Two Types of Penetration Testers

There are two types of penetration testers in the industry.

Those who identify risk and vulnerabilities beyond a simple Nexpose/Nessus/Qualys scan. And those who want to “win”.

The job of the “winner” is to get DA on their client’s network. Great! But once they’ve gotten it, they show off. Look how much information I can get with the DA account! I can get access to these databases and these spreadsheets. Sensitive Information! Be afraid! I pwned you noobs!!!

The other type of penetration tester also seeks DA. He finds it. Great! Now he moves on to another vulnerability. And then another. Can I get DA another way? Maybe? Okay, what else is exploitable here. Along the way if he finds sensitive information, he presents it to the client. But his job is not focused on presenting information, its on finding avenues to find information.

If the “winner” focuses on one issue. He writes his report and presents it to the client. The client is enamored, impressed, even afraid. But if another “winner” penetration tester were to come in tomorrow, because the first only focused on one issue, the second would just find another avenue. A third might find a third issue. Until they are merely playing wack-a-mole.

The second type reports the issues he identified, an array of vulnerabilities, ranked by severity. He may briefly present information he was able to access, but then moves on. His job is to work towards resolution, not playing hacker. Overall security is enhanced.

Thoughts? No? I didn’t think so, no one reads this blog.