The Ultimate Guide to
Penetration Testing

Artifice Security’s professional pentesting services aim to find exploitable security flaws in systems before malicious actors do. By simulating real-world attacks, these certified cybersecurity assessments go beyond basic vulnerability scanning to reveal all kinds of security weaknesses, which can then be addressed promptly.

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Why Do I Need Pentesting Services?

In today’s world, where cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common, it has become crucial for companies to safeguard their IT infrastructure and protect their sensitive data.

While there are certainly ways to make it harder for unauthorized parties to access sensitive data, there’s no foolproof strategy for protecting your infrastructure from every single threat. At the end of the day, all companies have weak points. With professional pentesting services, businesses can identify their vulnerabilities first.

Penetration testing is a simulated cyber-attack that is conducted to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in a company’s network, applications, and systems. The primary goal of pentesting is to determine if the existing security measures are sufficient to prevent real-world cyber-attacks. When performed correctly, a cyber security pentest allows organizations to prevent breaches, ensure compliance, manage risk, test security controls, and ultimately protect their organization and reputation.

Why companies need penetration testing and the benefits it provides.

  1. Identify Vulnerabilities: Pentesting helps companies identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their IT infrastructure that attackers could exploit. By conducting a simulated cyber-attack, companies can identify potential security flaws before they are exploited by hackers.
  2. Evaluate Security Controls: Pentesting services allow companies to evaluate the effectiveness of their existing security controls. It helps companies identify areas where their security measures are insufficient and need improvement.
  3. Compliance Requirements: Many companies must comply with industry-specific regulations and standards that mandate regular penetration testing. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in hefty fines and other penalties. By conducting regular penetration testing, companies can ensure they are meeting the regulatory requirements.
  4. Mitigate Risks: Cyber security testing helps companies mitigate cyber-attack risks. By identifying vulnerabilities, companies can implement measures to fix security flaws and prevent cyber-attacks.
  5. Enhance Incident Response: Penetration testing helps companies enhance their incident response capabilities. Companies can identify gaps in their incident response procedures by conducting simulated cyber-attacks and take corrective measures to improve them.
  6. Protect Sensitive Data: Companies collect and store sensitive data that could be targeted by cybercriminals. By conducting regular pentesting, companies can ensure their data is protected and reduce the risk of data breaches.
  7. Competitive Advantage: Companies that can demonstrate that their IT infrastructure is secure have a competitive advantage in the market. Customers are more likely to trust companies that take cybersecurity seriously and are willing to invest in their security measures.
  8. Cost-Effective: Penetration testing is a cost-effective way to identify security flaws and prevent cyber-attacks. The cost of a cyber-attack could be significantly higher than the cost of conducting regular pentesting services.
  9. Prevent Business Disruption: Cyber-attacks can cause significant disruption to a company’s operations, resulting in lost productivity and revenue. By conducting regular penetration testing, companies can ensure that their IT infrastructure is secure and prevent business disruptions.
  10. Continuous Improvement: Penetration testing is not a one-time event. It should be conducted regularly to ensure the company’s IT infrastructure remains secure. Regular pen testing assessments helps companies identify new vulnerabilities that may have been introduced due to software updates or changes in the IT environment.

Key facts and statistics for cybersecurity
and cyberattacks in 2022.

As more and more businesses and organizations experience security breaches, the volume of compromised data grows each year. According to data breach statistics, hackers are highly motivated by money to obtain data, and personal information, because it is a valuable type of data to steal. It’s also clear that businesses are still unprepared despite breaches becoming more common.

We compiled data breach statistics, including industry-specific data breaches and the costs and the damages, to show how companies must be prepared and take their security more seriously.

Companies know that data breaches are expensive for their businesses and their name integrity. To assess the average data breach cost, security institutes collect both direct and indirect charges incurred by the compromised organization.

Key facts about cybersecurity in 2022.

Frequency Of Attacks

Approximately every 39 seconds
– i.e. more than once per minute
– a hacker attack occurs.

Step 01

How Long Undetected?

On average, it takes 200 days for attackers to be discovered on corporate networks – if they are noticed at all.

Step 02

Attacks From The Inside

In one out of ten cases, external and internal perpetrators are in cahoots.

Step 03

What are the costs?

Companies currently pay an average of $170,000 per attack to repair the consequences.

Step 04


Cyberattacks cause long-term re- putational damage to 89% of the companies.

Step 05

Future attacks

72% of companies plan to increase spending on cybersecurity in 2021

Step 06

According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute’s newest data breach study, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was US $4.24 million, up 10% from the average cost of $3.86 million in 2019.

In 2021 ransomware attacks cost companies worldwide well over $6 trillion, the prognosis for 2022 is not very optimistic, and most likely, that number will increase by 8-11%.

When it comes to research, IBM Security and Ponemon Institute research a lot of elements that play a role in data breach costs, including legal, regulatory, and technical efforts, brand equity loss, customer attrition, and employee productivity drain. Its conclusions are based on data from over 3,500 interviews and 537 breaches across 17 nations and 17 industries.

