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5 Penetration Testing Methodologies

  1. Open-Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM):
    • The OSSTMM is a comprehensive, open-source framework for penetration testing.
    • It focuses on security metrics and measurement to evaluate security vulnerabilities.
    • It divides security testing into several key areas, such as operational security, human security, physical security, and data security.
  2. Information Systems Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF):
    • ISSAF is designed to help assess and improve the security of information systems.
    • It offers guidelines and templates for a wide range of security testing activities, including penetration testing.
    • ISSAF places a strong emphasis on documentation and reporting.
  3. Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES):
    • PTES is a methodology that provides a structured approach to penetration testing.
    • It defines different phases of testing, including pre-engagement, intelligence gathering, vulnerability analysis, exploitation, and post-exploitation.
    • PTES aims to create a standardized approach for testers to follow.
  4. Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Testing Guide:
    • OWASP is an organization focused on web application security.
    • The OWASP Testing Guide provides a framework for testing the security of web applications.
    • It covers a wide range of vulnerabilities, from injection attacks to broken authentication.
  5. NIST Special Publication 800-115:
    • Published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this document outlines guidelines for penetration testing.
    • It provides an overview of the penetration testing process, including planning, discovery, attack, and reporting.
    • NIST standards are often used in government and regulated industries.

Each of these methodologies has its own strengths and focuses, making them suitable for different scenarios and security assessment needs. Penetration testers and security professionals often choose the methodology that aligns best with their specific objectives and the systems they are testing.


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