Penetration Level Comparison Chart

Determine Your Best Penetration Testing Approach

Sometimes it’s hard to define exactly what constitutes a penetration test.

This document will guide you through the process by allowing you to compare three different levels of penetration testing.

  • The Investigative Attacker doesn’t have a lot of time, and doesn’t have a lot of tools, and may not even be targeting you specifically. He may stumble upon your external IP during a sweep and will pay you little mind unless you have an obvious security problem. Attackers that get in through a blank or default password on an administrative account are Investigative Attackers.
  • The Intentioned Attacker has more time, and a few more tools than the Investigative attacker. More importantly, she has intent. She wants to find a weakness in your network specifically. Attackers that get in by exploiting an unpatched vulnerability in an operating system or network service are Intentioned Attackers.
  • The Tenacious Attacker has time, tools, intent, and determination. He is willing to go the extra mile to make it past your defenses. He may even attempt social engineering to find a way beyond your perimeter defenses. He will do it quietly, though, and take care to go unnoticed. Attackers who convince your help desk to reset an account password for them are Tenacious Attackers.