The main goal of their reports is to urge companies to decrease data breach costs by addressing cybersecurity threats and strengthening their entire security posture. Data protection, data security, and data breach prevention measures such as pentesting services and red team exercises will all aid in this goal.

What Is Penetration Testing?

A penetration test is a kind of cybersecurity assessment whereby safe exploits are used to analyze the security of a given infrastructure, web application, or IoT device. There are several different ways to conduct pentests from a pentesting services company, which are generally categorized by the amount of access the testers have to start. The overarching goal of penetration testing is to determine how well present defenses might perform in the face of a cyberattack and what can be done to fortify them given any looming threats.

A penetration test is a simulated cyber-attack that is conducted to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in a company’s IT infrastructure. It is also known as a pen test or ethical hacking.

The primary objective of a penetration testing services is to determine if the existing security measures are sufficient to prevent real-world cyber-attacks. The process involves using various techniques and tools to identify potential security flaws and exploit them in a controlled manner.

The penetration testing process typically consists of five phases:

  1. Planning: In the planning phase, the goals and objectives of the penetration test assessments are defined. The scope of the test is also defined, which includes the systems, applications, and networks that will be tested.
  2. Reconnaissance: In the reconnaissance phase, information is gathered about the target systems, applications, and networks. This information includes IP addresses, domain names, and other information that can be used to identify potential vulnerabilities.
  3. Scanning: In the scanning phase, automated tools are used to identify potential vulnerabilities in the target systems, applications, and networks. The tools scan for open ports, running services, and other potential vulnerabilities.
  4. Exploitation: In the exploitation phase, the identified vulnerabilities are exploited in a controlled manner. The goal is to demonstrate the impact of the vulnerabilities and determine if the existing security measures are sufficient to prevent the exploitation of the vulnerabilities.
  5. Reporting: In the reporting phase, a detailed report is prepared that outlines the penetration test findings. The report includes recommendations for remediation of the identified vulnerabilities and suggestions for improving the organization’s overall security posture.

Pentesting is an essential tool for companies to identify and remediate potential vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure. It helps companies evaluate the effectiveness of their existing security measures and identify areas that need improvement. Regular penetration testing evaluation can help companies mitigate cyber-attack risks and protect their sensitive data.

Penetration testing is typically conducted by pentesters ethical hackers with expertise in identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities. They use various techniques and tools to simulate a real-world cyber-attack and determine the effectiveness of the existing security measures.

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What Are the Different Types of Penetration Testing?

White-box Penetration Testing

This involves testing a system with complete knowledge of the system’s internal network and infrastructure. The tester is provided with access to the system’s source code, architecture, and other internal details.

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When performing white-box testing, the penetration test expert has full access to all web applications, administrator and developer knowledge, and systems. The consultant can read source code and has high-level network access.

Among other things, white-box testing looks for errors in logical flaws, potential security exposures, security configuration errors, poorly written development code, and a lack of safeguards. This assessment examines internal and external vulnerabilities from a ‘behind the scenes’ viewpoint that traditional attackers lack.

An organization might only conduct white-box testing for high-risk systems or those that process sensitive data because evaluating every system component thoroughly takes so long.

Gray-box Penetration Testing

This is a combination of black box and white box testing, where the tester is provided with some limited knowledge of the system’s internal network and infrastructure.

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With gray-box testing, the tester can request internal access from the administrators and data such as IP addresses or subnets, flowcharts of the application’s logic, or network infrastructure diagrams as well as IP addresses or subnets, flowcharts of the application’s logic, or diagrams of the network infrastructure. This access could come from a disgruntled insider or an attacker who has already breached the network’s perimeter and restricted inside access.

Starting with prior knowledge, low-level credentials, or networking knowledge enables a more streamlined and effective process. This information and limited access can save time during the reconnaissance phase, allowing consultants to focus on exploiting potential vulnerabilities in higher-risk systems rather than attempting to locate them.

Black-box Penetration Testing

This involves attempting to compromise a system without any prior knowledge of the system or its internal network. The tester is only provided with the target’s external IP address or domain name.

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Black box pentesting provides the most realistic simulation of a cyber-attack. The biggest risk is missing a vulnerability in the underlying parts of a network or application because it takes so long. Typically, real-world attackers have no time restrictions and can prepare their attack for months while they observe for the perfect opening.

Additionally, various defensive tools are accessible within networks to prevent the exploitation of current vulnerabilities. Some web browsers now offer methods for blocking attacks, even if a vulnerability persists. All that is necessary to take advantage of the vulnerability is a setting change or a connection from a different browser version.

It does not mean that a vulnerability does not exist or that your team is working to fix it only because security settings prevent it from being discovered or exploited. It only indicates that another factor is having an impact on the result. Eventually, someone with more time can take advantage of this delusion of security to fully analyze this attack surface.

