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How to Become a Penetration Tester?

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Cybersecurity is emerging as one of the most important professional fields and as per the expectations, the graph of cyber security professionals is going to increase on a large scale in 2021 and other upcoming years. There are different roles in the field of cyber security including cybersecurity analysts, security administrator, security consultant, penetration tester and a few more.

Out of the above mentioned cybersecurity roles, penetration testers play an important role when it comes to preparing the system and security structure for any sort of new attacks and finding the loopholes in the system. Here we are going to discuss about the basics of penetration testing, its exact definition, usage, and how you can become a penetration tester.

What is penetration testing?

Basically, penetration testing is a process in which cybersecurity professionals try to find ways to exploit the current security infrastructure of an organization so that they can know how safe or may be how vulnerable the data is. Penetration testing should be performed by individuals who have minimal or no knowledge about the organization’s security structure so that they can also discover a loophole left behind by the developers while creating the structure. The individuals who perform these attacks are known as ethical hackers or penetration testers.

How to become a penetration tester?

  • Becoming a pen tester is no rocket science as you just need to enroll yourself in the professional courses based purely on cybersecurity and that can help you kick start your pen testing journey. See the below mentioned steps to exactly know how to become a penetration tester.
  • Specialization in cybersecurity: One of the most important things to start your career as a penetration tester is to get a bachelor’s degree in IT, engineering, and cybersecurity or if you have completed the graduation then you can go for a PG diploma in cybersecurity. This will make you familiar with most of the concepts in cybersecurity and will give a boost to your pen testing career.
  • Build Experience: Once you start practicing as a pen tester, you can work on your skills by hunting and bagging entry level network management projects. Penetration testing on a basic level will polish your skills and make you ready for the bigger picture.
  • Professional certifications: In order to grow on a professional level, you can also go for various certifications related to security analysis, ethical hacking and pen testing and other fields that are related to cybersecurity.

Note: You can move forward after spending a lot of time in pen testing and gaining a lot of experience. The first step after pen testing is to become an IT security architect, for this role you need minimum 3 to 5 years of experience.

Types of penetration testing

Close-box pen test: In this type of penetration testing, the hackers only get the name of the target company and nothing else related to the background of the security structure. This one is also known as a single blind test.

Covert pen test: In a covert pen test, none of the developers in an organization know about the attacks that are going to happen on the security infrastructure. The IT security professionals in the organization have to instantly respond to the attacks without any prior preparation. This one is also known as double blind test as both the entities don’t know much about the attack.

Open-box pen test: In this type of pen testing, the organization provides a limited amount of information regarding the security infrastructure and the hacker has to find loopholes in it and exploit it.

Internal pen test: In this type of penetration testing, the ethical hacker is supposed to perform an attack via the internal network of the company. The internal pen tests allow you to get an idea of the amount of damage that can be caused if an employee induces any sort of attack on the organization and how one can tackle this type of situation.

External pen test: In this type of pen testing, the pen tester is restricted to enter the organization premises and is supposed to induce an attack from any nearby location or may be from a remote location too. These type of attacks are generally focused on finding loopholes in the external network servers of an organization.

How a penetration test is performed?

To know the basic mechanism of the pen tests, go through the below mentioned points:

Gathering information: This can be said to be the initial phase of any attack that is going to happen. In this phase, the pen testers invest time in gathering information about the security infrastructure of the company and create an outline of how the attack will be induced in the systems of the organization.

Right choice of tools: After creating the outlines, ethical hackers exactly know which tools they will need to execute the attack perfectly and gain access to the confidential information stored by an organization. Mostly, pen testers use SQL injection or brute-force attacks to penetrate through

 the security systems.

Apart from that, some of the hackers also rely on social engineering techniques to hack into the systems and in rare cases, you can also find ethical hackers portraying themselves as delivery agents to get into the main building of the organization.

Removing the traceable aspects: It can be said to be one of the most important aspects related to pen testing. In this step, hackers conclude their pen test by hiding or removing their ways to find the place where the attacks initiated. Pen testers try their best in covering up the process of hacking the target system as everything is arranged in the same way it was before the attack.

Conclusion

When the penetration test is performed successfully, these ethical hackers share all the vital information regarding the loopholes with the organization and the developers of the security infrastructure. The information shared by the penetration testers plays a major role in modifying the security systems based on the newly discovered loopholes.

Making a career in penetration testing is similar to making a career in any other professional field. You just need a vast amount of knowledge and a knack for studying cybersecurity. In addition to that, with the right amount of devotion and experience you can also get promoted to bigger roles like security architect, network engineer, and more.

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