A simulated hacker attack is called Penetration Testing, VAPT, or Ethical Hacking. It mimics the actions of an actual attacker exploiting the security weaknesses of an application or network without the usual dangers of a cyber attack. VAPT testing examines applications or IT infrastructure for security vulnerabilities that could be used to disrupt their confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Pen Testing can be done for Networks, Public IPs, Web Applications, Websites, Mobile Applications, or Cloud Infrastructure. VAPT testing is done as part of risk assessment for information security compliances like ISO 27001, PCI DSS, HIPAA, ADSIC, NESA, ADHICS, KHDA, DIFC, Central Bank compliance, etc.
The purpose of the Penetration Test is to identify exploitable vulnerabilities and insufficiently configured security controls to determine the likelihood that users with considerable, little, or no prior knowledge of the target assets could exploit weaknesses in the assets as those cataloged in the OWASP Top 10, OWASP ASVS, SANS, NIST, OWASP testing guide and Penetration Testing Execution Standard.
Web Application / Website Penetration Testing
Web Application Penetration Testing is done to test the vulnerabilities of web applications and it tests specifically for application-related vulnerabilities. Our web app penetration testers will use a combination of automated and manual techniques to identify security vulnerabilities in the application that could allow the disclosure of sensitive information or the disruption of services by outside attackers. The tester will use a comprehensive web app penetration testing methodology that will identify security vulnerabilities from the OWASP Top 10, OSSTMM, and PTES as well as security vulnerabilities that are specific to the application itself. Web app testing can be done with credentials or without using the same.
Website Penetration Testing helps you to identify and fix security flaws in your website. Website Pen Test also evaluates misconfigured integrations implemented within a website.
Desktop Application Penetration Testing helps you to identify security issues within the desktop application. Tests include injections, authentication bypass, session management, file uploads, & review of data communications.
Web Services / API VAPT: An API pen test imitates an attacker specifically targeting a custom set of API endpoints and attempting to undermine the security. Our team will follow an assessment according to our API penetration testing methodology. Our pentester will use a comprehensive testing methodology which will identify security vulnerabilities from the OWASP Top 10 as well as security vulnerabilities that are specific to the API itself.
Metaverse Penetration Testing involves assessing the security of virtual environments and interconnected digital spaces. We explore user interactions, communication channels, and data exchanges to identify vulnerabilities such as injection attacks, authentication bypasses, and privilege escalation. Evaluate the security measures in place for users’ virtual identities, data privacy, and authentication mechanisms.
We check for the following among others during the Web Application VA/PT exercise:
> Injections – SQL Injection, LDAP Injection, Xpath Injection, OS Commands, program arguments.
> Session Management – Session timeouts, predictable session generation, authentication strength, session stealing session ID, password hashing, improper session transmission, session fixation, and session prediction.
> Cross-Site Scripting – Stored, reflected, DOM Based XSS.
> Direct Object References
> Security Misconfiguration – Unnecessary ports, services pages, and accounts, default account passwords, administrative pages, patching levels for operating systems, web servers, supporting databases, modules, and applications.
> Sensitive Data Exposure – Hashed passwords, encrypted ciphers, cryptographic keys management.
> Function Level Access Control
> Cross-Site Request Forgery – Examining the construct and format of URLs, examining how a session state is maintained.
> Components with Known Vulnerabilities
> Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards – Remote and local file inclusion, directory traversal, the insecure configuration of backend databases, Inappropriate information in source code
> Service Discovery – Management protocols such as SSH or Telnet, email services, domain services, file management protocols such as FTP or Samba, other services present on the system.
> Server Vulnerability Assessment
> Common Misconfigurations
> Backdoors and Rogue Services
Mobile Application Penetration Testing
Mobile Applications VAPT can be done for Android or iOS applications. Our approach to VA PT will make use of dynamic and static analysis to test all accessible features within the mobile application. Our testing approach will use a virtual machine (Android) and physical phones that are jailbroken or rooted (iOS and Android). This helps us cover all features using automated analysis as well as manual testing within the scope. The testing will be based on the OWASP – Mobile Security Testing Guide (MSTG). The vulnerability report will be based on the OWASP Mobile Top 10.
• Testing coverage for data security at rest – Investigate using a malicious application, if the data can be accessed or recovered across applications and the cross-application boundary is secure, and identify if the application exposes any Personally Identifiable Information (PII), API keys, passwords, or any other application contextual sensitive data, verify that any sensitive content stored locally is encrypted, Applications are resilient to reverse engineering and tampering attacks.
