Software Penetration Testing: Definition, Need, Services Offered, And Major Tools

What do you know regarding software penetration testing, its basics, or even its necessity? Here we will discuss the definition of software penetration testing, its need, and the services offered by a professional software penetration tester. We will also look at some of the major tools used in this type of testing.


Definition of Software Penetration Testing

The process of examining computer systems, networks, or internet applications for security flaws that attackers might exploit is called Software Penetration Testing. The main goal of software penetration testing is to identify and address these vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them. This type of security assessment is also known as “penetration testing,” “pentesting,” or “ethical hacking.”

The Need For Software Penetration Testing

Given the number of data breaches that have occurred in recent years, it’s clear that organizations need to do everything they can to protect their systems and data from attackers. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of being hacked is to conduct regular software penetration testing. You may significantly lower your chances of being hacked by detecting and fixing flaws early on.

The Different Types Of Software Penetration Testing Out There

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There are several different types of software penetration testing, each of which is designed to test a specific area of security:

  • Network Penetration Testing: This type of assessment targets the security of an organization’s network infrastructure. It includes tests such as vulnerability scanning and port scanning to identify potential vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
  • Web Application Penetration Testing: This type of assessment evaluates the security of web applications and looks for flaws that attackers could exploit. Tests such as cross-site scripting attacks or even SQL injections come under this.
  • Mobile Application Penetration Testing: This type of assessment evaluates the security of mobile applications and looks for flaws that attackers could exploit.
  • Social Engineering Pen Tests: Security evaluations are performed on an organization’s employees. They involve tricks such as phishing emails and pretext calls that are designed to get employees to divulge sensitive information or install malicious software.
  • Physical Security Penetration Testing: This type of assessment evaluates the security of an organization’s physical premises and looks for vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.

What Services Does a Professional Software Penetration Tester Offer?

person pointing at the screen

A professional software penetration tester will typically offer the following services:

  • Vulnerability assessment- Refers to the process of finding potential loopholes in the security system of software.
  • Penetration testing- This is the process of actually exploiting these vulnerabilities to see if attackers can exploit them.
  • Reporting and recommendations- After completing a pentest, the tester will provide a report detailing the findings and recommend addressing any vulnerabilities discovered.
  • Security audit- This is the process of evaluating an organization’s security controls, policies, and procedures to determine if they effectively protect against attacks.
  • Threat modeling- This is the process of identifying and assessing potential threats to a system or application.
  • Code review- This is the technique of analyzing source code for security flaws.

What Are Some of the Major Tools Used in Software Penetration Testing?

person using using laptop

Major tools used in software penetration testing are listed below:

  • Astra Pentest is a tool that can scan websites for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks.
  • The open-source Net::Nmap (Network Mapper) is a free network mapping, and security auditing software used to identify services within a network and any potential vulnerabilities.
  • Wireshark is a powerful network analyzer that can be used to capture packets from a network and decode them into human-readable form.
  • Metasploit is a popular penetration testing framework that allows you to create and execute exploit code against a target system.
  • The comprehensive suite of tools under Burp Suite for performing security assessments of web applications includes a browser extension, proxy server, and toolkit for manipulating web requests and responses.

Steps For Software Penetration Testing

Here are the steps for performing a software penetration test:


  • Planning- Planning out the attack must always be the first step. This includes identifying the target system, assessing the vulnerabilities that can be exploited, and choosing the best penetration testing tools and techniques that will be used.
  • Reconnaissance- The next step is reconnaissance where you gather information about the target system and identify any potential targets within it.
  • Attack- The third step is to launch the attack and exploit the vulnerabilities identified in the previous steps.
  • Reporting- After completing the attack, you will need to generate a report documenting what was done, what was found, and how it can be fixed.


As an information security professional, it is vital to keep up with the latest trends and developments in the industry. With more businesses moving their operations online, software penetration testing has become a critical component of protecting your company’s data.

By understanding the basics of how these tests are conducted, you can be better prepared to protect your organization from malicious actors. Are you prepared to begin pentesting your own code? If so, we recommend using some of the tools and techniques discussed in this article.

Stay safe out there!

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