It’s not unusual to see businesses investing thousands into IT security. In fact, all companies should take data security seriously if they really want to protect theirs as well as their customer’s data.
Penetration testing is a well sought after and effective method of ensuring data security.
In this article, we’ll discuss what penetration testing is, how it can be automated, and the pros and cons of using automated tools. We’ll also introduce you to ten of the best automated pentesting tools on the market.
A software penetration testing achieves its goal of finding security flaws by simulating attacks on a system. The way it works is, whichever exploit successfully executes, then that becomes the vulnerability to which your system(s) is susceptible. It helps you achieve your security goals by finding the security flaws before anything bad happens, giving you a head start so you can fix them in time.
Can penetration testing be automated?
Yes, penetration testing can be automated. Many cybersecurity firms developed their own tools to automate their penetration testing strategy. There are also a few open-source tools that you can use but they are less likely to contain all the features you require.
Different ways to perform penetration testing
Manual penetration testing: Performing manual penetration testing is the most basic and common way to test for security vulnerabilities. It involves using a variety of techniques, such as scanning, probing, and fingerprinting, to identify system weaknesses.
Automated penetration testing: Automated penetration testing uses special software tools that automate the process of finding security flaws in systems. These tools can be used to scan individual systems or a network of systems against a set of known vulnerabilities. They can also be used to probe systems for undocumented vulnerabilities.
Why Use Automated Penetration Testing Tools?
There are many reasons why you might want to consider using automated pentesting tools:
- They can help you find more vulnerabilities than you could find manually.
- They may assist you in conserving time by automating certain time-consuming procedures, such as scanning for threats.
- They can help you standardize your pentesting process so that all tests are run in a consistent manner.
- They can help you automate the reporting process so that you have a report of the findings ready at the end of the test.
There are also some pros and cons to using automated penetration testing tools:
-They can find more vulnerabilities than manual testing.
-They can speed up the testing process.
-They can make it easier to standardize your pentesting process.
-They can automate the reporting process.
-They may not be able to find all the vulnerabilities in a system.
-They may detect some false positives which aren’t really a threat.
-They may require a certain level of technical experience and/or knowledge to be able to use them to their full potential.
-They can be expensive.
10 Best Automated Penetration Testing Tools
- Astra Pentest: This is one of the most comprehensive automated pretesting solutions. It covers 2500+ known vulnerabilities, threat risk levels, remediation tips, SaaS app evaluation, OWASP top ten testing, and other compliance requirement testing. Furthermore, if you run into any trouble, Astra Security is ready to back you up, 24×7.
- Nessus: Nessus is a commercial tool that offers a wide range of features, including scanning, probing, etc. It works well to detect flaws in a system’s network remotely.
- Metasploit: Metasploit is another popular open-source tool that allows you to exploit vulnerabilities in systems using payloads. It also includes exploits that can scan ports on a system it is actively breaching.
- Burp Suite: Burp Suite is a popular Java-based integrated penetration testing toolkit. It includes a variety of tools for attacking web applications, such as proxy servers, spidering, and scanning.
- Nmap: Nmap is an open-source network exploration and security auditing tool. It can be used to scan networks for vulnerabilities and exploit them.
- Nikto: Nikto is an open-source tool. It scans web servers for hazardous files, viruses, payloads, etc. It also has a scanner that you may utilize to look for outdated server software.
- Wireshark: Wireshark is a popular network analysis tool that can be used to capture and analyze packets on a network.
- John the Ripper: This is an open-source tool for cracking and revealing passwords.
- OWASP ZAP: ZAP is an open-source web application security scanner. It’s by OWASP, the same foundation that publishes an annual list of the most common vulnerabilities that year. You may rest confident that this tool is updated on a regular basis.
- OpenVAS: OpenVAS is a framework for managing security scans. It includes a variety of tools for performing vulnerability assessments.
Will automated penetration testing replace humans?
It is unlikely that automated penetration testing will completely replace humans in the pentesting process. However, it is likely that automated tools will become increasingly important and will be used more widely to help find vulnerabilities in systems.
So, automated penetration testing tools are useful for finding more vulnerabilities than you could find manually, speeding up the process, and making it easier to standardize your pentesting process. However, they have some cons too, such as being expensive and not being able to find all the vulnerabilities in a system. In the end, it is up to you to decide if automated tools are the right choice for your organization.