Once your company has decided to go ahead with penetration testing, the next step is to define the penetration testing methodology and required compliance with industry standards. One of the most important reasons for companies to pentest is to regularly adhere to security compliance standards within the operating industry, as well as to maintain the trust of new and old customers.
Different penetration testing methodologies and standards can influence the testing process to obtain different results and security recommendations, so it is important to make this decision early in the procedure. After designing the test parameters, the company can move forward with the necessary steps to strengthen its security posture.
For the purposes mentioned above, it is important to be aware of the various security standards and the pentesting requirements associated with each of them.
The Open Web Applications Application Security Project (OWASP) is the name that defines security standards in application security. OWASP Pentesting sets the important parameters for the pentesting methodology with the help of a community of experts who stay abreast of the latest threats and security technologies, helping multiple organizations resolve hidden application vulnerabilities.
This framework ensures that the application pentesting methodology used detects common vulnerabilities within mobile and web applications and specific vulnerabilities, such as flaws in the logic used due to unverified development practices. Each pentesting method receives a list of test guidelines and up to 66 parameters to test under the OWASP framework. Such a broad testing scope will ensure that test teams can identify all kinds of vulnerabilities in a variety of functionality in applications.
If you’re looking to revamp your entire organization’s security posture through a penetration testing methodology with specific steps to do the same, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework will help. Most organizations are unaware of the criticality of a proper security infrastructure for the systems and networks being tested, making the NIST framework legally mandated by many companies and countries.
Companies use the NIST security standard to ensure the security of information, regardless of the industry and the size of the company. They perform mandatory pentesting procedures on applications and networks using the given guidelines and to meet regulatory requirements. The NIST pentesting framework is a popular technology security standard in the US and assesses companies’ dedication to cybersecurity goals and regularly assesses, testing security risks at every step.
With a scientific methodology for conducting vulnerability assessments and network penetration tests, test teams can expect a detailed framework for all of this in the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM). The framework targets each network and its components specifically to identify the potential for each attack vector. Assessors are required to have in-depth knowledge, experience, and background information on the security requirements for the business in its industry and in accordance with its business operations and assets.
OSSTMM supports network development teams in building firewalls and networks in accordance with the aforementioned guidelines. The framework calls attention to security best practices to ensure optimal security without advocating for any particular network protocol or software. Evaluators can even use the framework’s methodology to formulate their evaluation criteria according to the security requirements or technological point of view of the company.
One of the most popular penetration testing methodologies for pentesting processes, the Penetration Testing Methodologies and Standards (PTES) framework sets out the guidelines for carrying out the procedure, including reconnaissance and modeling of simulated attacks. This framework requires testers to be very aware of the context in which the company being tested operates, as this will help highlight potentially vulnerable areas that need to be further exploited.
This information is used to frame potential attack vectors that could have the greatest impact on the system along with steps to take after the first stage of exploitation. The last step will help all stakeholders to verify that the vulnerabilities discovered in the testing phase have been detected and resolved. There are seven phases mentioned in this framework that will allow the team to create an efficient pentesting procedure along with the necessary security recommendations to renew the overall security.
The Information Systems Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF) outlines a suitably detailed procedure for assessing organizations with unique security requirements with contextualized and advanced methodologies. Testers use this framework to inform their pentesting process from planning to execution with the help of different tools for each scenario.
Under the assessment procedure, ISSAF addresses each vulnerability area with the help of contextual information, different attack vectors, and other vulnerabilities that could cumulative impact. The framework also provides insight into the tools that hackers have used in real attack scenarios, allowing companies to simulate advanced attack scenarios.
These are some of the most common penetration testing methodology standards used by companies for cybersecurity purposes. The next important step is to ensure that qualified external testers who are familiar with these test methodologies and procedures are employed to improve the overall security posture of the company.
Also Read: Apps for Secure and Private Messaging