Conducting pen tests might seem easy enough, with the right tools and some YouTube videos. Sure, you can do the test yourself, but here’s why you shouldn’t.
Pen test certifications
Pen testers should have certifications that show they know what they are doing. These certifications are provided by well-known accrediting bodies. Additionally, you should be able to look them up in the accrediting company’s database, to verify the tester has them.
Pen test experience
A dedicated pen tester has years of experience performing a variety of different penetration tests. They know the tools well, can create their own scripts to look for known vulnerabilities while they manually test. They comprehend how a certain exploit may hinder a network or application they are testing. A pen tester will also have an idea on how a hacker’s mind works, therefore looking for vulnerabilities that aren’t as well known to the lay person.
By using a third party, you will be able to receive unbiased test results. It’s easy to gloss over things when you know how everything is laid out and what security measures are in place. Or you see a vulnerability and think it is minor and will mitigate later, but you don’t go back to it and leave a vulnerability exposed. A dedicated pen tester will be looking at all the possible vulnerabilities because he or she will have little to no prior knowledge of what is being tested, except for PCI compliance instances.
More than a vulnerability scan
A good pen test is more than just a vulnerability scan. A test should involve manual testing. There should be different results than simply a list of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE). Additionally, there are things a pen tester will find that a vulnerability scan cannot, such as default credentials on a firewall or server. (This is also your reminder to change those default credentials if you haven’t already.)
In conclusion, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.