Types of Penetration Testing / Our Services

external network pentesting services

External Network Penetration Testing

Our team will simulate real-world attacks using manual penetration testing techniques that go way beyond basic vulnerability scanning to determine the risks in your network. We outline your network security risks and how it affects your organization for your external and internal network.

internal network pentesting services

Internal Network Penetration Testing

Our team will simulate real-world attacks using manual penetration testing techniques that go way beyond basic vulnerability scanning to determine the risks in your network. We outline your network security risks and how it affects your organization for your external and internal network.

web application pentesting services

Web Application Penetration Testing

We go beyond OWASP’s Top 10 to assess the security of your application. We use manual penetration testing methods to find uncommon bugs missed by automated vulnerability scanners. Our security consultants leverage proprietary technologies and internal research to pinpoint deep technical vulnerabilities within your web applications and APIs.

wireless network pentesting services

Wireless Network Penetration Testing

Our expert penetration testers will breach your wireless network while showing you vulnerabilities with your wireless setup. We look for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities that can be exploited and give you a data-driven action plan to correct the flaws and remediate risk.

cloud pentesting services

Cloud Penetration Testing

We use the latest techniques and tools to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructures, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, in addition to providing you with a configuration review.

social engineering pentesting services

Social Engineering Assessments

Our company tests your organization’s susceptibility against spear-phishing emails, vishing (voice calls), or on-site physical social engineering to give you insight into where your training or technical controls lack. We use a combination of human and electronic attack vectors to simulate malicious actors targeting your organization.

mobile application pentesting services

Mobile Application Penetration Testing

Artifice Security offers deep-dive manually-performed penetration testing against your iOS and Android applications to identify weaknesses and ensure your mobile application security is working. We also perform dynamic and static analyses of your applications to certify that your code is secure.

red team pentesting services

Red Team Assessment

Artifice Security expert red teamers will simulate real-world attacks from the adversary’s perspective using an approach designed for mature security programs. The assessment includes real-world adversarial behaviors and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) that will test your organization’s detection and response capabilities.

pentesting services vulnerability scanning

Continuous Vulnerability Scanning

We can conduct continuous vulnerability scanning, which is regularly and automatically scanning a system or network for potential security weaknesses. This process is highly efficient because it allows our experts to identify vulnerabilities in an ongoing and automated manner without requiring manual intervention. Consequently, you can stay on top of potential security risks and respond quickly to new threats as soon as they emerge.

IoT pentesting services

IoT Penetration Testing

IoT testing covers a range of devices found in every industry, including mission-critical Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. We go beyond basic testing to show you vulnerabilities in interfaces and APIs, firmware, hardware, communications channels and protocols, and encryption. Our manual testing process looks for bogth known and undiscovered vulnerabilities.

pentesting services laptop

Penetration Testing Stages

All pentesting services have five stages: reconnaissance, scanning and enumeration, vulnerability analysis, exploitation, and reporting. The first four phases determine the fifth one, which should reveal the infrastructure’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the biggest security risks that the company is facing.

The stages/phases of penetration testing are as follows:

      1. Planning: The first stage of penetration testing is planning. It involves defining the scope of the test, identifying the objectives, and determining the testing methodology. The scope of the test should include the systems, applications, and networks that will be tested. The objectives should clearly define what the test will achieve. The testing methodology should describe how the test will be conducted, the tools that will be used, and the testing techniques that will be employed.
      2. Reconnaissance: The second stage of pentesting is reconnaissance. This stage involves gathering information about the target system, network, or application. The collected information may include IP addresses, domain names, open ports, and other critical information that can be used to identify potential vulnerabilities.
      3. Scanning: The third stage is scanning. In this stage, automated tools are used to identify vulnerabilities in the target system, network, or application. The tools scan for open ports, running services, and other potential vulnerabilities. The results of the scan are then analyzed to identify potential vulnerabilities.
  • Exploitation/vulnerability analysis: The fourth penetration testing stage is exploitation. In this stage, the vulnerabilities that were identified in the scanning stage are exploited in a controlled manner. The goal of this stage is to determine the impact of the vulnerabilities and to determine if the existing security measures are effective in preventing an attack.
  • Reporting: The final stage is reporting. In this stage, a detailed report is prepared outlining the penetration test findings. The report includes recommendations for remediation of the identified vulnerabilities and suggestions for improving the organization’s overall security posture.

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Penetration Testing Methods

The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging all the time. To help organizations stay on top of these risks, several frameworks and methodologies have been developed to guide security testing and risk management efforts

Companies offering pentesting services should have pentests being performed using manual methods. While automated tools are helpful in the early stages of the process, the most comprehensive reports come from a manual penetration testing. We employ automated tools such as port scanners (e.g., Nmap) and vulnerability scanners such as Nessus. However, we utilize these tools only for enumeration and then perform the penetration test manually.

Automatic tools cannot detect obvious misconfigurations, such as open file shares containing vital data or staff using weak passwords. Furthermore, automated tools cannot chain together attacks or exploit complicated vulnerabilities.

Manual penetration testing involves the consultant personally reviewing each system and exploiting vulnerabilities depending on their knowledge, experience, and circumstances. This manual method produces more meaningful findings, and you can be sure there will be no false positives because each exploitation will be accompanied by a proof-of-concept.

pentesting services methods

It is also very important to use Standardized Penetration Testing Methodologies. Companies typically rely on these standardized penetration testing methods: OWASP, OSSTMM, ISSAF, PTES, and NIST.

