Cybercrime is increasing at a fast pace resulting in an increase in online threats. It is getting more and more difficult to defend the systems against sophisticated cyberattacks. Therefore, it has become important to hire skilled pentesters who have the skills to close security gaps. The gap between vacancies and the current availability of penetration testers has also become evident in this demand. This is the right time for an aspiring cybersecurity professional to start learning these skills and be job-ready.
A penetration tester must master the specific set of skills to discover all the infrastructure’s critical weaknesses and provide solutions. These essential skills will help you understand how devices, networks, and operating systems function, giving you an in-depth idea to figure out the exploits. This blog talks about the penetration testing skills required to succeed in their profession as demanded by the organization.
Important Skill Sets Important for Penetration Testers
Different employers have different requirements for penetration testers. These requirements often vary depending on the nature and scale of the business. But there are a few essential skills that remain the same doesn’t matter where you are applying for the position. Here are six of the important ones.
Going beyond tool suites to find vulnerabilities and exploits
Penetration testers use automated tools to expose vulnerabilities. Different tools are used for various purposes, and the use depends on the type, format, and requirement of a test. Pentesters use tools such as port scanners, vulnerability scanners, network sniffers, web proxy, password crackers, etc. A penetration tester must be skilled to use the pentesting tools efficiently and pinpoint the vulnerabilities.
However, pentesting is more than using automated tools to figure out vulnerabilities in the entire infrastructure. A penetration tester is required to have the skill to figure out exploits beyond the automated tool’s reports. As a pentesting professional, you must have in-depth knowledge about the output, detailed analysis, and the specifics not reported in the test results. Going beyond the reports from penetration testing tools and coming up with additional analysis is an important penetration testing skill.
Understanding secure web communications
Penetration testers should have the skills to understand web communications such as:
- Registering for a web domain name
- Applying the web domain name to a cloud-IP address
- Generating secured certifications for the domain
- Using the certificates to establish secured web communication
Moreover, penetration testers must know web applications and web technologies. The penetration tester must be able to understand the structure and working of these web applications. You should also know how information is gathered from other modules and how hackers can exploit them while carrying out web application penetration testing.
proficiency in command-line scripting
Command-line is widely used among both cybercriminals and penetration testers. Many testing tools are based on command-line as the results are outstanding. You should be comfortable with DOS, terminal, or shell scripting. Command-line scripting provides faster management of specific tasks and provides greater control over the operating system functionalities. Various command-line tools will help you run tests effectively and efficiently. This is why the penetration tester is expected to know how to write DOS Batch or PowerShell scripts.
Mastering OS Concepts
You should be well versed with operating systems concepts. There is an inclination towards using Linux in the pentesting and hacking world. But you’ll also find various options such as Ubuntu, Mint, Kali, or Fedora that many experienced pentesters use as the primary OS. It allows the pentester to understand an OS and its functionalities. The pentesters should know their way around the operating systems to understand how vulnerabilities and exploits can affect the design and network. The basic knowledge of Linux and Unix file permissions will help in spotting the file permission weakness.
A penetration tester is not always expected to know how to write productive code. However, if it is a part of your skill, then it will probably save you a lot of time. Common languages a penetration tester should know are Python, Perl, PowerShell, and Bash. The ability to modify and format the code will also help you build an operational structure that enhances the assessment process and eases the testing. Most employers and experienced penetration testing certification institutes give time to learn to code, but it slows down your progress.
Coding ability means that you can write tools, automate activities, and be far more efficient in your tasks. You’ll also complete your penetration testing certificate course faster than your peers, which will also play an important role in shaping your career.
Efficient Report Writing
Report writing is a non-technical skill but is very crucial for advanced penetration testing. The penetration testers are expected to jot down the report of the assessment testing, its process, results, potential solutions, etc. Your employers or clients will expect you to write a report detailing everything in a more straightforward and non-technical manner. The pentester must convey the entire process clearly without creating any confusion for the team members or the client.
These are the top 6 vital skills required that will help you excel as a penetration tester and find a desirable job. It is important to note that the institution from where you obtain your penetration testing certificate will also play a great role in making you a desirable candidate for the given job position. Always make sure that while researching for the certification, you go with the entity with long-term experience with the course. You can also check out platforms like LinkedIn for reviews and testimonials to understand the organization’s credibility.
About EC-Council’s Certified Penetration Testing Professional
EC-Council’s Certified Penetration Testing Professional (CPENT) is a certification course that provides pentesting training beyond automated tools. It is a unique certification program where you will attain two certifications with just one exam. It provides various training options, and its hands-on training method will enable you to get all the skills required for advanced penetration testing.
What makes CPENT a versatile penetration testing certification is that it targets real job-focused competencies rather than taking an all-purpose IT security approach.
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How many phases are there in penetration testing?
There are 6 phases in which penetration testing is conducted. They are as follows:
- Pre-engagement interactions
- Reconnaissance or OSINT
- Threat modeling & vulnerabilities identification
Read more: A Complete Guide to The Six Phases of Penetration Testing
What are the common mistakes made by pentesters?
Below mentioned are the common penetration testing mistakes made by pentesters:
- Applying inadequate tools
- Not using proper authentication
- Failure to prioritize risks
- Using outdated tools
- Results can be misleading
Read more: 5 Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced Penetration Testers