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Posted: October 1st, 2020

Penetration testing | Information Systems Assignment: I need help writing a research paper.

Penetration testing is a simulated cyberattack against a computer or network that checks for exploitable vulnerabilities. Pen tests can involve attempting to breach application systems, APIs, servers, inputs, and code injection attacks to reveal vulnerabilities. In a well-written, highly-detailed research paper, discuss the following:

What is penetration testing
Testing Stages
Testing Methods
Testing, web applications and firewalls

Your paper should meet the following requirements:

Be approximately 3.5 pages in length, not including the required cover page and reference page. (Remember, APA is double spaced)
Follow APA 7 guidelines. Your paper should include an introduction, a body with fully developed content, and a conclusion.
Support your answers with the readings from the course and at least two scholarly journal articles to support your positions, claims, and observations, in addition to your textbook.
Be clear and well-written, concise, and logical, using excellent grammar and style techniques. You are being graded in part on the quality of your writing.

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In today’s digital world, cybersecurity is a critical concern for individuals, organizations, and governments. Cyberattacks and data breaches can lead to significant financial losses, legal repercussions, and damage to a company’s reputation. To prevent such attacks, cybersecurity professionals use various techniques, including penetration testing. Penetration testing is a simulated cyberattack designed to identify potential vulnerabilities in a computer or network system. This paper will explore the concept of penetration testing, including testing stages, methods, and its use in testing web applications and firewalls.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is a cybersecurity practice that involves simulating a real-world cyber attack to identify vulnerabilities in a computer or network system. The purpose of pen testing is to detect potential security flaws and help organizations strengthen their security measures. Pen testing involves various techniques, including attempting to breach application systems, APIs, servers, inputs, and code injection attacks to reveal vulnerabilities.

Penetration Testing Stages

Penetration testing is a multi-stage process that involves several steps to identify vulnerabilities and test the security measures of a system. The following are the different stages of penetration testing:

Planning and Preparation: The first stage of pen testing involves planning and preparing for the test. The pen tester will determine the scope of the test, including which systems will be tested, the level of access they will have, and the types of attacks that will be simulated.

Reconnaissance: The reconnaissance stage involves gathering information about the target system to identify potential vulnerabilities. This stage includes activities such as port scanning, network mapping, and web application scanning.

Scanning and Enumeration: This stage involves using specialized tools to identify and enumerate vulnerabilities in the target system. The pen tester will identify open ports, weak passwords, and other vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

Exploitation: Once vulnerabilities have been identified, the pen tester will attempt to exploit them to gain access to the system. This stage involves simulating various types of attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and buffer overflow attacks.

Reporting: After the test is complete, the pen tester will prepare a report that details the vulnerabilities identified during the test, along with recommendations for improving the security of the system.

Testing Methods

Penetration testing can be performed using different methods, depending on the type of system being tested and the desired outcome. The following are the different methods used in penetration testing:

Black Box Testing: Black box testing is a method in which the tester has no prior knowledge of the system being tested. This method is used to simulate a real-world attack scenario where the attacker has no prior knowledge of the target system.

White Box Testing: White box testing is a method in which the tester has complete knowledge of the target system, including source code and network topology. This method is used to test specific parts of the system, such as individual applications or services.

Gray Box Testing: Gray box testing is a combination of black box and white box testing. The tester has some knowledge of the target system, such as user credentials, but does not have access to the source code or network topology. This method is used to test the security of systems that are difficult to test using only black box or white box testing.

Testing Web Applications and Firewalls

Web applications and firewalls are two critical components of any organization’s cybersecurity measures. Web applications are the primary targets of cyberattacks because they are easily accessible from the internet and often contain sensitive data. Firewalls, on the other hand, are used to prevent unauthorized access to a network by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic. Penetration testing can be used to test the security of web applications and firewalls.

Testing Web Applications: Web application testing involves identifying vulnerabilities in web-based software systems and the underlying technologies used to build them. Some of the common vulnerabilities found in web applications include SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and file inclusion vulnerabilities. Penetration testers can use various techniques to identify these vulnerabilities, including automated scanning tools and manual testing methods.

Automated scanning tools can be used to identify common vulnerabilities in web applications, such as SQL injection and XSS. These tools scan the web application for vulnerabilities and provide a report of the vulnerabilities found. Manual testing methods, on the other hand, involve testing the web application by hand to identify vulnerabilities that automated tools may miss. These methods include testing user input fields, testing for file inclusion vulnerabilities, and testing for privilege escalation vulnerabilities.

Testing Firewalls: Firewalls are an essential component of any organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. They are designed to prevent unauthorized access to a network by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic. Penetration testers can use various methods to test the security of firewalls, including port scanning, vulnerability scanning, and firewall rule testing.

Port scanning involves scanning the network to identify open ports that can be used to gain unauthorized access to the network. Vulnerability scanning involves using automated tools to identify vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure. Firewall rule testing involves testing the rules configured in the firewall to identify any misconfigurations or vulnerabilities.

Conclusion

Penetration testing is a critical component of any organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. It is a simulated cyber attack designed to identify vulnerabilities in a computer or network system. Penetration testing involves various stages, including planning and preparation, reconnaissance, scanning and enumeration, exploitation, and reporting. Penetration testing can be performed using different methods, including black box testing, white box testing, and gray box testing. Penetration testing can also be used to test the security of web applications and firewalls, which are critical components of any organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. By identifying vulnerabilities in these systems, organizations can take steps to strengthen their security measures and prevent cyber attacks.

References
Kim, T., & Kim, J. (2020). A Comparative Study on Penetration Testing Tools for Web Application Security. International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology, 29(5), 2465-2472.

McGraw, G. (2019). Software Security: Building Security In (2nd ed.). Addison-Wesley Professional.

Mell, P., & Scarfone, K. (2010). The NIST Handbook: An Introduction to Computer Security. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Hariri, R. (2018). Network Security, Firewalls, and VPNs (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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