Penetration Testing is constantly evolving. More complex cyberattacks require more sophisticated penetration testers. The ten tips discussed in this article will help you improve your skills and become a better Penetration Tester.
1) Invest time in learning and performing penetration tests.
You need to be aware of several important concepts to avoid causing harm to a system and exposing yourself to legal consequences. Be curious but patient. Impulsiveness can lead to the execution of the wrong command or scanning the wrong IP address. Take your time and make sure you do it correctly.
2) Never stop learning.
Continue to learn. Keep learning and studying often. Your goal should be to master the concepts, gain intimate knowledge of tools, and operate them depending on each situation. You will need to understand the intricacies of information technology networks and services and how they can be secured or threatened.
There are many ways to continue your education. Here are some ways to help yourself if you have the resources or a budget.
- Access your library. You can access the internet, books, and magazines through your public library system. Some libraries offer IT classes and, in some instances, security classes.
- The internet is your friend. Numerous websites can help you with pen testing, security, and other topics. Access to sites and tools that enable you to conduct penetration tests, learn operating systems, and other useful programs can be obtained.
- Make a test computer. Get a laptop or a PC that you can use as a test machine. Many companies have an older system that they don’t use, which you can convert into a pen tester toolkit.
- Take advantage of Virtualization. Like the extra computer or laptop, virtualization software allows you to access even more systems. This means you can create a small virtual network inside a computer and perform pen-testing on multiple systems using one system.
- Download freeware. You can learn from demo tools that give you access to the full functionality for a limited time.
3) Never touch a system you do not own to test your skills.
If you do not have a legal agreement, you should never touch networks or systems you do not own. You must only act within the terms and conditions of any legal agreement. You can practice pen testing techniques and tools in your own environment, or you can use an environment that is open to everyone. You can practice pen testing skills in a controlled environment using online resources like Hack the Box or VulnHub.
4) Build a balanced Penetration Test toolkit.
Your tools are the most essential thing that you can keep, no matter what. When building your toolkit, keep these things in mind:
- As a pentester, it is challenging to keep your toolkit up-to-date. Some tools, sometimes older ones, are better for getting the results you want. Some tools are scripts, which are maintained and created by pen testers.
- You will need to license some tools because they can be very expensive. They must also be kept current. You must ensure that all software, tools, programs, apps, and systems you use are patched, virus-scanned, up-to-date, and updated.
- Software must be kept up to date. Software that uses signature files, digital certificates, or block ciphers must be updated.
- Technology evolves over time. You need to update your toolkit with new features as you require them.
- Keep your computer safe and up-to-date. You should also ensure that the system you use for all of this is up-to-date. There is nothing worse than having your system compromised by a pen tester. Make sure your stuff is safe, secure, and properly tested.
5) Always use tools and exploits from trusted sources.
False advertising can be used to lure people into downloading malicious tools and exploits that compromise systems or humiliate users. Trusted exploit databases such as Exec DB and tools like those in Kali Linux are recommended. An exploit or malicious tool can cause data loss, theft and open the door for attackers to access the system or network. They also could impact the performance or cause other damage. It is important to thoroughly vet any tool from an unknown source. To confirm the legitimacy of any untrusted exploits, you should dissect them. Find an alternative approach if you cannot verify a tool or exploit.
6) Get more involved in the cybersecurity community.
Spend some time networking, whether it’s through conferences, online communities or social media outlets in person or online. Defcon and Blackhat are two conferences that offer opportunities to further your education, get pen testing tips from professionals, meet authors and gain access to classes and current trends. Both conferences are normally held in the United States. However, over time, they have expanded to other countries.
These conference websites offer the ability to register for a conference and also allow you to access older media, papers, research, and other materials. This is a great way for you to network with experts in your field and to learn from them.
There are many professional organizations that support pen testers. Schools that create groups of like-minded people, governance committees and other groups that allow those involved in ethical hacking to collaborate and share ideas. You can also join government agencies to exchange ideas and information.
7) Segment and Segregate Properly.
Important data and systems should be kept separate from the test environment or target environment. Human error can lead to unexpected and sometimes unwelcome outcomes even in well-executed campaigns. Network segregation, network segmentation, and other security tools and practices are important to limit the damage. This is especially important when dealing with malware which can spread to infect other systems.
8) Stay ahead of new and emerging technologies.
Technology is constantly changing. Do you remember when virtualization was important? Cloud? Wireless? Mobile? Wireless was first introduced in the 1980s. At the time, drive-by scanners were installed on cars. This allowed hackers to gain access to company systems from the car park. It is important to know new technologies and learn about their potential uses.
There are many resources to help you learn about new technology. If you know that your primary targets will be Cisco, Citrix, and Microsoft, VMWare, Linux, etc., you might want to sign up for their websites and mailing list to keep abreast of any updates, patches, and other information.
You can contact the vendors to be added to their mailing list so that you can find out more about them. If you are a large Cisco networking customer, you may have access to RSS feeds and field notifications, security advisories, bug reports, software updates, as well as other information.
9) Test your skills, exploits, and tools in a safe and controlled environment.
Make sure your tools and exploits work as intended. To better understand the exploits and tools, you can use a test environment. Consider how different anti-virus software, operating system, internet access, and firewalls can affect tool and exploit behavior. If possible, test the impact of these factors. You should look for any logs or other byproducts generated or affected by the tools and exploits.
10) Never use your skills with malicious intent.
However tempting it may be, don’t use your skills maliciously. You could end up spending a lot of money or even time in prison. You shouldn’t be unsure if you are allowed to do something. Talk to someone with relevant legal experience. Keep in mind that each country and every state has its own laws. Whether you are already pen testing or just beginning to learn, you must do so for the right reasons. It is not uncommon for people to do it for the wrong reasons.
Pen testing can be daunting and challenging due to the speed of cybersecurity and the potential for unintended damage. It requires patience, perseverance, and a good understanding of safe practices and resources. No matter your level of expertise, there are always new techniques and tools to learn. There will also be new ethics and laws that you need to know and follow.
Hope you liked this article on 10 Pro Tips To Become a Better Penetration Tester in 2022.
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