• Testing coverage for data security in transit – Test that multi-factor authentication cannot be bypassed, or brute-forced, usage of strong encryption, inter-application redirects are secure and cannot be tampered with, session hijacking, client-side security, hidden URL schemes exposing access to development environments, application hooking and run time manipulation, bypass any application restrictions, such as features that are shipped but disabled, review code for hardcoded secrets.
• Client-Side – Static and Dynamic Analysis – Tests include reverse engineering the application code, hard-coded credentials on source code, insecure version of Android OS installation, cryptographic-based storage strength, poor key management process, use of custom encryption protocols, unrestricted backup file, unencrypted database files, insecure shared storage, insecure application data storage, information disclosure through Logcat/Apple System Log (ASL), URL Caching on cache.db, keyboard press caching, copy/paste buffer caching, remember credentials functionality, client-side based authentication flaws, client-side authorization breaches, insufficient WebView hardening (XSS), content providers: SQL Injection and local file inclusion, injection, local file inclusion through NSFileManager or Webviews, abusing android components through IPC intents, abusing URL schemes, unauthorized code modification, debug the application behavior through runtime analysis.
• Server-Side – Web Services/API Calls – Bypass SSL pining, Excessive port opened at the firewall, default credentials on the application server, service catalog, exposure of web services through WSDL document, security misconfiguration on Webserver, input validation on API, information exposure through API response message, bypassing business logic flaws, session invalidation on the backend, session timeout protection, cookie rotation, token creation.
During Network Penetration Testing, we simulate an attack on the client’s system or network. Using popular pen testing tools, proprietary scripts, and manual testing, we do our best to penetrate the network without harming it during the pentest exercise. After the pen-testing exercise, our pen testers point out the flaws in the client’s network along with mitigation advice to fix the same. This helps the client improve infrastructure, configuration, and processes to strengthen security. Network Penetration Testing can be done as an onsite or offsite assignment.
The penetration test begins by first identifying the scope of the engagement, including the IP addresses or hostnames of any servers and hosts that are in scope for the assessment – the client will provide this information prior to the commencement of testing. The client will also provide the tester with an external IP address to the DMZ network.
Vulnerabilities will then be identified in the external and internal environment of the client. These vulnerabilities may be exploited to validate the vulnerabilities and expand access over the affected system. Finally, the information gained from the access will be fed back into the previous phases to determine if any additional vulnerabilities can be identified. In the simulation of a real-life attack, access gained by compromising any affected systems may be used to pivot to other systems in the internal network.
The following components are analyzed during a VAPT testing exercise :
> Network structure (wired, wireless, VPN, MPLS)
> Network Access Control
> Man-in-the-middle attacks
> Password Strength
> Default or weak passwords
> Brute-force attacks
> Configuration errors
> Vulnerability analysis of Operating Systems, Servers and Applications
> Analysis of virtual structures, access and authorization system for virtual environments
> Wardialing & Wardriving
> Verification of the Gateway components (firewall, packet filtering, IPS, etc)
> Penetration tests on the identified weaknesses
Request a Quote for VAPT Services (Pentest cost)
Penetration Testing Scope
A penetration test is a method of evaluating the security of a computer system or network by simulating an attack from the internet. The process involves an active analysis of the system for any potential vulnerabilities that may result from poor or improper system configuration, known and/or unknown hardware or software flaws, or operational weaknesses in process or technical countermeasures. This analysis is carried out from the position of a potential attacker and can involve the active exploitation of security vulnerabilities. Any security issues that are found will be presented to the system owner together with an assessment of their impact and often with a proposal for mitigation or a technical solution. The intent of a penetration test is to determine the feasibility of an attack and the amount of business impact of a successful exploit if discovered.
Internal Penetration Testing involves risk analysis of the IT components behind the classic firewall infrastructure. All network components including servers, workstations, network devices, VPN, and MPLS are subjected to a detailed analysis during this network pen testing exercise. During External Penetration Testing, security vulnerabilities with Public IPs, Firewalls, DMZ, and Web Applications are identified that hackers could exploit. External risk analysis begins with a detailed reconnaissance phase to understand the security measures in place. VAPT testing covers the below scope
Vulnerability Assessment (VA):- Our Security Consultants will use the industry’s best tools, vulnerability scanners, methodologies, and as well as custom scripts and tools to conduct a thorough vulnerability analysis on the target systems and report them based on severity.
