Network Penetration Testing Methodology

The vastness of the online realm offers endless possibilities for advancement in any industry. With just a few clicks, one can engage in commerce, establish a virtual hub for their services, leverage cloud technology, advertise on a massive scale, and so much more. However, we must also be cautious of its darker side - the looming risk of cyber attacks.

Cyber attackers are always lurking, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Don't wait for them to pounce and cause you massive losses! Take the proactive step of network penetration testing. Let us guide you through this process and safeguard your valuable resources.

Why Use Penetration Testing Techniques?

An application penetration testing methodology is one of the best ways to secure your web resources and applications from potential threats. 

With the help of a specialist (pentest provider), the process involves simulating a series of attacks to identify any weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the system's protection. 

This form of testing allows you to understand how your network responds to cyber-attacks and ensure it meets the necessary security standards. You can ensure your network is fortified against potential threats by conducting a thorough pentest of your system.

Looking for some hard facts and numbers to back up the need for this procedure?

Look no further than the National Vulnerability Database's research. Their findings show that over 13,000 vulnerabilities were identified in 2022, with more than 3000 of them being deemed highly critical.

How Is Network Penetration Testing Performed?

In each specific case, the execution algorithm may differ. However, several steps are common to most methodologies.

1) Preparation and Creation of a Plan

In the first stage, specialists carefully study the IT structure and the peculiarities of its functioning. They use the received information to create an audit plan and universe.

2) Intelligence and Data Collection

The next step is to conduct due diligence, which is required to gather information about programs and systems. This ensures an effective network penetration test. Manual and automated tools are used in the process.

3) Detection of System Vulnerabilities

The core focus of testers is to put the security system on trial at the main stage by carrying out exclusive actions to spot any gaps. These actions are precisely documented to provide an understanding of the process for upcoming reviews. The level of destruction such vulnerabilities can cause is what truly counts in the process.

4) Preparation of the Solution

At the final stage, specialists are engaged in developing strategies and solutions to eliminate security gaps.

Upon completion of the testing phase, a comprehensive report is produced detailing every step in the process. From initial system configuration to solution development, every detail is mentioned. The report serves as a complete reference of all actions taken by the testers, providing an invaluable resource for future troubleshooting and analysis.

According to Cobalt's State of Pentesting 2022 report, teams have been struggling with the same old security issues for quite some time now. 

Over the past five years, vulnerabilities related to server security misconfigurations, cross-site scripting, broken access control, sensitive data exposure, and authentication and sessions have consistently plagued organizations.

These issues typically stem from neglecting necessary configurations or maintenance, making them easily preventable if addressed proactively. Unfortunately, with the ongoing talent shortage faced by the industry, many security and development teams are left without the necessary resources to keep up with the ever-evolving security landscape.

What Are the Network Penetration Test Methodology?

Currently, experts use several methodologies that usually cover all the necessary aspects and guarantee the authenticity of the penetration test. 

Let's consider them in more detail:

  • ISSAF - While not currently updated, the intricacies of this methodology still hold value in cybersecurity due to its ability to seamlessly connect various tools and stages within a pentest. This approach is supported by the Open Information Systems Security Group, providing valuable assistance to industry professionals.
  • PTES - It is another pentest methodology aimed at creating a standard that meets modern realities and has a complex character.
  • NIST - This is a penetration testing methodology developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It contains specific strategies to enhance the accuracy of results and identify the most effective pentesting solutions.
  • OWASP - Methodology aimed at identifying program vulnerabilities and any logical mishaps within certain processes. This approach is highly regarded amongst seasoned pentesting experts.
  • OSSTMM - This is the most popular methodology for network penetration testing. It is based on scientific testing approaches and contains adaptive recommendations for specialists. 

One of the main tasks of each tester is the correct choice of one of the specified testing methodologies, taking into account the specifics of the organization.


As cybercriminals continue to evolve and develop new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, the need for effective defenses against cyberattacks is more important than ever. 

Network penetration testing methodologies are essential for identifying potential weaknesses and implementing solutions to protect against them. Businesses and organizations can safeguard their valuable data and assets by staying one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Published on Apr 18, 2023
Uladzislau Murashka
Written by Uladzislau Murashka
A Certified Ethical Hacker with 7+ years of experience, Uladzislau supervises ScienceSoft's security testing team. He participates in vulnerability assessment, black box, white box, and gray box penetration testing, security code reviews, infrastructure security audits, and compliance testing. He has a track record of 100+ successfully completed projects for 10+ industries.


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