Phases of a Penetration Test


Your system’s security defenses are robust. Your IT team is amazing, yet you are still concerned about what would happen if a malicious hacker gains access to your network. One way to find out how much information or access a hacker could gain inside your network is to hire a professional “Ethical Hacker” to find out.

An Ethical Hacker is a highly trained security professional hired by businesses to identify the level of sophistication needed to compromise the system. Zelvin Security’s security specialists’ team helps large and small businesses identify the vulnerabilities and uncover security weaknesses before a malicious hacker can.

In a recent penetration test, an organization hired a team of Zelvin Security penetration testers to assess their external and internal security posture. Here is a summary of the phases of a penetration test and the results of each aspect.

Phase 1 – Scoping Meeting.

To start, the Ethical Hacking team met with the business leaders and IT team to determine the project’s scope. This critical step helps the business focus its security testing on the most coveted or essential assets. In this case, the goal was to gain access from the internet into the internal network. Once inside the internal network, the Zelvin team was given a set amount of time to access sensitive information, pivot within the network, or move laterally.

Phase 2 – Reconnaissance.

This is the art and science of uncovering seemingly useless pieces of information found online, the darknet, and other sources that provide enough information to lead to unauthorized access when the data is combined.

Phase 3Vulnerability Assessment.

This scan scan that identifies misconfigurations, missed patches, outdated equipment, and other well-known vulnerabilities.

Phase 4Penetration Testing.

Leveraging knowledge gained from the reconnaissance phase and vulnerability assessment, the team began uncovering potential attack points. In this case, the business requested a “real-world-style attack” and did not provide any additional information. Working quietly behind the scenes, using only information gained from online sources and the darknet, the Zelvin Security team emulated a hacker-in-the-wild. As simple as it seems, employees were assigned a PIN which is the same as the last four digits of their social security number. It is possible to authenticate to the business system leveraging the pin’s information instead of a password.

Phase 5 – Lateral Movement.

Once inside, with access to an employee’s account, it was possible to harvest the employee directory, and access shared files. It gave way to access to the manager’s account, which contained elevated privileges. With elevated privileges, the team captured additional PII and identified several high and medium risks, including the ability to bypass anti-virus software and deploy malware.

Phase 6 – Analysis.

In our opinion, the analysis phase is the most critical step in a penetration test.

In our opinion, the analysis phase is the most critical step in a penetration test. After the active testing phase, the Zelvin Security team identified the risks, weaknesses in defenses, and the business environment. The report outlines the risks by priority level to guide IT leaders and the executive team to reduce cyber risks.

The Zelvin Security team has the unique ability to perform deep-dive penetration testing and the business acumen to build a cybersecurity strategy after the pentest that is both practical and cost-effective.

To learn more about penetration testing, security vulnerabilities, or developing a cybersecurity strategy, please schedule a confidential consultation today.

Phases of penetest

Zelvin Security