Types of Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is one technique for identifying areas of a system that are vulnerable to intrusion and compromise of integrity and validity by unauthorized and malicious users or entities. The penetration testing process involves deliberate, authorized attacks on a system that can identify its weakest areas and gaps in protection against third-party intrusions, thereby improving security attributes.

This technique can also be used as an adjunct to other verification methods to evaluate the effectiveness of a system protection package against various types of unexpected malicious attacks.

Penetration Testing Methodologies and Standards

Pentesting offers recommendations for conducting a basic audit and several advanced testing options for organizations with increased requirements for information security. One of the advantages of penetration tests is that it gives a detailed description of the goals and expectations of a penetration test.

The main stages of pen tests:

The pen testing also guides how to perform re-testing or post-operational testing. This helps to determine how effectively the identified vulnerabilities were closed.

Test Plan

The methodology offers five main channels (directions) for operational security testing. The division into channels helps assess the organization’s security level comprehensively and facilitates the testing process.

  1. Human security. Security directly depends on the physical or psychological interaction of people.
  2. Physical penetration test. Any material (non-electronic) safety element whose operation involves physical or electromechanical action.
  3. Wireless networks connection. Security for all wireless communications, from Wi-Fi to infrared sensors.

Network Penetration Testing

The network service penetration testing identifies vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure. In addition, there is external and internal testing. External penetration testing is discovering vulnerabilities that can be exploited over the Internet without prior training. Internal testing would include a condition if the hacker managed to gain a foothold in the system to look for the possibility of data theft.

Penetration testing can also be classified based on the testing approaches used:

If you give the choice of internal vs external penetration testing, then, in the end, these two tests can overlap. Since having active and good internal protection, external protection can have dozens of errors and vulnerabilities for hackers. Therefore, it is always recommended to conduct a comprehensive audit to completely secure the data of your company, project, or platform.

Application Penetration Testing

The web application penetration testing reveals vulnerabilities in websites and apps/software. The process may reveal cross-site scripting (XSS), broken authentication, and other security issues.

To prevent data leaks, pentesters check two parameters:

  1. basic application logic
  2. customizable features.

Vulnerability Scanning

It is impossible to automate this process fully, but you do not need to check for all kinds of vulnerabilities manually. Vulnerability scanning tools allow you to:

Automatic security scanning tools offer speed and ease of use. An automated tester monitors business systems, but an annual network penetration test is still necessary for reliable cybersecurity.

Social Engineering Penetration Testing

Employees are one of the most important components of information security. Social engineering is a weapon used by attackers to trick them into gaining sensitive data and access. During social engineering tests, specialists conduct “reconnaissance” and check the company’s employees to provide valuable information.

Companies should conduct awareness training among employees. In addition, social engineering testing will help determine your employees’ level of knowledge in cybersecurity.


Armed with advanced technology and a wide range of resources and tools, hackers often break into a system or network with the intent to harm a company’s reputation and assets. Penetration testing, more than other types of testing, can be seen as a tool to identify various security gaps, helping to nullify potential threats to the system as a whole. Now wireless penetration testing is also popular, as it allows you to optimize and fix all vulnerabilities without direct presence, unlike physical penetration testing.

Experienced penetration tester strives to cover the full range of possible threats to the organization. At the same time, technical, organizational, and legal risks are taken into account: the tester excludes those actions that pose a potential threat to the company. Pentest differs from the actions of a hacker primarily in that the tester fully controls the level of impact on the client’s infrastructure.


What are the different types of penetration tests?

The main difference lies in the goals and objectives of the external and internal pentest. External is to collect information, search for system vulnerabilities and exploit them. The internal is pursued by slightly different goals, namely the search for available information, increasing access rights, and using the collected information to protect data.

What are the 5 stages of penetration testing?

The main five stages of pentest: Intelligence service, Scanning, Exploitation, Maintain access, Hiding traces.

What are the 3 types of penetration testing?

Specialists distinguish three types of penetration testing: penetration testing based on technical methods, penetration test based on social engineering methods, and sociotechnical test.