Is Penetration Testing a Tester's job/task?

What are the available tools for penetration testing?

How to perform penetration testing?

4 Answers 4


It is also called as- "network penetration testing" or “security testing”. It’s the process to identify security vulnerabilities in an application by evaluating the system or network with various malicious techniques. Purpose of this test is to secure important data from outsiders like hackers who can have unauthorized access to system. Once vulnerability is identified it is used to exploit system in order to gain access to sensitive information.

Causes of vulnerabilities:

  1. Design and development errors
  2. Poor system configuration
  3. Human errors

Why need of Penetration testing?

  1. Financial data must be secured while transferring between different systems
  2. Many clients are asking for pen testing as part of the software release cycle
  3. To secure user data
  4. To find security vulnerabilities in an application

Examples of Penetration testing tools:

Nmap, Nessus, Metasploit, Wireshark, OpenSSL, Cain & Abel, THC Hydra, w3af..etc


Penetration testing (also called pen testing) is the practice of testing a computer system, network or Web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit. Finding these vulnerabilities gives the opportunity to correct and prevent potential future occurrences.
Testers should consider security testing as part of their role. The amount of resources to devote will depend on many factors such as company size, industry, product, etc.

For tools, here is a list of 37:
The top 3 on the list are:
http://cdn.softwaretestinghelp.com/wp-content/qa/uploads/2013/11/Metasploit-pentesting-tool.jpg http://cdn.softwaretestinghelp.com/wp-content/qa/uploads/2013/11/Wireshark-logo.jpg http://cdn2.softwaretestinghelp.com/wp-content/qa/uploads/2013/11/w3af4.png

Tools for penetration testing can be classified into two kinds: scanners and attackers

You perform penetration testing (without or without the use of a tool) by issuing network queries to find vulnerabilities.

  • what you mean is.. we have to think like an hacker right? Apr 5, 2016 at 13:22
  • 1
    Its actually more difficult because you have constraints on what you are allowed to do.
    – David Cain
    Apr 5, 2016 at 17:29
  • @PaarthibanNK - no, you need to think like a cracker. :-) Hacking is something different, learn your terminology because you are talking to programmers, not clueless public (which uses "hacking" to describe cracking). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_%28expert%29 Apr 11, 2016 at 14:47

Penetration testing is typically performed by specialized professionals known as penetration testers or ethical hackers. While it shares some similarities with software testing, penetration testing focuses specifically on identifying vulnerabilities and potential security risks in a system or application.

There are various tools available for penetration testing, depending on the specific requirements and scope of the testing. Some popular tools include Nmap, Metasploit, Burp Suite, Wireshark, Nessus, etc.

Performing penetration testing typically involves the following steps:

Planning and Scoping: Define the scope of the penetration test, including the target systems, applications, and specific objectives. Understand the rules of engagement and legal considerations.

Reconnaissance: Gather information about the target systems, such as IP addresses, network topology, and potential vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Assessment: Identify and assess potential vulnerabilities in the target systems or applications using tools like port scanners, vulnerability scanners, and manual inspection.

Exploitation: Attempt to exploit identified vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access or perform specific actions that validate security weaknesses.

Post-Exploitation: Document the results, including successful exploits, compromised systems, and recommendations for remediation. Provide a detailed report of the findings to stakeholders.

Remediation: Work with the relevant teams to address and fix the identified vulnerabilities and security weaknesses.

It's important to note that penetration testing should be performed by experienced professionals who follow ethical guidelines and obtain appropriate permissions to conduct the testing.


Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is a proactive security assessment technique that involves simulating real-world attacks on a system, network, or application to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The goal is to assess the security posture and determine if unauthorized access or data breaches are possible.

The main objectives of performing penetration testing are:

  1. Identify Vulnerabilities: Penetration testing helps uncover vulnerabilities that may exist in the system, network, or application. By actively attempting to exploit weaknesses, organizations can understand potential entry points for attackers.

  2. Validate Security Controls: Penetration testing validates the effectiveness of security controls and measures implemented to protect systems and data. It helps ensure that security mechanisms are properly configured and functioning as intended.

  3. Risk Mitigation: By identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses, organizations can take proactive steps to mitigate the associated risks. Penetration testing provides actionable insights to enhance security defenses and reduce the likelihood of successful attacks.

Regarding whether penetration testing is a tester's job or task, it depends on the organization and its specific roles and responsibilities. Penetration testing typically falls under the domain of specialized security professionals, such as ethical hackers or security analysts, who possess in-depth knowledge of attack techniques, security frameworks, and testing methodologies. However, testers can also contribute to the process by collaborating with security teams and incorporating security testing practices within their testing efforts. This can include conducting basic security checks, reporting potential vulnerabilities, and working closely with security experts.

There are several tools available for penetration testing, catering to different aspects of security assessments. Some popular tools include:

  1. Metasploit: A widely-used framework for penetration testing, offering a range of tools and exploits to identify and exploit vulnerabilities.

  2. Nmap: A network scanning tool that helps identify open ports, discover hosts, and perform service enumeration.

  3. Burp Suite: A comprehensive web application testing tool that allows for scanning, vulnerability assessment, and security testing.

  4. Wireshark: A network protocol analyzer that captures and analyzes network traffic to detect vulnerabilities or malicious activities.

  5. Nessus: A vulnerability scanner that identifies security issues across networks, systems, and applications.

To perform penetration testing, it's important to follow a structured approach. Here are the key steps involved:

  1. Scope Definition: Clearly define the scope and objectives of the penetration test, including target systems, applications, and any specific constraints.

  2. Reconnaissance: Gather information about the target, such as network architecture, system configurations, and potential vulnerabilities.

  3. Vulnerability Scanning: Utilize automated tools or manual techniques to scan for known vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.

  4. Exploitation: Attempt to exploit identified vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access or compromise the system.

  5. Post-Exploitation: Assess the impact of successful exploits, escalate privileges, and attempt to maintain access to the target system.

  6. Reporting: Document the findings, including identified vulnerabilities, potential risks, and recommended remediation measures.

It's important to note that penetration testing should be conducted in a controlled and authorized environment with proper permissions and consent from the organization being tested. It requires deep technical knowledge and expertise to ensure the security assessment is thorough, accurate, and conducted ethically.

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