Ethical hacking

What is a penetration testing service?

Cyber threats are continuously evolving, and attackers are becoming more sophisticated in their methods, targeting vulnerabilities in networks, systems, and applications. One essential practice that plays a pivotal role in this context is Penetration Testing.

Pen Testing or "ethical hacking", is a controlled and simulated cyberattack on a computer system, network, or application to assess its security vulnerabilities. Pen Testing service involves a team of authorized security experts/ethical hackers who use a combination of manual and automated techniques, with the consent of the organization, to identify and exploit weaknesses in a company's assets. These weaknesses can include OS/software vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, weak passwords, or the use of insecure network protocols. The difference between a Pen Test and a Vulnerability Assessment/Scan is that during a Pen Test, we will not only determine what potential vulnerabilities exist but also, we will try to exploit them to avoid false positives (intrusive).

Benefits of penetration testing services

  1. Validate Vulnerabilities: The primary objective of penetration testing is to discover and exploit vulnerabilities and security weaknesses that could be leveraged by malicious actors. This process involves attempting various attack vectors, such as exploiting software flaws, misconfigurations, or weak password policies, thus ruling out false positives.

  1. Risk Assessment: By identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities, you can have a real notion of the impact and quantify the potential risks associated with these weaknesses. This allows you to prioritize their remediation efforts and allocate resources more efficiently.

  1. Test Current Safeguards: Your organization can validate the effectiveness of the current security controls/solutions in place.

  1. Evaluate Incident Response: Penetration tests also provide an opportunity to evaluate an organization's incident response capabilities. By simulating attacks, businesses can assess how effectively their security teams respond to and mitigate threats.

  1. Stay Compliant: Many industries and regulatory frameworks require periodic penetration testing to ensure compliance with security standards. These tests help organizations meet the requirements and maintain their reputation in the market.

Castellan's 3 major approaches:

  1. Black-box testing

In black-box testing, our security experts are given no information on the system/network/application, relying only on publicly available information and whatever they can deduce. This simulates an outsider trying to break in. Black-box testing is also known as zero-knowledge or blind tests. Since the service is performed without prior information, this approach is the best option when you want the most realistic and unbiased test. It's also the best alternative if you have time constraints as it is considered the fastest Pentest service. However, because the security professionals do not have insider information on the targets, they may miss vulnerabilities.

  1. Gray-box testing

In gray-box testing, the consultants are given some information such as a user of the system/network/application, and some basic information on the architecture. This makes testing more efficient. Grey-box testing is also known as partial knowledge testing. You might want to choose grey-box testing if the company wants a higher level of efficiency and coverage because our team gets access to certain information before launching the attack.

  1. White-box testing

White-box, also known as full-knowledge, open-box or clear-box testing, is where our experts are given full access to detailed architectural documentation, source code, and/or full credentials. White-box testing is much more focused on going through the source code in detail. This simulates an insider trying to break in using the access/knowledge available to them. A white-box testing is ideal when the organization wants the most comprehensive penetration testing service and there are no time restrictions (it is the slowest approach as a large amount of information is gathered).

There are 2 perspectives for conducting penetration testing services, depending on where the consultant is performing the test:

  1. External

An external Penetration Test is a service that tests the security posture of a company's publicly facing assets from an external source such as the Internet. The assessment is performed by simulating an outside attacker attempting to enter the company's internal assets. This perspective is key as it aids in assessing vulnerabilities that could allow outsiders to gain unauthorized access to external-facing resources or even to the organization's internal network using the external resources as pivots.

  1. Internal

An internal Penetration Test service is performed from the standpoint of an internal employee or contractor with malicious intent, or an external attacker who has successfully gained privileges to the internals of the company's network. It is equally important as an external penetration test not only because of threats from internal sources but also due to the reasoning that even if an attacker were to break through from the outside, the security controls on the internal network can act as a second-tier preventing malicious attacks.


  1. Network/Infrastructure (On-Prem)

During an external network penetration test (On-Prem), we perform a series of controlled attacks on the public network infrastructure (DMZ, firewalls, routers, switches, servers, and other components) to identify and exploit security flaws/vulnerabilities.

