eLearnSecurity Blog

Introduction to Pentesting: From n00b to Professional

So, you want to become a pentester? Penetration testing not only is a financially rewarding career, but professionals in this field also believe this career path to be personally fulfilling. Although, it requires some serious skills to get there! Here’s an introduction to penetration testing and how to take your first step in this field.

Why Penetration Testing Is Important

Penetration testing (pentesting) consists of testing a computer system, network, web application, etc. to find security vulnerabilities before malicious actors do. In other words, Penetration Testers perform ‘deep investigations’ of the remote system security flaws.

This activity requires methodology and skills. Penetration testers, unlike malicious hackers, must test for any and all vulnerabilities, not just the ones that might grant them root access to a system.

Penetration testing is NOT about getting root!!!

The ultimate goal of penetration testers is not to get access as fast as possible, but to thoroughly identify the security posture of an organization, and recommend the right solution/s to fix the vulnerabilities found.

The most important part of the penetration testing methodology — the reporting phase — is often the most looked-upon. That’s a BIG mistake! Indeed, clients will usually judge a pentester’s work based on the quality of his report. This is why writing skills can really come in handy, but more on the skills necessary to succeed in this field later in this article.

Penetration testers, moreover, cannot destroy their clients’ infrastructures. Pentesting requires a thorough understanding of attack vectors and their potential.

In a world ever-more connected, everything can be tested. Here are some of the most common types of pentests:

  • Network Pentesting,
  • Wireless Network Pentesting,
  • Web Application Pentesting,
  • Mobile Application Pentesting,
  • Wifi Pentesting,
  • System Pentesting,
  • Servers Pentesting,
  • IoT Pentesting,
  • Cloud-based Application Pentesting,

But also…

  • Human/Employees can be an organization’s weakest link. To ensure that all employees aware of their risks, and to keep a company secure, Penetration Testers might be asked to perform Social Engineering tests.

Learn the basics of social engineering and how to use popular credential grabbing tools like Modlishka and SET in this webinar by The Ethical Hacker Network and Erich Kron of KnowBe4.

Needless to say, pentesting is a highly practical job! To become a Penetration Tester, you’ll need to learn the theories, methodologies, and most importantly, the hands-on techniques to carry on your tasks.

Below are some of the most important skills to get you started.

The Skills Penetration Testers Need To Succeed

To become a junior penetration tester, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of the networking basics:

  • Routing, Forwarding, TCP/IP
  • Traffic analysis with Wireshark

But also know the pentesting methodology:

  • Information gathering
  • Footprinting and scanning
  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Exploitation 
  • Reporting

And most importantly, know the most common hacking techniques and tools by heart:

  • How web attacks works
  • Basic usage of Nmap, Nessus, BurpSuite, and Metasploit
  • Understanding Buffer Overflows
  • How XSS and SQL Injection work
  • How to hack the human brain (social engineering)

Want to learn the skills and techniques mentioned above? Skip to the next part to see how you can get started.

How To Get Started?

So, you want to become a penetration tester? You might just be in luck!

In the occasion of our Beginners’ Month, we are offering the Penetration Testing Student (PTS) training course in Elite Edition for free with every enrollment in the Penetration Testing Professional (PTP) training course.

Combined together, these two of our best-selling training courses will take you from script kiddie to a more advanced and professional penetration tester level.

We pride ourselves in offering highly practical and self-paced training courses, so you’ll be able to learn new penetration testing skills and techniques from the comfort of your home, at your own pace.

By enrolling in these two courses, you’ll get lifetime access to

  • Thousands of slide course materials,
  • Hundreds of video course materials,
  • Hours of virtual labs based on real-life scenarios,
  • A shiny certificate to prove your practical skills!

Yes, that’s right! You’ll get the chance to prove your skills and become certified eLearnSecurity Junior Penetration Tester (eJPT) after completing the PTS training course and eLearnSecurity Certified Professional Penetration Tester (eCPPT) after the PTP training course.

Aspiring to become a professional Penetration Tester? Enroll in PTPv5 in Elite Edition before February 28 to receive PTS in Elite Edition at no additional cost!

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