Most people associate the term cybersecurity with run-of-the-mill tips like “don’t reuse your password on more than one site” or “don’t browse on public Wi-Fi. In reality, these tips barely scratch the surface of what cybersecurity is really about.

Don’t believe us? Penetration testing makes up a significant aspect of cybersecurity. To put it simply, it involves testing for flaws in a security system to patch up any found weaknesses. You might have heard of the terms “red team”, “blue team”, and even “purple team”.

If you’re feeling lost in the sea of tech jargon, fret not. We’ll be going over exactly what penetration testing involves, what red and blue teams are, and most importantly, how a proxy provider is used in these tests. Check pen testing services

How are proxy servers used in penetration testing?

Regardless of what attack red and blue teams are trying to test on an organisation’s network (more on this later), a proxy is always used. This is because a proxy allows internet traffic to pass through only one server, enabling more accurate identification of vulnerabilities.

Smartproxy is an excellent proxy provider for penetration testing, featuring everything you’d want in a proxy – fast speeds, unlimited connection requests and the ability to pose as if you’re surfing from any country in the world. To be more specific, you get access to residential IP addresses from over 195 countries across the globe. It even has an average speed of 3.1s, so you don’t have to worry about any lag when you’re conducting a test. All of these make Smartproxy the default option for pentesting of any kind.

What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing, otherwise known as pentesting, refers to an offensive security exercise conducted to discover vulnerabilities within a security system in an attempt to strengthen its defences over time.

A successful testing session should produce a narrative of what attacks were conducted and the results of each attack, along with a report of actionable steps a company can take to tighten up their defences further.

What are red and blue teams?

Red teams and blue teams have separate functions in penetration testing.

The job of the red team is offensive in nature. Their primary role is to detect any vulnerabilities and eliminate them before they become a problem in the future. Red teams achieve this by pretending to be an attacker and attempting to hack the company to see exactly where the flaws in the company’s security systems are. It’s for this reason that most organisations hire outsiders for red teaming – outsiders are brand new to the inner workings of the company. These individuals need to be experienced in ethical hacking, but they can’t know how the existing processes in the company function.

The techniques they employ are usually close to what an attacker would use – phishing, impersonating employees to gain administrative access through identity spoofing, to more advanced tactics like conducting remote attacks via the internet and using zombies and bots.

On the other hand, blue teams are more defensive in nature. Where the red team launches simulated attacks against an organisation to spot weaknesses, blue teams find ways to improve the existing response to an attack.

They also focus on more than just potential attacks. They’re involved in strengthening the entire digital security suite and performing continuous analysis to detect suspicious activities.

Some of the tasks that fall within the blue team’s job description include reverse engineering attacks to understand the organisation’s shortcomings, security audits and digital footprint analysis.

Question: Can they work independently?

This is one of the most misunderstood areas of penetration testing. The red team cannot perform their job efficiently without the blue team and vice versa.

Due to the overlap in their roles, the red team might find loopholes the blue team didn’t manage to spot. The red and blue teams complement one another, and together they help reduce potential malware attacks within organisations.

Purple teams: the middle ground

It’s not uncommon to find red teams holding back information from blue teams due to them being on opposing sides. The solution to this is the purple team. Essentially, purple teams involve teammates from both the blue and red team working together and sharing their resources and findings.

Why is pen testing essential?

Aside from discovering existing security issues, here are two other ways pentesting can benefit your business:

 

  • Regulations and Compliance. During a data breach, an organisation’s privacy might not be the only thing at stake. Pentesting can reveal errors in company processes which can cost you a hefty fine, cause you to lose your license or, in more severe cases, land you in jail. Pentesting lets you detect these issues before they get spotted by a third party.
  • Risk assessment. You need to understand the risks your business is exposed to and how it impacts you. For example, what would happen if the IT in the building was down for the day? In the event of a specific error happening, how much would it cost you? Risk assessment allows you to get a better picture of what you’re dealing with in the event of something going wrong, so you can put a backup plan in place.

Conclusion

With the rising number of hacks and breaches happening to even the biggest players in the game, organisations need to be aware of the threats that are out there. Most importantly, they need to know if there are any loopholes in their current system that can be exploited. Penetration testing is the perfect solution to this problem and has relatively few downsides.

At the end of the day, the cybersecurity industry is constantly improving, so it’s more than likely that there will be marked improvements in the field of penetration testing in the days and months ahead.

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