  1. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is best known for its OWASP Top Ten Project, which is a list of the top ten most critical web application security risks. The current list includes injection, broken authentication, and cross-site scripting risks. OWASP provides tools, techniques, and technologies for vulnerability testing and risk assessment.
  2. The Open-Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM) provides a structured approach to security testing, including penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, social engineering testing, and wireless penetration testing. The OSSTMM is divided into several sections, covering topics such as information security governance, operational security, physical security, human security, and technical security.
  3. The Information System Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF) is a comprehensive security testing framework that provides guidelines for conducting security assessments on different types of systems and applications. The ISSAF framework is divided into several phases: reconnaissance, scanning, enumeration, vulnerability assessment, exploitation, post-exploitation, and reporting.
  4. The Penetration Testing Methodologies and Standards (PTES) framework provides a standardized approach to penetration testing, including pre-engagement interactions, intelligence gathering, threat modeling, vulnerability analysis, exploitation, post-exploitation, and reporting.
  5. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines, and best practices organizations can use to improve their cybersecurity posture. The framework is based on a core set of five functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

These frameworks and methodologies offer a unique approach to security testing and risk management. Some focus on specific areas, such as web application security (OWASP), while others cover a wide range of security testing methodologies (OSSTMM, ISSAF, PTES). On the other hand, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework offers a holistic approach to cybersecurity, focusing on risk management and continuous improvement. When searching for pentesting services for your company, ensure the organization is using a trusted pentesting framework.

Why Is Pentesting Important?


Identifies Vulnerabilities

Our pentesting services help identify vulnerabilities that may be related to software, hardware, network configurations, or even human weaknesses. Once any such gaps are found, they can be bridged before a malicious actor takes advantage of them.


Ensures Compliance

Pentesting services are required across a host of industries to meet compliance standards. By performing these comprehensive assessments, organizations can take measures to mitigate risk and ultimately protect sensitive data.


Protects Reputation

A cyberattack that results in a data breach can tarnish a company’s reputation, costing them significantly in the long run. With regular pentesting services, businesses can address vulnerabilities before they’re exploited, thereby maintaining their customers’ trust.

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How Often Should You Conduct Pentests?

In today’s rapidly changing technological landscape, agility is a competitive advantage in business innovation. So, how frequently should you conduct penetration testing (pentests) against your systems for them to be effective?

Because malicious actors always find new ways to infiltrate systems and obtain sensitive data, pentesting is not a one-and-done strategy. As such, organizations should make an effort to conduct penetration testing assessment regularly, especially if the company makes changes to its web application or to its network.

The experts advise businesses to perform a pentest at least once a year to ensure they stay on top of emerging vulnerabilities. However, companies with an especially high risk of a breach may consider conducting tests more frequently.

Performing ethical hacking, which involves manually testing your security systems from a hacker’s perspective, is one of the most effective ways to manage security risks. This is so important that some industries have made it a regulation or provided guidelines to follow, such as the payment card industry, which may require pentests once or twice a year. But is this enough to significantly reduce security risks and achieve the expected ROI?

The frequency of conducting penetration testing (pentesting) depends on various factors, including the organization’s size, industry, and regulatory requirements. However, it is generally recommended to conduct pentesting at least once a year, if not more frequently.

One of the main reasons for conducting pentesting services regularly is that cyber threats and vulnerabilities are constantly evolving. New vulnerabilities are constantly discovered, and attackers are constantly developing new methods to exploit these vulnerabilities. By conducting pentesting regularly, organizations can stay up to date on the latest threats and vulnerabilities and identify potential weaknesses before attackers can exploit them.

Frequently conducted penetration tests also helps organizations comply with regulatory requirements. Many regulations and standards, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA, require regular penetration testing as part of their compliance requirements. Failing to do regular pentesting can result in penalties, fines, and even loss of business.

Another important factor to consider when determining the frequency of this type of security assessment is the rate of change within the organization’s IT infrastructure. If the organization is rapidly expanding or deploying new systems, applications, or devices, it is recommended to conduct penetration testing more frequently to ensure that new vulnerabilities are not introduced.

Finally, the frequency of pentesting should also consider the criticality of the systems and data being tested. High-risk systems and data, such as those related to financial transactions or sensitive customer information, should be tested more frequently to ensure they are adequately protected.

Who Performs
Penetration Tests?

Penetration testers are skilled professionals with expertise in various areas, such as networking, application development, and security. Organizations may have an in-house team of ethical hackers or outsource this function to a third-party vendor. Third-party vendors offer specialized expertise and experience that an in-house team may not possess, and outsourcing can be cost-effective as it avoids hiring and training an in-house team.

