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Updated Paper on Penetration Testing and Red Teams

By Augusto Barros | January 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

Security Operations for Technical Professionals

I finally managed to publish the update to my paper on pentesting, “Using Penetration Testing and Red Teams to Assess and Improve Security”. It has some small tweaks from the previous version, including some additional guidance around Breach and Attack Simulation tools role.

Questions about how to define the scope of penetration tests are very common in my conversations with clients. I always tell them it should be driven primarily by their objective for running the test. Surprisingly, many have problems articulating why they are doing it.

The discussion about comparing pentests with other forms of assessments is there too, although we also published a paper focused on the multiple test methods some time ago.

A few good pieces from the document:

“Research the characteristics and applicability of penetration tests and other types of security assessments before selecting the most appropriate one for the organization. Select a vulnerability assessment if the goal is to find easily identifiable vulnerabilities.”

“Definitions for security assessments vary according to the source, with a big influence from marketing strategies and the buzzword of the day. Some vendors will define their red team service in a way that may be identified as a pentest in this research, while vulnerability assessment providers will often advertise their services as a penetration test. Due to the lack of consensus, organizations hiring a service provider to perform one of the tests described below should ensure their definition matches the one used by the vendor”

“Pentests are often requested by organizations to identify all vulnerabilities affecting a certain environment, with the intent to produce a list of “problems to be fixed.” This is a dangerous mistake because pentesters aren’t searching for a complete list of visible vulnerabilities.”

Next on the queue is the monitoring use cases paper. That’s my favorite paper and excited to refresh it again. You’ll see it here soon!

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