Do You Make These Simple Mistakes in Pen Testing?

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon April 1, 2022

In Brief:

What are Penetration Testing Mistakes?

Penetration testing mistakes are the major as well as a few minor lapses during the VAPT process. These mistakes might sabotage your attempt to figure out and fix the vulnerabilities present in your network infrastructure.

39%

of cybersecurity professionals run penetration tests once or twice a year.

29%

of targets have at least one critical vulnerability.

32%

is the maximum share of total pen tests ordered by the financial sector.

71%

of companies have such feeble security that is penetrated even by unskilled hackers.

Common Mistakes Committed While Pen Testing

The simple pen-testing mistakes may leave gaps in your network security that hackers and data breachers can easily exploit. These common mistakes can put all the efforts of the pen testing process in vain.

1. Forgetting to Prioritize Risks
Before you start the penetration test, it is necessary to create a baseline. Setting goals prior to the tests will improve the results. When you fail to prioritize the risk factors, you choose the wrong tools.

2. Choosing the Wrong Tools
This one initiates from the first mistake. A tool for checking firewall strength would not measure the risks of the customer data. Hence, it is important to build your tools according to the test requirements.

3. Poor Reports
The reports after pen-testing must clearly state the vulnerabilities. It is necessary to plan and execute the remediation steps.

4. Not Accepting the Security of the Network
Sometimes, the penetration testers fail to intrude into the system. But they try repeatedly spending their time and resources. The purpose of pen testing is to check the security of the system. As a responsible pen tester, you should know that breaking through it every time is not necessary.

The pen testing mistakes might differ on distinct platforms. Let us have a close look at the cloud-based platforms:

AWS Pen Testing Mistakes

It is one of the most trusted and widely used cloud service providers. The same is the reason it is prone to the highest number of attacks. Making pen-testing mistakes on AWS might cost you your data and critical information.

Common mistakes that testers make while AWS pen testing:

1. Excessive Permissions

  • While testing, most organizations ignore the principle of least privilege. They grant user entities more permissions than required.
  • Not defining the user groups in terms of the degree of access is also common. These lapses can initiate data breaches and resource exploitation.

Solution: Arrange the users in distinct groups with defined access. This will make permission management easy. Also, avoid using inline policies. Try using customer-managed policies instead.

2. Storing Unencrypted Data in S3 and EBS Volumes

  • These storage volumes provide options for data encryption both at rest and in transit.
  • However, users sometimes choose to keep the unencrypted information in these volumes. This leads to the risk of misconfiguration and exposes sensitive data.

Solution: Always use the server-side encryption available at the storage volumes on AWS platforms.

3. Making Your S3 Bucket Public

  • AWS allows you to keep your S3 bucket public. Here you can grant any degree of access to the external users.
  • This is a feature that makes your information accessible and writable as well. Even though it serves as a utility. Contrastingly, this invites the huge risk of data breaches.

Solution: Try to restrict the unintended public access as much as possible. Instead, use the ‘block public access feature’ of Amazon S3.

Azure Penetration Testing Mistakes

Mistakes are also seen during the testing of Azure Clouds. Testing Tools which are mere several lines of code, leave a huge scope of errors in execution. Expert guidance along with automated tools will do a lot better in eliminating mistakes during pen-testing.

Following are some common mistakes committed during Azure Penetration Testing:
1. Unaware of the Azure Policies

  • We often see failures of Azure infrastructure within organizations. Being unaware of certain specific policies is the reason.
  • The recent handshake between Microsoft and some open-source technologies caused some fundamental changes.

Solution: Make yourself aware of all the up-to-date policies of the platform. Only then carry on with the Azure penetration testing. In fact, you need to educate yourself on the policies even before migrating.

2. Giving Everyone the Administrator Access

  • Making everyone an Administrator in the Azure Subscription is not a wise move. Especially, if you have a large organization.
  • Users not having adequate knowledge might accidentally hamper the resources. This creates the risk of misconfigurations in the cloud.

Solution: It is better to limit the access of users to the resources only they need. You can define roles and control the access management accordingly.

3. Choosing Incorrect Database

  • Data is the real protagonist in the story of every application. That’s the thing we are trying to protect through various security measures.
  • Often, people tend to choose the inappropriate database. Also, they create SQL servers unnecessarily.

Solution: You can use the supported data stores like NoSQL and DocumentDB. Also, they allow you to perform basic and standard data operations.

API Penetration Testing Mistakes

Minor errors and mistakes are common in the process of API penetration testing. Although you need to rectify them to get the desired results.

Mistakes we see commonly in API testing:

1. Using Non-Standardized Practices

  • Most developers today write codes in a non-standardized way. Also, they don’t even produce proper documentation for them.
  • Although this does not pose any harm to the internal scale API. But for public API platforms, this is equivalent to a bug.

Solution: If adhering to standard practices is an issue, that’s acceptable. But you must produce proper documentation for all the derivations.

2. Errant Entries

  • Minor errors in the call functionalities create huge impacts on overall function.
  • These entries usually give outputs on their own. But for the whole function, they result in failure.

Solution: Only cure for this problem is to keep testing codes frequently. You need to check all the endpoints with the utmost attention.

3. Lack of Effective Communication

  • The API development cycle involves a lot of departments. These include coding, UI/UX design, and support lines.
  • This increases the chances of miscommunication. Eventually, an internal miscommunication will result in a bad user experience.

Solution: Making a command line in the cycle will improve communication. Also, try blueprinting the whole development cycle before the process.

Before You Go!

  • A thorough study of your network a solid preparation is necessary to begin the penetration test.
  • Most of the time internal staff is not able to diagnose a few hidden vulnerabilities.
  • For best results, you need to have the consultation from an outsider expert’s vantage point. This will help you eliminate some common mistakes in pen-testing.

Tags

  • api penetration testing
  • aws pen testing
  • azure penetration testing

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