  1. Network/Infrastructure (Cloud)

As more organizations migrate their infrastructure and services to cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), it becomes crucial to assess the security of these cloud environments to ensure data protection, compliance, and overall resilience against cyberattacks. A Cloud penetration testing service is a specialized form of network penetration test that focuses on assessing the security of cloud-based infrastructure, platforms, and services.

  1. Web Application

This Penetration testing service assesses the security of a publicly available web-based application or website. The primary goal of Web application penetration testing is to simulate real-world attacks and attempt to exploit security flaws specific to the web and not the supporting infrastructure. It involves simulated attacks on the web application to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses and their associated risks, specific to the web environment.


  1. Network/Infrastructure (On-Prem)

During an internal network penetration test (On-Prem), a series of controlled attacks are performed on the internal network (internal firewalls, switches, gateways, bridges, servers, and other components of the internal network to identify and exploit security flaws/vulnerabilities.

  1. Network/Infrastructure (Cloud)

An internal Cloud penetration testing service focuses on assessing the security of private cloud-based infrastructure, platforms, and services.

  1. Web Application

This Penetration testing service assesses the security of a web-based application or website available in the internal network of an organization. The primary goal of internal web application penetration testing remains the same: simulate real-world attacks and attempt to exploit security flaws specific to the web environment.

  1. Standalone Application

This service refers to the process of testing the security of desktop applications or programs (Java, .Net, Microsoft Silverlight, etc.). During this service, our security professionals simulate real-world attacks to identify weaknesses in the standalone application.

  1. Mobile Application

It is crucial to ensure adequate security measures are in place for mobile applications that handle sensitive data and perform critical functions. A mobile application penetration testing service is conducted to analyze a mobile application (iOS and Android) to identify flaws and misconfigurations that could lead to your data being compromised.

  1. Wireless/WiFi

Wireless penetration testing service attempts to breach the company by focusing only on exploiting the services of a company's Wi-Fi network that are available in the physical range of the wireless signal. This includes Wi-Fi networks, wireless/Bluetooth devices, cellular networks or other RF technologies.

  1. IOT

Specialized service conducted to evaluate the security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT devices are interconnected smart devices that collect, transmit, and process data over the internet. These devices can range from consumer gadgets like smart speakers and wearables to industrial sensors and critical infrastructure components.

What value can Castellan bring to your organization?

  1. Expertise: Our team consists of highly skilled and certified security professionals with extensive experience in penetration testing engagements. Their deep knowledge of cyber attacks tactics/techniques and diverse skills ensure a thorough understanding of the security landscape and enable us to provide the best recommendations and solutions.

  2. Specialized Tools: Our consultants use a combination of proprietary and industry-leading penetration testing tools. These solutions, managed and operated by specialists with an in-depth knowledge of vulnerabilities, enable us to evaluate your security posture accurately.

  3. Manual Tests: We do not rely solely on automated penetration testing tools. There are certain vulnerabilities and flaws, like business logic flaws, that only humans with the right skills can identify and exploit. Castellan's team performs manual attacks using their knowledge and skills to provide a more complete penetration test.

  4. Easy to Digest Reports: The report is as important as the Penetration test itself. We do not deliver reports autogenerated by our tools. Instead, we craft concise and customized reports that include a description of all the security deficiencies found and a quick and concrete way to solve them effectively. The report will contain two sections: an executive summary that translates technical flaws into business risks, and a technical section containing detailed results and recommendations.

  5. Personalized Approach: Castellan focuses only on Information/Cyber Security, which allows us to offer highly personalized consulting services, enabling us to build strong partnerships and work closely with you to address your specific needs and challenges. Our approach involves collaborating closely with your key staff to design a customized security service that aligns with your requirements. This ensures that our service(s) is(are) tailored to your specific needs.

  6. Staff Cost-savings: By opting for our professional services, you gain access to our team at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house security expert. This offers significant cost savings while still benefiting from the extensive knowledge and skills of our team of experts.

In an age where cyber threats are constantly evolving, the importance of Penetration Testing cannot be overstated. Penetration testing allows organizations to simulate real-world attacks and proactively identify and address vulnerabilities. This practice provides a comprehensive understanding of an organization's security posture, enabling them to prioritize their resources and efforts effectively to reduce the risk of compromise by external threats. By embracing proactive cybersecurity measures like this service, organizations can safeguard their digital frontier, protect sensitive data, and maintain the trust of their stakeholders in an increasingly interconnected world.

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