Cyber-attacks are one of the fastest-growing threats with the majority of organizations reporting cybercrime. Companies are conscious more than ever before and are considering cybersecurity strategies to protect their businesses from cyber threats. However, it is not enough to respond to these attacks, it is important that they devise strategies like penetration testing and take a proactive approach to protect their business. A penetration testing company ensures hiring the right people for the job so that there can be a proper cybersecurity strategy in place.
Following are some essential skills that every successful penetration tester should have:
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Knowledge of vulnerabilities and tool suites
One of the most commonly asked questions when hiring a pen-tester is to determine whether he knows more about modern vulnerabilities. An expert pen-tester should know if a client has a security product that can detect a particular tool. This is a common factor that helps in assessing a candidate for his expertise. Testers should not be helpless when they cannot use modern pen-testing tools. They should not blindly rely on the vulnerability scans. The reported vulnerabilities have known exploit code that can be used to detect system weaknesses. In order to test is a vulnerability exists, they exploit code to leverage and rectify it. Organizations do not just look for exploit writers but pen-testers who know how to modify existing exploits to make them work in specific networks for the purpose of pen-testing.
Learning is a continuous process
It is not possible for a tester to be an expert in all domains but they should be active learners and develop real-time experiences. Rather than relying on a write-up code from a security firm’s exploit, they should be able to build a virtual machine, obtain the code, and test it themselves. With the help of experience, testers build their muscle memory. Although this skill may not be very helpful in the penetration tests, yet they have the ability to recall their memory to learn new ways. To become a proficient penetration tester, they can demonstrate continuous learning by sharing videos of their learnings. Videos are a common way to demonstrate expertise and recall all the necessary steps involved in pen-testing.
Understanding secure web communications
It is extremely important for testers to understand everything from how to register a web domain name to apply it to a cloud IP address and generate certificates for the domain, etc. In addition, they should also understand the web technologies. Web apps are common and pen testers should know how they are built, how to identify input fields, gather information, etc. to exploit the functionality of the app.
Writing script or code
Certainly, a tester’s code does not have to be production quality but it can be a plus point if he knows how to code. The main languages that they need for basics are Python, Powershell, Peri, and Bash. besides knowing these languages, they also need to excel keyboard-fu so that they can manipulate data in any format that is required.
Report writing skills are a must for pen-testers so that they can describe complex issues in ways that even non-technical people can understand. It is important for them to excel in their speaking and writing skills. All these skills add up to their chances of being selected to work for a renowned penetration testing company. Since testers need to work in teams, it also means that everyone needs to know how to set up and tear down an equipment/application. The task of packing up the equipment is not that easy so it may take some time to learn that. As everything moves smoothly, QA teams can manage to achieve their projects in time.
It is a misconception that pending all time and energy to get certifications will lead to a job in the penetration testing field. Although certifications can be a positive factor, yet they are not a reason to hire. Certifications that pen-testers can acquire include Offensive Security Certification (OSCP/OSCE) or SANS certifications. Also, as penetration testers are there to assist organizations to strengthen their cybersecurity, testers who understand the managerial side of a business are also preferred.
The above-mentioned factors are some important aspects that a penetration testing company may consider when hiring penetration testers. Thus, it is crucial for pen-testers to have access to modern tools and expertise in the field so that they can be an active part of the QA team and achieve cybersecurity.