Exploitation (Penetration Testing-PT):- The results of the vulnerability identification are paired with their expert knowledge and experience, to conduct a manual security analysis of the target systems finally. Our assessors attempt to exploit and gain remote unauthorized access to data and systems. Tests will also be conducted to determine if these exploits could be escalated in any possible ways using social engineering techniques to escalate to higher privilege or other directly connected systems with higher trust levels using privilege escalation techniques.
VAPT Testing Methodology
While other forms of security audits provide a theoretical articulation of vulnerability using automated scanning tools, our VAPT services demonstrate real-world attack techniques against vulnerabilities providing unique visibility into security risks automated tools often miss. To ensure high-quality, repeatable engagements, our penetration testing methodology follows these steps:
Information Gathering: All our VAPT security testing assessments start with information gathering. We use the Open-source intelligence (OSINT) framework to collect data from publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. Through information gathering, a great deal of actionable and predictive intelligence can be obtained from public, open-source, and unclassified sources.
Enumeration: This process begins with detailed scanning and research into the architecture and environment, to discover potential attack vectors in the system, and the same can be used for further exploitation of the system.
Automated Testing: Once the target has been fully enumerated, we use vulnerability scanning tools and manual analysis to identify security flaws. With vast experience, in-depth technical knowledge, and custom-built tools, our security engineers find weaknesses most automated scanners generally miss.
Exploration and Verification: At this assessment stage, our consultants review all previous data to identify and safely exploit identified application vulnerabilities. Once sensitive access has been obtained, the focus turns to escalation and movement to identify technical risk and total business impact. During each phase, we keep client stakeholders informed of testing progress, ensuring asset safety and stability.
Privilege Escalation: Once a vulnerability is exploited, the privilege accrued through the exploitation is further exploited to gain higher privilege or escalate the access level. Privilege escalation demonstrates real-world threats and attacks to systems in scope and other systems on the connected network.
Assessment Reporting: Once the VAPT engagement is complete, a detailed analysis and threat report, including remediation steps, is developed. We provide clear and concise reports, prioritizing the highest-risk vulnerabilities first along with detailed mitigation recommendations.
Retesting: At the conclusion of the remediation, we will provide one free retest of the target to validate the effectiveness of remediation. We will provide an updated VAPT testing report with a new risk level.
Penetration Testing Report
VAPT Report will have a detailed list of the identified vulnerabilities rated as critical, high, medium, and low risks to determine the impact, likelihood, and overall risk that the vulnerability presents. The risk factors include :
> The business context of the vulnerability, including whether an attacker could gain access to sensitive information, or could impact the operation of the business;
> The technical context of the vulnerability, including whether an attacker could use this vulnerability to gain further access to the environment, exploit other vulnerabilities, or access other systems;
> The technical ability required to exploit the vulnerability;
> Any mitigating factors that could prevent or limit the successful exploitation of the vulnerability.
How much does penetration testing cost?
Penetration test pricing depends on the type of VAPT testing. Network penetration testing services prices depend on the number of assets covered during the pen test. Web Application penetration testing services cost is calculated based on the type of test conducted (Black box or Grey box or White box) and the number of web applications. Mobile Application pen test pricing depends on the number of applications and mobile platform. The same mobile applications in Android and iOS are considered two separate applications for calculating pen test costs. External penetration testing cost is calculated based on the number of Public IPs and applications.
Types of Penetration Testing (VAPT)
Our Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing evaluate the target security control’s ability to block or prevent attacks. VAPT services can be conducted in 3 ways to simulate different attack scenarios under internal & external penetration testing services.
Black Box– No information regarding the target other than the host URL/IP is collected during this Pen Testing. This pentest is mostly done for periodic regulatory or standard audit requirements for systems that have not changed since the last audit or for industry-standard systems like Firewalls, Operating Systems, and well-known applications.
White Box– Full information regarding the target application including user credentials for various roles is collected during this ethical hacking exercise. This method is recommended for thorough security testing of the security robustness of the deployed system. It is recommended for newly developed systems, systems after an update or upgrade, web applications, e-commerce applications, systems handling critical information, etc.
Grey Box– It is something in between the black box and white box, with limited information regarding the target like IP, Hostname, service details, and channels.
Continuous Pen Testing is recommended for Web and Mobile applications to identify security gaps before a hacker does. PenTesting services at regular intervals help you to maintain and improve your application’s security posture. Configuration Review evaluates the configuration of critical devices of your IT network including Servers, Firewalls, and other networking devices to analyze the security effectiveness of the IT environment. It ensures that your network meets current security standards and policies.
