Using a combination of automated and manual testing, our penetration testers will inspect your Internet-exposed services to assess if vulnerabilities are present that could allow them to be exploited by a malicious user.
Our external penetration testing service comprises the following four stages, which are representative of a real-life attack:
- Open Source Intelligence Gathering
- Passive Reconnaissance
- Network Enumeration
- Active Testing
Open Source Intelligence Gathering
The open source intelligence gathering stage is performed as a precursor to the actual penetration test and is used to provide the testing team with as much background information prior to the test starting as possible. During the OSINT phase, our team are looking for articles such as:
- Accidental leaks of sensitive information, like through social media
- Open ports or unsecured internet-connected devices
- Unpatched software, such as websites running old versions of common CMS products
- Leaked or exposed assets, such as proprietary code on pastebins
During the initial stages of a real-life attack, malicious users will spend time performing reconnaissance, so that a profile or ‘footprint’ of the target organisation can be obtained. Information such as the IP addresses in use, hostnames and employee information can greatly assist an attacker in choosing an effective attack method and may help identify areas of the target organisation’s infrastructure that would render the highest impact if compromised.
Public databases and information services can contain a wealth of information that may prove useful to an attacker. Most these information sources can be freely and passively accessed and with these information sources residing in the public domain, there is no chance that the searches performed by an attacker will trigger alerts that may notify the target organisation that an attack is being planned.
During this phase of the testing, the following public information sources will be accessed to obtain further information about the target organisation:
- RIPE Database
- WHOIS Database
- Domain Name Servers
Once an attacker has built a profile of the organisation through passive information gathering, they will attempt to identify ‘live’ hosts and services within the IP address range. Once an understanding of the exposed ports and services is obtained, this will give the attacker more information on potential vulnerabilities that may allow them to gain a foothold on the network and further their attack.
During this phase of the test, a full TCP and UDP port scan of all 65,535 ports will be conducted over the in-scope IP range. An ICMP scan will also be conducted, to identify which hosts would disclose their presence to an attacker who performs a simple ‘ping’ scan.
Based on the results of the Network Enumeration phase, a vulnerability assessment and targeted penetration test will be conducted on all Internet-exposed services. All results of the vulnerability assessment will be manually verified to ensure that no ‘false positive’ results are present.
All exposed services will be manually inspected by connecting to them and attempting to gain access through known exploits.