An IT certification is a recognized benchmark based on standardized testing translated to a specific skill set. At Artifice Security, our consultants have a vast array of certifications that make them well-rounded. Below are the collective certifications held by team members at Artifice Security:

  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) is highly regarded in the industry and considered one of the more challenging certifications.
  • Offensive Security Certified Expert (OSCE) is an advanced-level certification offered by Offensive Security that focuses on exploit development.
  • Offensive Security Web Expert (OSWE) requires candidates to pass a rigorous 48-hour hands-on exam that tests their knowledge and practical skills in web application penetration testing, vulnerability discovery, and exploit development. Offensive Security Exploitation Expert (OSEE) is the hardest course Offensive Security offers, with the test being 72 hours long and focusing on advanced Windows exploitation techniques.
  • The GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN) covers vulnerability scanning, web application testing, and network exploitation topics.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a widely recognized standard in the industry and covers a broad range of cybersecurity topics such as access control, cryptography, and security operations.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is one of the most popular certifications for ethical hacking, and Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) is a follow-up to the CEH certification and focuses on the practical application of ethical hacking techniques. CompTIA Security+ validates the fundamental skills required to perform core security functions and advance your career in IT security.
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Specialization in Security (MCSE+S), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), and Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert are a collection of multiple Microsoft certifications and tests that demonstrate core skills.
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) is accountable for implementing, managing, and resolving issues pertaining to enterprise-level local and wide area networks.
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) has the knowledge, skills, and ability required of administrators responsible for Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect demonstrates expertise in AWS technology across various AWS services, and AWS Certified Security assists organizations in identifying and developing personnel with crucial abilities for implementing cloud initiatives.
  • CREST (Council of Registered Security Testers) is a non-profit organization established in the United Kingdom that was founded in reaction to unregulated penetration vulnerability testing.
  • Burp Suite Certified Practitioner (BSCP) is an official certification for web security experts offered by the Burp Suite developers.
  • National Security Agency INFOSEC, Assessment Methodology (NSA IAM) and National Security Agency INFOSEC Evaluation Methodology (NSA IEM) present the methodologies used by the National Security Agency when conducting information security evaluation on organizations.

While these certifications can demonstrate expertise and help stand out in the field of penetration testing, it’s important to remember that certifications alone are not enough to make a skilled penetration tester. Developing real-world experience and continuously updating skills are necessary to stay ahead of the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Penetration testing is an ongoing process requiring regular testing to ensure the system or application remains secure.

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What Should You Do After Penetration Testing?

Once the pentest is complete, the real work begins. Based on the findings in the report and the order of criticality listed for each finding, the company should devise a strategy for addressing each vulnerability that was revealed. After all, fortifying their infrastructure against cyberattacks was the purpose of conducting the assessment in the first place.

However, it’s important to note that pen testing is just the first step in the overall security improvement process. Once the pen testing is complete, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to address the vulnerabilities that have been identified.

The following are some important steps that an organization should take after a penetration testing assessment:

  1. Review the results: The first step is to carefully review the results of the penetration testing. The organization should understand the vulnerabilities that were identified and their severity, as well as the potential impact that these vulnerabilities could have on their systems and data.
  2. Prioritize remediation: Once the vulnerabilities have been identified, the organization should prioritize which ones to address first based on their severity and potential impact. The pen test report will prioritize findings based on criticality. Still, it is up to the organization overall to make the priority based on its manpower, resources, and current systems in place.
  3. Develop a remediation plan: The next step is to develop a plan to address the vulnerabilities that have been identified. The plan should include specific steps to be taken to address each vulnerability, timelines for completion, and assigned responsibilities.
  4. Implement remediation: The organization should then begin implementing the remediation plan. This may involve patching software, updating configurations, or even replacing hardware.
  5. Retest: After implementing the remediation plan, it’s important to retest the systems to ensure the vulnerabilities have been addressed. This may involve conducting another round of penetration testing or vulnerability scanning.
  6. Monitor and maintain: Once the systems have been secured, the organization should continue to monitor and maintain its security posture. This may involve ongoing vulnerability scanning, periodic cyber security penetration testing, and regular security training for employees.

How Does Pentesting Help with Compliance?

Penetration testing service plays a crucial role in helping organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements. Regulatory compliance refers to the rules and guidelines that organizations must follow to protect sensitive data, such as personal or financial information. Some of the major regulatory compliance frameworks that organizations need to comply with include the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

There are a number of regulatory compliance standards that require organizations in certain industries to perform audits or assessments, however there are also a host of mandates that don’t mention pentesting specifically but expect organizations to perform a risk analysis. As long as you turn to a reputable tester, they should be able to help you ensure compliance on all fronts.

Pentesting analysis is a crucial aspect of these compliance frameworks as it helps organizations identify and address security vulnerabilities that could lead to a data breach. For example, PCI DSS requires organizations that handle credit card information to conduct regular penetration tests to identify and address any security weaknesses in their systems. Similarly, HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to conduct periodic vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information (ePHI).

By conducting regular penetration testing, organizations can ensure that they comply with regulatory requirements and minimize the risk of a data breach. Additionally, pentesting can also help organizations demonstrate due diligence in protecting sensitive data and avoiding regulatory fines and legal action.

Pentesting can also help organizations identify gaps in their security policies and procedures. By thoroughly evaluating their security posture, organizations can gain insights into their overall security maturity and identify areas where they need to improve. This information can be used to develop and refine security policies and procedures to ensure that they align with industry best practices and regulatory requirements.

How Are Exploits Used in Pentesting?

