Skill Set Required for Every Successful Penetration Tester
It is being widely discussed what penetration testing is and what can be it’s best practices. But why is it not commonly discussed that what sort of skill set is required for a successful penetration tester? Just like having knowledge about medicine and medical treatment tools is necessary for doctors, likewise a proper mindset and technical abilities are a requirement to be a tester.
In order to be an expert in any specific field, some prerequisites are very essential. Penetration testers are curious and eager to know how the system works. Although many technicians have a solid technical understanding of information systems, they often lack an essential feature of good penetration testers: hacker mindset.
The purpose of the testers is to exploit vulnerabilities in order to break into the computer system and record in the report how they achieved their goals, so that customers can take measures to remedy the vulnerabilities found. Adding more to the goals of pen testers, to assist organizations in protecting them against the cyber threats involved while identifying the loopholes which can be exploited by the hackers to damage the organization’s system.
That’s why many organizations today engage the services of professional pen testers from reputed penetration testing companies to ensure their system’s security.
Some of the skills which pen testers must possess are discussed under;
Strong grip on Operating systems and Networks
Imagining the personality of an Information Technology person without having prior knowledge about networks and systems, does not seem nice. People pursuing their career in the field of penetration testing must be having a deep knowledge about networks and different operating systems, this would make them a credible and potential testing resource.
Up-to-date with modern technological trends
The only thing that is constant on this globe is change, everything else is variable. The same implies penetration testing. Learning new technologies is one thing, and constantly updating knowledge is another. Every new challenge or project is a learning opportunity that knocks at your door, if you want to close the door then remember that you are at high risk of failure, whereas if you remain open the door then success will itself bow at you.
Analytical and meticulous
It is impossible for the two infrastructures to be identical. Excellent and smooth flow of tools and methods on one system may not produce satisfactory results on another system. Every environment is different and must be handled in an orderly manner. Excellent penetration testers can jump out of their minds and work without hesitation in unprecedented ways; just like real attackers in the real world.
Likes to tackle challenges
The most powerful hacker is unpredictable. Excellent penetration testers adopt the same mentality. Although it is a good idea to use a set of tools and methods, skilled penetration testers will not fall into that inefficient problem, and will quickly change strategies as needed.
Successful pen testers will analyse every problem they may go through, without sparing any effort, including why certain parameters are missing and how to put them into puzzles after finding them.
It is the job of a penetration tester that he/she must be able to communicate at all levels. Also listening skills are required in order to understand what are the requirements of the business.
Social Engineering Skills
This is where information gathering comes into play again. In many cases, just call the organization and ask them. But before you do this, you must know about the target’s information.
The excuse involves creating artificial scenes to allow the target organization to interact with you, thereby increasing the chance of a successful attack. Phishing is another common method of social engineering.
The most successful people in the cybersecurity world are also the most enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm for penetration testing, network security and information security will inspire a pentester who wants to learn more and delve into the core of any problem and provide customized solutions for the organization.
Summarizing it all, good penetration testers are smart, cunning, creative, keen, enthusiastic, excellent communicators, they pay great attention to details and possess good enough social engineering skills.
Here’s a friendly advice, if you want to hire a penetration tester then consider these characteristics as a key criteria for selection. If you want to conduct penetration testing, it is important to remember that the most comprehensive skills are the most advanced.