Penetration testing in simple words can be defined as the test on the live networks or servers directly by attacking by the trained ethical hacking professional person or network security administrator.
If you still cant get, let me make it simpler for you. Consider an organization having its employee working on certain software. It stores all database into some kind of “database server”. What will we do is just hire some ethical hacking trained person & he will directly conduct the test on the possible vulnerable areas of the system or network or the software.
Why Penetration Testing if we can do Vulnerability Assessments?
Well in vulnerability assessment we basically use the automated software which can be handled by unskilled employee. It scans for general vulnerabilities which are well known. But you have to consider those criminal hackers which are always looking for the newest security breaches or flaws on subjected systems. They always wish to do things in smarter way. And to detect such unique security holes we can better perform a penetration testing on network. Its worth, trust me.
Every ethical hacking student has to learn penetration testing as it is the most exciting & hardest thing to do in ethical hacking. If you want to learn hacking then you cant miss this part as it is one of the core exercises that ethical hacking professional have to perform.
We can simply find something which is known to all in vulnerability assessment, but something where you have to test your patience & knowledge is termed as penetration testing in your ethical hacking syllabus.
Classification of Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is basically classified according to the things that are known to ethical hackers. It is classified as follows
In white box tests the ethical hacker physically sees all network & its previous data & updates. Means he knows everything then he performs testing.
In black box testing ethical hackers do complete attack without knowing even the operating stem on the networks. So black box test is real hard thing to do in ethical hacking.
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Please don’t hesitate to ask any question here in comments; even you think it will be stupid to ask & even if you are a beginner & don’t know anything about this. I will answer all your doubts regarding it.