Active Directory Pen Testing
Active Directory penetration testing requires a comprehensive and engaging methodology to identify vulnerabilities, assess risks, and strengthen the security of Active Directory.
Threat Modeling: Threat modeling helps identify potential risks and attack vectors specific to the AD environment. This is done by analyzing the AD architecture, trust relationships, user accounts, and access controls.
Vulnerability Assessment: Conducting a vulnerability assessment helps uncover known security weaknesses in the AD environment. We use automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and outdated software versions.
Exploitation and Privilege Escalation: We will exploit identified vulnerabilities and escalate privileges within the AD environment for simulated attacks. We use password-cracking techniques to test the strength of user passwords.
Lateral Movement: We expand access within the AD environment through lateral movement techniques. We employ methods like pass-the-hash, pass-the-ticket, and trust relationship exploitation to move laterally between compromised systems.
Cloud Penetration Testing
Cloud PenTesting assesses the weaknesses and strengths of your public and private instances with cloud computing platforms like AWS, Azure, GCP & more. It assesses Azure Active Directory, Amazon Web Services workloads, serverless functions, or Kubernetes to ensure that your cloud networks are safe and secure. Cloud penetration testing examines the security of cloud applications, configurations, passwords, encryption, APIs, databases, and storage access. The total number of cloud accounts and instances determines the cost of AWS Penetration Testing & Azure Penetration Testing.
We assess the security configurations against industry best practices such as SANS CIS benchmarking, NIST, and PTES. The following list is a summary of the primary security controls assessed for Cloud PenTest.
> Authorization and Access controls
> Logging and Alerting
> Network Security
Configuration review is done for critical infrastructure devices like Firewalls, Switches, and servers to analyze the current configuration, looking for security gaps or vulnerabilities from both a best practice perspective as well as a realistic risk perspective. The configuration review is performed using either offline configuration review which includes the offline configuration script review to identify security flaws in the network device configuration files or using credential review where an authenticated agent will try to identify the configuration flaws in the network devices.
Firewall Penetration Testing
Firewall VA PT evaluates the security of the Firewall using the security audit to identify vulnerabilities in the Firewall. The results of the firewall pen testing will help the organization enhance the security of its Network Firewall. Firewall pen-testing involves port scanning, banner grabbing, ACL enumeration, Firewall architecture and policy review, port redirection, internal and external testing, HTTP tunneling, firmware review, etc.
OT and IoT Pen Testing
OT system is fundamentally different from an IT system. It requires specific controls that would not impede its availability, integrity, and confidentiality. Standards such as ISO27001/22, NERC- CIP, NIST, and IEC62443 can be used collectively when evaluating the security posture of an OT system. OT Pen Testing is done on PLCs and Embedded Controllers, HMIs and SCADA systems, Networking equipment, Switches, Routers, and Security appliances.
Performing the vulnerability assessment on OT systems involves:
> High-level review of existing IT and OT Security policies will be performed against IEC62443-2-1 and ISO 27001.
> Identifying all attack surfaces
> Identifying all attack vectors
> Review and assessment of the risk level of each attack surface and vector.
> Identifying improvement areas
IoT Pen Testing looks for security vulnerabilities in Internet of Things devices and networks like cameras, thermostats, smart locks, industrial control systems, medical devices, etc. IoT Pen Testing helps to identify and assess the potential risks and threats posed to the data, device & network. This includes vulnerability testing for unsecured passwords, encryption, and other weaknesses that malicious actors could exploit. IoT VAPT methodology consists of nine stages tailored to conduct firmware/IoT security assessments.
Red Team Assessment
Red Team Assessment simulates real-world cyber-attacks on your organization to evaluate the effectiveness of your defenses with people, processes, and technology. This is an objective-driven threat simulation exercise to discover highly critical entry and pivot points. The objective of the assessment is to evaluate the detection and response capabilities of the organization. In the read team assessment, we will try to get into the network to access sensitive information in all possible ways to avoid any detection mechanisms already in place.
Red Team Engagement is an effective demonstration of tangible risk posed by an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). The assessors are instructed to compromise predetermined assets, or “flags,” using means that a malicious actor might utilize in a legitimate attack. These comprehensive, complex security assessments are best suited for companies looking to improve a maturing security organization. It involves the following steps.
