Penetration testing is the activity of conducting security testing with the aim of identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities to identify strengths and weaknesses. I include strengths because I believe it’s important for security testing to promote both positive and negative findings. I also think that there is a huge mis conception with what penetration is, what it helps with and how to best get value from a penetration test.
My definition isn’t too far from the NCSC one: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/check-penetration-testing
A penetration test is a security assurance activity, but it’s one of many activities that I recommend people conduct. This is however largely only adopted by the few, for many a penetration test is a compliance tick box, either from a regulatory or contractual requirement.
When looking at a system a penetration test is not usually the most efficient starting point, especially if it’s from a black box perspective. Read more “Penetration Testing”