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What is Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES)? Different Stages Explained

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to PTES (Penetration Testing Execution Standard)
  • Penetration Testing Stages According to PTES
  • Introduction to Pen Testing
  • It’s Quiz Time!

Introduction to PTES (Penetration Testing Execution Standard)

Penetration Testing Execution Standard or PTES is a standardized set of processes related to penetration testing guide. It works like a quality control to draw a fine line between hacking and ethical hacking

Penetration Testing Stages According to PTES

PTES has some rules and regulations for the evaluation and execution of penetration testing. Let’s discuss these guidelines.

1. Pre-engagement Interactions

The pre-engagement interactions include guidance about the first contact between a client or business and the penetration testers. This process comprises processes from finalizing the deal, document approvals, tools to be used, and when to begin the pentesting. 

2. Intelligence Gathering

Intelligence gathering specifications define the information to be gathered by the penetration testers while starting the work. They collect the publicly available details of the company or body, and do some common research.

Next, the PTES lays out specifications for the intelligence gathering stage of a pen test. Also called open-source intelligence or OSINT, the intelligence-gathering process further includes the collection of information that can be used in the later stages of the pentesting. 

3. Threat Modeling

In the threat modeling process, the assets in a system that is highly likely to be attacked are mapped out. Along with the crucial assets, the mapping of resources is also done.

As per PTES, a number of processes are followed, which include gathering documentation, categorizing assets and threats, and mapping threat communities related to those assets. 

4. Vulnerability Analysis

In the vulnerability analysis, the information is gathered, which is mostly related to particular vulnerabilities in the cybersecurity systems. This is performed on the basis of the intelligence-gathering done in previous steps to prioritize the particular vulnerabilities. 

5. Exploitation

This is a vital part of the entire penetration testing process. Here, the attackers carry out the actual attacks using the information gathered in the previous steps. The PTES guidelines for the penetration tester include stealth and evading alert, speed of infiltration, depth of penetration, as well as breadth of exploitations. 

6. Post Exploitation

The post-exploitation tasks are performed after compromising the target system. The activities done in this process can be different according to the operating system in use. 

7. Reporting

There are defined criteria for pentesting reporting. Organizations can use their own custom formats as well. However, the report should provide an in-depth understanding of penetration testing. 

The report is categorized into two primary sections to show the objectives, methods, and results of the entire penetration testing process. These sections include an Executive Summary and Technical Reporting. 

In the Executive Summary, the particular goals of pentesting, important findings of the process, background, overall posture, risk ranking, etc., are included. 

Whereas, the Technical Reporting will comprise the technical details of the pentesting, along with the important components considered as the success factors. It will describe the scope, information, attack path, effect, as well as remediation recommendations.

Introduction to Pen Testing

Introduction to Pen Testing

It’s Quiz Time!

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