Penetration testing reports are used to help businesses find out how vulnerable they are to hackers. A penetration test, also known as a pen test, is an inspection of the applications, IT infrastructure and networks for vulnerabilities.
A penetration testing report can be a critical part of an IT security audit that can help companies achieve both security and compliance for their business applications. This blog post talks about what’s included in penetration testing reports, as well as some information on penetration tests themselves.
Why Should I Get a Penetration Testing Report?
Penetration testing reports can help you find out how vulnerable your network is to hackers. Penetration testing report is a collection of output information gathered from a conducted penetration testing on an application or network. Penetration testing reports can help you identify and fix potential vulnerabilities and security loopholes that can lead to a data breach. Getting a penetration testing report can also help you achieve certain local and global compliance such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and many more.
A detailed penetration testing report provides comprehensive information about all the possible areas where attackers could get through without getting noticed by administrators who monitor security logs on their servers. This makes them very useful when trying to make sure there aren’t any access points left open which might allow future attacks from outside sources.
What is Included In a Report?
The results of penetration tests vary based on what they’re looking for but typically penetration testing reports contain the following:
- The penetration tester’s findings and recommendations on how to fix any vulnerabilities found.
- Detailed explanations of what steps were taken during the penetration test, including the software used (for example if it was an automated tool or manual tests).
- Details about penetration testers themselves; their qualifications, backgrounds, etc. This is important because they are essentially “hired hackers” who use methods that could potentially damage your system so you’ll want to make sure they’re highly qualified before letting them loose on your network! (This should be included in a penetration testing report as well.)
How to Prepare for the Pentest?
In order to make penetration testing as accurate as possible, you’ll want to make sure your network is set up in a way that will allow the penetration tester full access. In other words, don’t close any doors behind you!
Make sure there’s no security software running which could prevent penetration testers from doing their job and keep an eye on them while they’re working so that if anything does go wrong it can be dealt with quickly before too much damage occurs.
The Process of Penetration Testing:
The penetration testing process is a detailed one, and it starts with the penetration testers themselves. They typically work in teams of two or three people; this allows them to double-check their results against each other so that they can be as accurate as possible.
Many penetration tests require specialized software which may not exist for your specific network’s security system but there are also many manual techniques available. These include:
- Scanning networks manually by searching for open ports on all servers/computers via SSH (Secure Shell) connections, command-line tools like Telnet, protocols such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol), etc.;
- Attempting brute force password attacks on login screens where applicable;
- Checking whether backup processes are working correctly since these are often overlooked or incorrectly configured;
- Checking other aspects of security not related to penetration tests themselves but which could be affected by penetration testers if they’re left open (for example, software bugs).
Each step taken during a penetration test is carefully documented by the tester who then writes up their findings in an organized report that goes into detail about each vulnerability discovered. It will also include potential solutions for closing these vulnerabilities and making your network more secure as well as recommendations on how to best deal with any problems found. This can sometimes require contacting third parties or IT professionals who specialize in certain types of attacks if you want help fixing them quickly and efficiently.
The entire process takes anywhere from one week to several months depending on what’s being tested and how deep penetration testers need to go in order to find vulnerabilities.
Common Mistakes in Pentesting Reports and How to Avoid Them:
- Being too technical; penetration testers can be very technical and it’s easy to get lost in jargon and acronyms that the average person wouldn’t understand. You want your report to be readable by anyone who might need to refer back to it so make sure you use language which is as simple as possible!
- Not providing enough information about penetration testers themselves; this isn’t something most people think of but if someone has hacked into your business they’ll likely look for traces of who did it (the same way police do with criminals). That means penetration testing reports should document penetration tester qualifications, experience, etc. since potential attackers could try doing these things themselves when trying to hack into a system. This will help prevent future attacks.
- Using jargon/technical language; penetration testers should always provide an executive summary at the beginning of their reports which is written in easily readable English. It’s also a good idea to include clear explanations about common terms used throughout penetration testing reports (for example, what does “shell access” mean?).
- Not including screenshots or diagrams; having visual aids like these can make penetration testing reports easier to understand and they’re very helpful for security staff who may need to deal with certain problems quickly.
It is important to remember that a penetration testing report can be a very detailed document with many sections. The pentest consists of several steps which include reconnaissance, scanning, enumeration, and exploitation. In order for an organization to have successful penetration testing, they need the right resources in place such as qualified personnel who are skilled in this area, access to trusted vendors and partners, time allotted for planning and executing tests properly.
Organizations should also provide their staff with training on how to respond appropriately when detected by a hacker or phishing attack.