Pentests are designed to find as many security flaws as possible. Once a vulnerability is identified, the consultant will determine how attackers could exploit it. This will provide a way forward because the company can then use that information to bolster its system’s security and keep attackers out.

Exploits are commonly used in penetration testing (pentesting) to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems or networks. Exploits are a crucial tool in this process, as they can be used to demonstrate the impact of a vulnerability and provide proof of concept.

The consultants performing the ethical hacking will use safe exploits that will not cause an outage or use Denial-of-Service (DoS) exploits. Each exploit is carefully cataloged, and each system is cleaned of any exploits before ending the pentest.

Here are some ways in which exploits are used in pentesting:

  1. Vulnerability identification: Exploits can be used to identify vulnerabilities in software or systems. By exploiting a known vulnerability, pentesters can determine if a particular system or software is vulnerable to attack.
  2. Verification of vulnerabilities: Once a vulnerability has been identified, penetration testing consultants can use exploits to verify that the vulnerability can be exploited. This is important because not all vulnerabilities are exploitable.
  3. Demonstration of impact: Exploits can be used to demonstrate the potential impact of a vulnerability. For example, a SQL injection vulnerability could be exploited to extract sensitive information from a database. By demonstrating the impact of the vulnerability, pentesters can help organizations prioritize remediation efforts.
  4. Testing of mitigations: Exploits can be used to test the effectiveness of mitigations that have been implemented to address vulnerabilities. By attempting to exploit a vulnerability that has been mitigated, this type of assessment can determine if the mitigation is effective or if additional measures need to be taken.

What Is the Difference Between a Pentest
and a Vulnerability Assessment?

A penetration test (pentest) and a vulnerability assessment are important components of a comprehensive security assessment, but they differ in scope, methodology, and goals.

A vulnerability assessment is a process of identifying and prioritizing security vulnerabilities in a system, network, or application. The goal of a vulnerability assessment is to provide a comprehensive list of security weaknesses and recommendations for remediation. Vulnerability assessments typically involve automated tools that scan the target system or network for known vulnerabilities, such as outdated software versions, configuration errors, or weak passwords. A vulnerability assessment is usually a less invasive and less comprehensive process than a pentest and often does not involve the exploitation of vulnerabilities.

On the other hand, a penetration test is a simulated attack on a system or network to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. The goal of a pentest is to simulate a real-world attack and test the effectiveness of a system’s security controls. Penetration testing involves a more comprehensive and thorough approach to identifying vulnerabilities than a vulnerability assessment. It typically involves manual testing and exploitation of vulnerabilities that cannot be detected by automated tools alone. When doing manual penetration testing, the consultant manually examines each system and takes advantage of flaws based on the consultant’s expertise, experience, and circumstances. Since each exploitation will have a proof-of-concept to go along with it, using manual methods produces more significant results that are more significant and eliminates false positives.

A pentest often involves using exploitation techniques to gain access to sensitive data, escalate privileges, or compromise systems. If you are interested in pentesting services, contact Artifice Security today!

Red Team Penetration Test

Red team pentesting is an important tool for organizations looking to improve their security posture and identify vulnerabilities that may be missed during regular penetration testing. A red team test provides a comprehensive view of an organization’s security defenses by simulating a real-world attack. It can help identify weaknesses in incident response planning, network segmentation, access control, and other security controls.

The main difference between a red team penetration test and a regular penetration test is that the former is designed to test an organization’s overall security posture, including its detection and response capabilities. At the same time, the latter is focused on identifying and exploiting specific vulnerabilities.

Red team pentesting is an important tool for organizations looking to improve their security posture and identify vulnerabilities that may be missed during regular penetration testing. A red team test provides a comprehensive view of an organization’s security defenses by simulating a real-world attack. It can help identify weaknesses in incident response planning, network segmentation, access control, and other security controls.

The main difference between a red team penetration test and regular pentesting services is that the former is designed to test an organization’s overall security posture, including its detection and response capabilities. At the same time, the latter is focused on identifying and exploiting specific vulnerabilities.

pentesting services red team

Advantages Of A Red Team Penetration Test:

  1. Comprehensive testing: A red team test is a comprehensive approach to testing an organization’s security posture. It provides a realistic view of how an attacker might penetrate an organization’s systems and infrastructure.
  2. Testing of defenses: A red team test allows an organization to test its defenses against a sophisticated, multi-stage attack. This includes testing incident response plans, network segmentation, access control, and other security controls.
  3. Identification of weaknesses: A red team test can identify weaknesses and gaps in an organization’s security posture that may not be uncovered through a regular penetration test. This can help an organization to prioritize security investments and improvements.

Disadvantages Of A Red Team Penetration Test:

  1. Cost: A red team test can be more expensive than a regular penetration test due to the complexity and duration of the testing.
  2. Risk: A red team pentest carries a greater risk of disruption to an organization’s operations than a regular penetration test. It is important to carefully plan and coordinate a red team test to minimize this risk.

When To Conduct A Red Team Penetration Test?

A red team penetration test is typically conducted after an organization has undergone a vulnerability assessment and regular penetration tests. It is recommended for organizations that require a higher level of security testing and want to ensure that their security defenses are effective against advanced and persistent threats. A red team test should be conducted periodically to ensure an organization’s security posture remains strong and up-to-date.

how often are pentesting services conducted

How Are Penetration Tests Conducted?

