Strength and Weaknesses of Penetration Testing

Before we talk about the limitations and weaknesses of penetration testing, it is important to first understand what the concept behind penetration testing really is, and how it is useful to companies.

In the world of today, where most of the information is stored over the internet, protection is vitally important.

Learning how to protect your network new threats or existing ones is vitally important, and helps a company in developing a plan of action that might help it making its defenses more sound and secure.

One of the best ways, as they say, to learn something is by trial and error.

And that's what penetration testing is all about.

There are two types of penetration testing targets: a white box and a black box.

A white box is one where all background information as well as system information is available, while a black box is one where only the company name is known, and a penetration is devised by the company itself.

Penetration testing allows a company to figure out its weaknesses, as well as which of the defenses need to be reinforced and which of the defenses are sound.

However, there are a number of different weaknesses associated with penetration testing:

Limited Resources 

The most important thing to know about penetration testing is that itself is limited in scope.

Most of the companies do not and cannot test all of their systems mainly because of resource constraints.

Penetration tests are only conducted on the infrastructure that a client deems to be the most integral for their business.

As a result, only specific elements are tested.


Week a Month 

Another major limitation that companies face is that of time.

Most of the penetration testers that are hired are given a certain amount of time to carry out their penetration tests, and as a result, they are only able to carry out a certain set of tests.

On the other hand, hackers who attack networks usually plan out their attacks carefully.

A single attack is usually planned for months and years.

On the other hand, most of the penetration tests are usually carried out for a span of a week, a month or at most, a few months.


Position of Attacks 

One major limitation that penetration testers face is that their access is restricted to the environment which is able to create only a limited model of where the hackers might operate from.

As a result, the penetration tests that they carry out are only limited to the models that are created.

As a result, these tests are quite fallible.

In reality however, the situation is different. Hackers are able to diversify their position and vary their attacks significantly.


Creating a skilled team

These are some of the most common limitations that are faced by penetration testers.

Because of the limited set of information as well as the different natures of clients that hire penetration testers, only a limited set of tests that are carried out by penetration testers.

These weaknesses can be overcome by creating a more skilled team.