A security administrator is aware that a portion of the company’s Internet-facing network tends to be non-secure due to poorly configured and patched systems. The business owner has accepted the risk of those systems being compromised, but the administrator wants to determine the degree to which those systems can be used to gain access to the company intranet. Which of the following should the administrator perform?
A. Patch management assessment
B. Business impact assessment
C. Penetration test
D. Vulnerability assessment
Correct Answer: C
Section: Threats and Vulnerabilities
Penetration testing is the most intrusive type of testing because you are actively trying to circumvent the system’s security controls to gain access to the system. It is also used to
determine the degree to which the systems can be used to gain access to the company intranet (the degree of access to local network resources).
Penetration testing (also called pen testing) is the practice of testing a computer system, network or Web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.
Pen tests can be automated with software applications or they can be performed manually. Either way, the process includes gathering information about the target before the test
(reconnaissance), identifying possible entry points, attempting to break in (either virtually or for real) and reporting back the findings.
The main objective of penetration testing is to determine security weaknesses. A pen test can also be used to test an organization’s security policy compliance, its employees’ security
awareness and the organization’s ability to identify and respond to security incidents.
Penetration tests are sometimes called white hat attacks because in a pen test, the good guys are attempting to break in.
Pen test strategies include:
Targeted testing is performed by the organization’s IT team and the penetration testing team working together. It’s sometimes referred to as a “lights-turned-on” approach because
everyone can see the test being carried out.
This type of pen test targets a company’s externally visible servers or devices including domain name servers (DNS), e-mail servers, Web servers or firewalls. The objective is to find
out if an outside attacker can get in and how far they can get in once they’ve gained access.
This test mimics an inside attack behind the firewall by an authorized user with standard access privileges. This kind of test is useful for estimating how much damage a disgruntled
employee could cause.
A blind test strategy simulates the actions and procedures of a real attacker by severely limiting the information given to the person or team that’s performing the test beforehand.
Typically, they may only be given the name of the company. Because this type of test can require a considerable amount of time for reconnaissance, it can be expensive.
Double blind testing
Double blind testing takes the blind test and carries it a step further. In this type of pen test, only one or two people within the organization might be aware a test is being conducted.
Double-blind tests can be useful for testing an organization’s security monitoring and incident identification as well as its response procedures.
A: Patch management is the process of managing the installation of security patches and updates on computer systems. An assessment of the patch management process is not
performed to determine the degree to which computer systems can be used to gain access to the company intranet.
B: A Business impact assessment is the assessment an event will have on the business; for example, a server failure. You could even perform a business impact assessment to
assess the impact of a network intrusion. However, to test the possible extent of an intrusion, you need to perform a penetration test.
D: A vulnerability scan is the process of scanning the network and/or I.T. infrastructure for threats and vulnerabilities. The threats and vulnerabilities are then evaluated in a risk
assessment and the necessary actions taken to resolve and vulnerabilities. A vulnerability scan scans for known weaknesses such as missing patches or security updates. A
vulnerability scan is considered passive in that it doesn’t actually attempt to circumvent the security controls of a system to gain access (unlike a penetration test). It can therefore not
be used to determine the degree to which computer systems can be used to gain access to the company intranet.