Taking a manual approach to penetration testing yields the most comprehensive reports. While consultants might use automated tools in the initial reconnaissance stage for enumeration, they perform most of the analysis by hand. Only by manually reviewing each system from all angles and then exploiting the vulnerabilities can they guarantee no false positives and a proof-of-concept for every flaw.

Manual penetration testing involves a series of steps, including:

  1. Reconnaissance: This involves gathering information about the target system or network, such as its IP address range, domain names, and network topology. This can be done using various tools, including network scanning tools, search engines, and social media.
  2. Vulnerability scanning: This involves using automated tools to scan the target system or network for known vulnerabilities, such as outdated software versions, configuration errors, or weak passwords.
  3. Exploitation: This involves exploiting identified vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to the target system or network. This may involve using custom exploits or modifying existing ones to bypass security controls.
  4. Privilege escalation: Once access has been gained, the penetration tester will attempt to escalate their privileges to gain access to sensitive data or resources. This may involve exploiting vulnerabilities in the system or network, such as misconfigured permissions or weak access control mechanisms.
  5. Reporting: Once the testing is complete, the penetration tester will prepare a report detailing the identified vulnerabilities, the methods used to exploit them, and recommendations for remediation.

Manual penetration testing is typically performed by experienced security professionals who deeply understand the underlying technologies and security controls in the target system or network. It is a time-intensive and resource-intensive process, but it can provide more comprehensive results than automated vulnerability scanning tools alone. Manual penetration testing can be conducted using various tools, including command-line tools, network sniffers, and specialized penetration testing frameworks. It is important to follow industry best practices and ethical guidelines when conducting manual penetration testing to avoid causing damage or disruption to the target system or network. When searching for pentesting services companies, ensure they use manual penetration testing.

Why manual penetration testing is so important?

Manual penetration testing is important for several reasons:


  1. Mimics Real-World Attack Scenarios: It allows security professionals to simulate the methods and techniques used by real-world attackers, including social engineering, targeted attacks, and advanced persistent threats. This helps organizations to identify vulnerabilities and gaps in their security posture that automated tools may not detect.
  2. Identifies Complex Vulnerabilities: Automated tools can only identify known and cataloged vulnerabilities in their databases. On the other hand, manual penetration testing can identify complex vulnerabilities that are not easily detectable by automated tools, such as logic flaws, design flaws, and business process vulnerabilities.
  3. Provides Contextualized Results: This type of testing provides contextualized results that consider the specific environment, technology stack, and business processes of the target organization. This helps organizations prioritize and address vulnerabilities based on their potential impact on business operations and assets.
  4. Offers a Human Touch: Manual penetration testing provides a human touch that automated tools cannot replicate. It allows security professionals to apply their expertise, creativity, and intuition to identify vulnerabilities and craft customized attacks that are tailored to the target environment.
  5. Enhances Overall Security Posture: It can help organizations to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their security posture and take proactive steps to remediate them. This can help organizations to improve their overall security posture and reduce the risk of data breaches and cyber attacks.

Tools for Penetration Testing

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pentesting services metasploit

Metasploit Framework

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pentesting services burpsuite pro

BurpSuite Pro

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pentesting services bloodhound


pentesting services responder


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pentesting services aircrack


pentesting services hashcat


How to Choose the Best Penetration
Testing Company for Your Organization

You’re putting a lot of faith in your penetration tester, so it’s imperative to choose the right one. Look for a company that employs consultants who have extensive experience in the IT field and are well-versed in cybersecurity. As a consultant needs to find vulnerabilities that network administrators and web developers miss, having a consultant with a solid IT background and not just an IT security focused background is critical. You also want a firm that is honest and transparent about their methods and handles any and all sensitive data they end up acquiring as if it were their own. Finally, make sure they are familiar with your industry, including all the regulatory standards that might apply.

Choosing the best pentesting services company be a challenging task. Still, it is a critical decision that can have a significant impact on the security of your organization. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a penetration testing company:

  1. Experience and Expertise: Look for a pentesting services company that has a proven track record of conducting successful penetration testing engagements for organizations that are similar in size and complexity to your own. Check the company’s website, online reviews, and references to verify their experience and expertise in the field.
  2. Certifications: Look for a company that is certified by recognized organizations, OSCP, OSCE, CompTIA Security+ and others. This demonstrates that the company adheres to industry best practices and follows ethical penetration testing guidelines.
  3. Methodology and Approach: Look for a company with a well-defined methodology and approach for pen testing. The pentesting services company should be able to explain its methodology in detail and how it will be applied to your organization’s specific environment.

4. Reporting and Recommendations: Look for a pentesting services company that provides clear, concise, and actionable reports that identify vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for remediation. The company should be able to explain its findings and recommendations in a way that is easy to understand and prioritize. Ask for a sample report.

5. Communication and Collaboration: Look for a company that values communication and collaboration throughout the engagement. The company should be responsive to your questions and concerns and should provide regular updates on the progress of the engagement.

