Path To Pentest Guide : 10 Best Penetration Testing Phases, Lifecycle, Methods – 2023

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Penetration Testing Phases involves a various Methods, phases, lifecycle and scope to prepare a best checklist to perform the quality penetration operations. Here we have created a complete Penetration Testing Guide with detailed step by step methods.

Let’s take a look at how you can get better in your pentesting engagements by breaking your methodology into well-defined stages, leading to efficient workflow.

There is no denying that any penetration testing project is a lengthy process, involving a lot of different skills.

Tackling everything at once can not overwhelm pentesters, a lot of mishaps can take place: unexplored targets and assets, and send them to the customer portal. So clients can start working on fixing them in no time to send them back for retesting without waiting for the end of the pentest.

That also relates to the scheduling part of the penetration testing cycle. Clients and the team decide when to start the project, when to expect the first results and when to expect the full report. Pentests also require clients for special arrangements:

  • whitelisting testers’ IPs
  • temporary accounts
  • staying within compliance
  • etc.

Scheduling deadlines is important to keep everything tracked and deliver results just in time. Pentesters need to set goals according to the discussed period of the project.

Penetration Testing Phase 3. Reconnaissance


That is the lengthiest part of the engagement, but no need to panic. It can usually be divided into two common parts:

Mapping The Surface: Discovery

In this Penetration Testing Guide Usually, scope only defines the limits, but not everything inside the scope is an active server or a reachable domain.

Discovery can be seen as the first part of the reconnaissance phase: mapping the attack surface.

This step provides testers with assets to probe further for details.

Tools like , and (AD) environments, Domain Controller or Domain Admin is the user with the highest privileges. In Unix/Linux environments, that user is the root.

Again a manual process, but you can aid it by using scripts that can report standard misconfigurations.

linPEAS (or winPEAS for Windows) are popular scripts to search for possible escalation paths to privileges.

Bloodhound is a strong tool that can gather data and reveal paths that can lead to the compromise of the Domain Controller.

Penetration Testing Phase 6. Leaving Backdoors: Persistence

In Penetration Testing lifecycle, It’s a rare scenario to gather everything you need in one go when you get a reverse shell.

You’ll need a continuous access to the compromised server to go through the whole exploitation process again is cumbersome.

That’s where persistence comes into action: leaving a backdoor or an easily accessible script that lets you go in again and again until it’s required.

Penetration Testing Phase 7. Data Gathering: Exfiltration (Post-exploit)

A this Penetration Testing Phases, One of the main goals of this phase is to dump as much sensitive information as possible after gaining the highest possible privilege level to prove the impact of the breach. Gather as many password dumps, hashes, PII etc.

Dumping hashes in an Active Directory environment can be done through many PowerShell scripts or tools, one of the most reliable is Mimikatz, which allows you to dump LSASS very easily.

To transfer data you can leverage the HTTP server created on the client’s machine to extract the data.

Chisel is a popular tool to create instant servers in case python is not present in the windows environment.

At this point there’s one painful headache — where to store all this information? Speaking of which.

That’s where Hexway also got your back covered. They developed a special section called .

When defenders are satisfied with patches, they can reach back to to log the process of patching and share it with fellow pentesters in real-time.

These 10 stages of a penetration testing guide lifecycle are what almost every security team goes through.

Some may use different names, but the overall concept remains the same. re

Keep them handy and be better than your competition when it comes to pentests! Good luck and start providing PTaaS with Hexway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing also known as Pen Test is a simulation of real time cyberattack against computer network, web applications and any software to find and exploit the vulnerabilities.

The purpose of penetration testing is to assess the security of a system or network and identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

What are the 3 Phases of Penetration Testing?

These are 3 Penetration Testing Phases.

1. Planning and reconnaissance

2. Attack and Gaining Access

3. Exploit and Report

What are Phases of Penetration Testing ?

3. Mobile Application Testing

4. Wireless Penetration Testing.

5. Physical Penetration Testing.

6. Internal/External Infrastructure Penetration Testing

7.Social Engineering Penetration Testing.

What are the 10 Best Penetration Testing Tools?

1. Metasploit


3. Wireshark

4. Aircrack

5. Nessus

6. Social Engineering Toolkit

7. W3AF

8. Burp Suite

9. BeEF

10. SQLmap

What are The Types of Penetration Testing?

1. Blackbox Penetration Testing
2. White Box Penetration Testing

3. Gray Box Penetration Testing

20 Best Penetration Testing Companies?

1. Hexway

2. Intruder.

3. Acunetix

4. Rapid7


6. Invicti

7. Indusface WAS

8. SecureWorks

9. Intruder

10.Coalfire Labs







17.Cipher Security LLC

18.Software Secured

19.Offensive Security

20.Securus Global

What are the 10 Best Penetration Testing Certifications?

CWPT – Certified Web Penetration Tester (Ethical Hackers Academy)
CNPT – Certified Network Penetration Tester (Ethical Hackers Academy)
PenTest+ – CompTIA Pentest+ (CompTIA)
CPENT– Certified Penetration Testing Professional (EC Council)
OSCP – Offensive Security Certified Professional (Offensive Security)
GPEN – GIAC Penetration Tester (SANS)
CPTE – Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (NICCS)
eJPT – eLearn Security Junior Penetration Tester (eLearn Security)
CPT – Certified Penetration Tester (Pentester Academy)

What is Penetration Testing as a Service?

Penetration testing as a service, also known as PTaaS, is a cloud-based penetration testing solution that enables businesses to conduct regular, automated penetration tests with ease.

PTaaS platforms provide users with all the tools and resources they need to run effective penetration tests, including a web-based interface, an extensive knowledge base, and 24/365 customer support.

How Can You Get a Penetration Testing Quote?

If you want to obtain a penetration testing quote, there are a few things you must do.

1.You need to gather information about your system or network, including its size and complexity

2 You must choose whether you need a comprehensive or basic penetration test

3. You’ll need to contact a number of penetration testing firms and ask for quotations from each one

Why Is Penetration Testing Important?

One of the most important reasons is that it helps to ensure that your systems and networks are secure against potential threats.

Penetration testing can also help you to understand how vulnerable your systems and networks are to attack, and what steps you need to take to improve their security.

By identifying vulnerabilities early on, you can avoid the costly repairs and replacements that would be necessary if your system or network was to be hacked.

Penetration testing is also critical since it may help you boost your brand image and reputation. Customers will be more inclined to trust you with their personal information if your systems and networks