If you run a business and are interested in verifying the security of your computer system, you have certainly heard of physical penetration tests. But what does it actually mean? How do they differ from other types of penetration testing? In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about physical penetration testing.
Physical penetration testing – definition and purpose
Physical penetration testing is a process of testing the security of an information system that involves physical attempts to gain access to premises or physical infrastructure, such as data processing centers, servers, network devices, etc. The aim of these tests is to verify whether there are any weaknesses in the system that could be exploited by a potential attacker to gain unauthorized access to company information or infrastructure.
Why are physical penetration tests important?
Physical penetration tests are important because many companies focus only on digital security and forget that unauthorized access to physical infrastructure can lead to serious consequences. An attacker who gained unauthorized access to servers, data processing centers, or network devices could access sensitive information and expose the company to financial or reputational losses.
How do physical penetration tests work?
Physical penetration tests are conducted by a team of security specialists who pretend to be potential attackers and attempt to gain access to the company’s premises or infrastructure. During the test, specialists use various techniques such as obtaining information from employees, impersonating other employees or contractors, searching premises and devices, etc. The aim of the test is to verify how easy or difficult it is to penetrate the company’s physical infrastructure and how easy it is to gain access to sensitive information.
What are the types of physical penetration testing?
There are different types of physical penetration testing that can be conducted depending on the needs and requirements of a company. Below are some of the most commonly used types of physical penetration testing:
- Room access tests Room access tests involve attempting to physically gain access to company premises such as offices, warehouses, data processing centers, etc. During the test, security specialists pose as employees, couriers, or other individuals with access to the premises and attempt to gain entry without proper authorization. The aim of the test is to verify how easy or difficult it is to gain access to company premises and what security measures have been implemented.
- Infrastructure access tests Infrastructure access tests involve attempting to gain access to servers, data processing centers, network devices, or other physical infrastructure of a company. Security specialists pose as potential attackers and attempt to gain access to company infrastructure using various techniques such as information elicitation from employees, network port scanning, password cracking, etc. The aim of the test is to verify how easy or difficult it is to gain access to company infrastructure and what security measures have been implemented.
- Social engineering tests Social engineering tests involve attempting to elicit information from company employees in order to gain access to sensitive information or infrastructure. Security specialists pose as individuals with authorization to obtain sensitive information, such as IT employees or representatives of an external company. The aim of the test is to verify how easy or difficult it is to elicit information from employees and what security measures have been implemented.
How to prepare for physical penetration testing?
To prepare for physical penetration testing, it is important to gather information about the external company that will be conducting the tests. It is worth asking about the company’s experience, references, and the methods and technologies that will be used during the tests. It is also important to ensure that the company adheres to ethical and legal standards regarding penetration testing.
Next, it is worth preparing a test plan that includes selected types of tests and areas to be tested. The test plan should define the objectives of the tests, schedule, and budget.
In addition, it is worth conducting internal penetration tests to verify whether the company’s own infrastructure is sufficiently protected against external attacks.
Can penetration tests harm a company?
Conducting penetration tests by experienced security professionals should not harm a company. However, if the tests are conducted by the wrong people or are conducted improperly, they can cause serious problems for the company, such as data loss or infrastructure damage. Therefore, it is important for penetration tests to be conducted by experienced security professionals.
What are the costs of conducting penetration tests?
The costs of conducting penetration tests can vary depending on the size of the company and the amount of security measures that need to be tested. However, these costs should be considered an investment in the security of the company’s data and infrastructure.
How often should penetration tests be conducted?
The frequency of conducting penetration tests should be dependent on the size of the company and the amount of security measures in place.