External attack and penetration testing, also known as external security assessment, is a critical process conducted by organizations to evaluate and fortify the security of their external-facing networks, systems, and applications. Unlike internal testing that focuses on identifying insider threats, external attack and penetration testing simulates real-world attacks initiated by external threat actors to assess vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the organization's defenses. The primary objective of external attack and penetration testing is to identify and address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious hackers, cybercriminals, or other external entities. By assuming the role of an external attacker, security professionals attempt to breach the organization's network perimeter, gain unauthorized access, and exploit weaknesses in systems and applications.

During an external attack and penetration test, security experts employ a variety of techniques and tools to mimic the tactics and methodologies used by actual attackers. They may perform reconnaissance to gather information about the target organization's infrastructure, scan for open ports and services, conduct vulnerability assessments, attempt social engineering attacks, exploit discovered vulnerabilities, and attempt to escalate privileges to gain deeper access. The benefits of external attack and penetration testing are manifold. It allows organizations to proactively identify and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by real attackers, reducing the risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, and service disruptions. By conducting regular external testing, organizations can continuously evaluate the effectiveness of their security controls, detect new vulnerabilities that emerge over time, and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Furthermore, external attack and penetration testing provides valuable insights into the organization's incident response capabilities, allowing them to refine incident management procedures and enhance the overall security posture. It helps organizations stay one step ahead of cyber threats and strengthens their ability to protect their sensitive data, systems, and customer trust. In conclusion, external attack and penetration testing is a vital component of comprehensive cybersecurity strategies, enabling organizations to proactively identify and mitigate external threats and maintain a robust security posture in the face of evolving cyber risks.

External Penetration Test follows the penetration testing execution standard (PTES) which includes:

  • Pre-engagement Interactions
  • Intelligence Gathering using Open-source intelligence (OSINT)
  • Threat Modeling
  • Vulnerability Analysis
  • Exploitation
  • Post Exploitation
  • Reporting