> Scoping: Penetration testing is normally concerned with which assets to include in the scope. However, red team engagements aim to compromise critical business assets and the scoping process defines areas to exclude from the assessment.
> Information Gathering and Reconnaissance: The initial work done in any black-box assessment is information gathering. It combines a myriad of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) resources for gathering data on the target organization, and it is critical to the operation. Aggregating both public and private methods of intelligence gathering allows our Security Labs to develop an early structure for a plan or attack.
> Mapping and Planning of Attack: After completing all initial information gathering, the process transitions to mapping our strategy and attack methodology. The approach varies widely, dependent on our intel from the previous stage and the developed footprint.
> Executing Attack and Penetration: The variety of information gathered in the beginning phases lays the foundation for a whole host of attack options across all relevant vectors.
Wireless (Wi-Fi) networks may be susceptible to a myriad of attacks, depending on the wireless clients, access points, and wireless configurations. Wi-Fi is a hotly pursued target, as a compromise of the wireless network is generally the fastest means to the internal network. Poor configuration and weak protections could leave your internal information exposed to anyone in range with a laptop or smartphone. As such, we test the range of the network in addition to the range of potential vulnerabilities. This includes testing for ‘Wireless Bleeding,’ where we identify the distance at which a potential attacker can pick up your wireless signal.
The purpose of this methodology is to evaluate the security of the Wireless Network and exploit vulnerabilities in the wireless infrastructure. We will attempt to gain unauthorized access to the wireless networks. Depending on how the wireless network is set up, this may include WEP/WPA-PreShared Key cracking, various password attacks, evil twin attacks, disassociation attacks, etc.
Wireless assessment will include the following steps to identify security flaws in the wireless infrastructure:
> Detect vulnerabilities, misconfigured wireless devices, and rogue access points.
> Assess the wireless access path to the internal network for security flaws.
> Get independent security verification – of encryption and authentication policies – for devices interacting with the wireless network.
> Prevent unauthorized use of the wireless network as a pivot for cyber-attacks, which may be traced back to your organization.
> Provide management with a proof of exploit, which outlines the assets that an attack can compromise; such as compromising critical data or gaining administrative-level rights over routers and switches.
> Ensure Compliance with PCI DSS and other security standards.
Pen Testing Tools
We use multiple tools for VAPT services which include commercial, open-source tools as well as custom scripts. VAPT relies extensively on manual testing and verification of each potential vulnerability identified by various tools. We use the Security Vulnerability Scanners & Metasploit framework to scan for common security issues and misconfigurations. Pentest Tools will be configured with the latest updates from the professional feed. The scanner may run throughout the testing period whilst the auditor is manually testing for other vulnerabilities. Frequently used tools for VAPT testing include:
Nessus, Core Impact, Qualys, Burp Suite
Metasploit, ZAP, Sqlmap, Nmap
Acunetix, Net Sparker, DIRB, Nikto
Nipper, Wireshark /Tcpdump, Fiddler
Brutus, SSLDigger, Hydra, MobSF, QARK
Scout Suite, Prowler, AWS Security Benchmarks
Commix, Mutiny, Boofuzz, Kitty
Firmware Analysis Toolkit, Fwanalyzer, ByteSweep
Firmwalker, Binwalk, QEMU, Firmadyne
Flashrom, Minicom, Prelink, lddtree
We use many more tools, and scripts that are apt for the target and scope for VAPT testing in Dubai UAE, and the Middle East. Our Cybersecurity experts comprise a pool of highly qualified and skilled professionals with experience in handling complex and demanding requirements from a diverse set of clients in the UAE. We have successfully completed more than 600+ pen tests in Dubai UAE and our Pen Testers have vast experience in various industry verticals such as Banking, Insurance, Money Exchange, Oil & Gas, Government, Retail, Hotels, Manufacturing, Telecom, Healthcare, Construction, E-commerce, Education, etc. with certifications in specialized areas such as CISSP, OSCP, OSWE, CSX-P, CISA, CEH, etc.
Benefits of Penetration Testing
Penetration testing plays a significant role in an organization’s security strategy. It helps organizations proactively identify vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. It helps companies to better protect their assets and data. VAPT helps to identify and fix the security gaps in an organization arising due to outdated software or configuration flaws. It also helps to improve the overall security posture of the organization. Penetration testing helps organizations meet compliance requirements as many regulatory frameworks require regular penetration testing to ensure that sensitive information is adequately protected.
Source Code Review can also be done as part of the VAPT testing exercise to verify the security of the source code of your application.