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    What Is Penetration Testing?

    Penetration Testing

    A penetration test, also referred to as pen-testing, is a simulated cyber threat that is carried out in order to detect vulnerabilities within an IT infrastructure. These vulnerabilities can exist in applications and operating systems and can be a result of faulty network or security configurations, or as a result of improper end-user behavior. 

    Usually, these assessments prove to be extremely useful in validating the efficiency of any defensive framework. They are typically carried out using a mix of automated and manual techniques with the aim of identifying possible weaknesses. 

    Comprehensive pen-testing includes multiple stages - from bypassing antivirus defenses to gathering information, followed by scanning, detecting, and covering tracks. At the end of the process, all security gaps are analyzed and monitored from that point forward. 

    Why It Is Important

    Pen-Testing is an invaluable part of the cybersecurity landscape for many reasons, including:

    • It helps companies mitigate risks before they arise by determining weaknesses in infrastructure - both on the hardware and software levels.
    • It ensures that security vulnerabilities have been fixed and that required measures have been implemented effectively, thus increasing reliability.
    • It complies with IT regulations and demonstrates an act of good faith when it comes to protecting a customer’s privacy and information.

    Two Testing Methods

    Usually, there are three types of penetration testing - black box, white box, and gray box. However, the first two are more prevalent than the third one.

    • Black Box Testing - Using this type of testing method, the company does not provide any information to pen-testers or ethical hackers. This type of test simulates a real-world attack, therefore, the person involved in testing needs to gather information about the company from scratch using the Internet, social media, or other options.
    • White Box Testing - In this type of testing, the pen-testers are provided with every bit of relevant information including the source code of the product. This makes it easier for testers to identify and simulate the exploitation of vulnerabilities. This method is cost-efficient as it saves time for all involved parties.

    How To Bypass Antivirus For Pen-Testing

    Antivirus software is there to protect a user’s devices and networks. When pen-testing is carried out, this protective software does its job and thwarts attacks; simulated or otherwise.
    In order to get genuine results, pen-testers need to bypass the installed antivirus applications. Although this can be challenging and there is no standard method in place that works efficiently for all antiviruses, there are quite a few ways to get past this barrier:

    • Using Hex Editors & File Splitters - By using this technique, testers can identify the exact signature used by the antivirus application to detect the threat and modify it. It can be achieved by using a file-splitting tool to split the binary codes into multiple parts where each new part is larger than the previous split. Once done, a scan needs to be run repeatedly on all parts to figure out which parts are flagged. Then, the testers would modify it and save the modified binary code to bypass detection.
    • Veil-Evasion - Ideally written in Python, this framework is used to generate multiple payloads to bypass most of the available antivirus applications. This tool can be downloaded from the official website and executed using designated commands. Once done, testers will have a varied set of payloads to use by running simple commands.
    • Hyperion - This tool relies on binary encryption to obfuscate all available binary from antivirus tools. Kali Linux offers an inbuilt open-source encryptor named Hyperion that allows testers to encrypt the code easily. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit portable executable files and is mostly placed in the /usr/local/bin location for testing purposes. The tool auto-encrypts binary and rolls back to the decrypted binary once the code is run, thus evading detection of the simulated threats.

    The Two Top Antivirus Bypass Methods For Pen-Testing

    Although there are multiple ways to bypass any antivirus for pen-testing, two of the most preferred options are outlined below:

    • Obfuscation - This is the primary method that is used to distort the code of malware while keeping the form intact. Most testers use an open-source tool to randomize or change the cases of characters in a PowerShell script. The process is rather simple, yet surprisingly effective when it comes to successfully bypassing detection. 
    • Encryption - Using this method, testers effectively eliminate the signature-based threat detection ability of popular antiviruses. Most malware coders usually make use of crypters - ‘scantime’ and ‘runtime’, to encrypt payloads that attach a ‘Stub’ that decrypts the code once executed.

    Bottom Line

    Pen-Testing offers powerful benefits that help locate security loopholes and fix them, thus adding to the overall reliability of any IT infrastructure. It also helps strengthen your brand identity while protecting your customer’s data. As these tests simulate real-world threats, bypassing your existing antivirus is of paramount importance in order to get the desired results.