6. Cost and Value: Look for a company that provides a fair and transparent pricing structure and offers good value for your investment. The company should be able to explain its pricing model and provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with the engagement.

In addition to these criteria, it may also be helpful to consider factors such as the size and scope of the company, the availability of specialized expertise, and the quality of customer support and follow-up.

Ultimately, the best penetration testing services company for your organization will depend on your specific needs and requirements. It may be helpful to conduct research, review case studies, and speak with references and industry experts to find a company that is the right fit for your organization.

Why Artifice Security Is Your Best Choice?

Artifice Security is a top-rated pentesting services company that will work with you to strengthen your security posture.


Composed of experts across various industries, our highly trained cybersecurity team has worked with clients in technology, energy, education, financial services, the public sector, and the government.

We understand the complexities of IT infrastructure and are proud to serve as leaders in our field.

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  1. A strong track record of experience and expertise in conducting successful penetration testing engagements for organizations from Fortune 500 companies and Government Agencies to Small and Medium business.
  2. Relevant certifications such as listed below, to ensure that they follow industry best practices and ethical guidelines.
    • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
    • Offensive Security Certified Expert (OSCE)
    • Offensive Security Web Expert (OSWE)
    • Offensive Security Exploitation Expert (OSEE)
    • GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)
    • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    • Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)
    • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
    • CompTIA Security+
    • Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA)
    • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Specialization in Security (MCSE+S)
    • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
    • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
    • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
    • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
    • AWS Certified Solutions Architect
    • AWS Certified Security
    • Burp Suite Certified Practitioner (BSCP)
    • National Security Agency INFOSEC Assessment Methodology (NSA IAM)
    • National Security Agency INFOSEC Evaluation Methodology (NSA IEM)
  3. A well-defined methodology and approach for conducting penetration testing that is tailored to your organization’s specific environment.
  4. All employees are US based senior IT specialists with many years of not only security experience, but IT experience.
  5. Uses Artifice Security’s Manually Performed Penetration Testing (MPPT) methods instead of relying on automated scans.
  6. Clear, concise, and actionable reporting that identifies vulnerabilities and provides recommendations for remediation.
  7. Responsive communication and collaboration throughout the engagement, with regular updates on progress and open communication channels for questions and concerns.
  8. A fair and transparent pricing structure that offers good value for your investment.

Our Mission

Artifice Security provides professional and reliable pentesting services to clients in various industries, with a focus on identifying and mitigating security risks in their systems and networks. As a veteran-owned company, Artifice Security supports and empowers fellow veterans through job opportunities and community outreach.

Our company’s core values are honesty, integrity, competence, and experience. These values guide your team in every aspect of the business, from how they interact with clients and each other to the quality of their work.

Honesty is a fundamental value that ensures transparency and truthfulness in all business interactions. It fosters trust with clients and colleagues, and it allows your team to openly communicate any issues or concerns that may arise.

Integrity is about doing what is right, even when no one is watching. It means maintaining high ethical standards in all business practices, treating clients and colleagues with respect, and adhering to all laws and regulations.

Competence is essential for providing high-quality penetration testing services. It means having the technical knowledge and skills to assess and identify security risks in complex systems and networks. It also means continuously learning and staying up-to-date with the latest industry developments and best practices.

Experience is a key factor in providing exceptional services to clients. It means having a team of experienced professionals who have worked on a variety of projects and can bring that knowledge and expertise to each new engagement. It also means leveraging past successes and failures to continuously improve the company’s processes and services.

Frequently Asked Questions


Like most IT services, the cost of conducting a pentest depends on a variety of factors. Examples include the number of IP addresses on the system, the number of employees who will be involved in any social engineering assessments, and the complexity of the network’s applications. Assessments typically start at $5,000 and increase from there based on the variables mentioned above. It’s not uncommon, however, for incredibly expansive projects to cost six figures.


At Artifice Security, we never use Denial-of-Service tools, nor do we create traffic that will impede the client’s regular business traffic. That means you don’t have to worry about operations being hindered while we work.


The report that your assessment yields will contain an executive summary of the results, including both strengths and weaknesses found within the infrastructure. It will also provide actionable takeaways regarding security controls while explaining the organization’s overall risk to cyberthreats in layman’s terms. Finally, each vulnerability will be described in detail, starting with the most critical ones. They will be accompanied by proof-of-concept examples, as well as remediation steps so your team can address them.


Because of the nature of penetration testing and the amount of access it grants, those conducting the assessments must have clean records. At Artifice Security, all our employees undergo a rigorous screening process and pass a criminal background check. Moreover, many of our testers were in the military or have worked for the government and have held top-secret security clearances.


There’s no standard timeline for completing a penetration test. Much like the total cost, the duration will depend on a variety of factors. Engagements can last for as short as one week, or they can extend for several months (or longer). Regardless of the scope of the assessment, however, the tester should keep you in the know every step of the way.


Wireless Penetration Test: Securing Your Network

Wireless Penetration Test: Securing Your Network

In today's digital age, businesses rely heavily on wireless technology to run their operations. While the convenience of wireless networks is undeniable, they also come with their fair share of risks. Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities in wireless networks to...

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