCCS) (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
Li, L., Li, Z., Shahriar, H., Rutherfoord, R., Peltsverger, S. and Tatum, D., 2018. Ethical Hacking: Network Security and Penetration Testing. College of Computing and Software Engineering. pp. 1-39.
McKinnel, D.R., Dargahi, T., Dehghantanha, A. and Choo, K.K.R., 2019. A systematic literature review and meta-analysis on artificial intelligence in penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. Computers & Electrical Engineering, 75, pp.175-188.
Meghana, K.R., 2019. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Using A mini computer. International Journal of Scientific Research & Engineering Trends,5(3).
Pradeep, I. and Sakthivel, G., 2021, March. Ethical hacking and penetration testing for securing us from Hackers. In Journal of Physics: Conference Series (Vol. 1831, No. 1, p. 012004). IOP Publishing.
Radholm, F. and Abefelt, N., 2020. Ethical Hacking of an IoT-device: Threat Assessment and Penetration Testing: A Survey on Security of a Smart Refrigerator. School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).
Rahman, A. and Williams, L., 2019, April. A bird's eye view of knowledge needs related to penetration testing. In Proceedings of the 6th Annual Symposium on Hot Topics in the Science of Security (pp. 1-2).
Schwartz, J. and Kurniawati, H., 2019. Autonomous penetration testing using reinforcement learning. arXiv preprint arXiv:1905.05965.
Shah, M., Ahmed, S., Saeed, K., Junaid, M. and Khan, H., 2019, January. Penetration testing active reconnaissance phase–optimized port scanning with nmap tool. In 2019 2nd International Conference on Computing, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies (iCoMET) (pp. 1-6). IEEE.
Svenmarck, P., Luotsinen, L., Nilsson, M. and Schubert, J., 2018, May. Possibilities and challenges for artificial intelligence in military applications. In Proceedings of the NATO Big Data and Artificial Intelligence for Military Decision Making Specialists’ Meeting (pp. 1-16). France: Neuilly-sur-Seine.
Tran, K., Akella, A., Standen, M., Kim, J., Bowman, D., Richer, T. and Lin, C.T., 2021. Deep hierarchical reinforcement agents for automated penetration testing. arXiv preprint arXiv:2109.06449.
Zhang, N., Arroyo, M., Ciantia, M.O., Gens, A. and Butlanska, J., 2019. Standard penetration testing in a virtual calibration chamber. Computers and Geotechnics, 111, pp.277-289.
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