Using the internet without the burden of a wired connection via wireless fidelity (wifi) offers immense efficiency and productivity to a workforce. There are also compelling reasons to offer free wifi to your customers. But that convenience for your business is mirrored by convenience for cybercriminals and wireless networks offer innumerable opportunities for exploitation by hackers. As such, wireless penetration testing is an essential consideration for any company.
Does My Business Need Wireless Penetration Testing?
If your business relies on wifi’s conveniences, there’s a good chance that you would benefit from wireless penetration testing. Given the current mobile state of work and the fact that 5G and other connectivity innovations will only make wireless technology more prevalent in the years to come, it’s safe to say nearly every business will benefit from wireless pentesting.
So, in the sections below, we’ll break down everything you need to know, including:
- What wireless penetration testing is, and what other kinds are available
- Who benefits most from wireless penetration testing, and why
- What to look for in a wireless penetration testing partner
Let’s get started!
What is Wireless Network Penetration Testing?
Any penetration test is a form of “ethical hacking” or a way to strengthen your company’s defenses by studying your potential opponents’ offenses. It involves simulating an attack on your systems and observing how the attacker compromises them and behaves. A wireless network penetration test is simply one that focuses primarily (but not solely) on wifi networks.
There are six main steps to a wireless pen test:
- Gathering information – Reconnaissance involves inventorying all available wireless networks and all access points that might be exploitable for an attack.
- Targeting networks – Next, the list of identified networks must be analyzed and expanded, detailing risk profiles to narrow down a particular strategy for attack.
- Exploring vulnerabilities – The last preparatory step involves even further analysis of identified targets’ particular weak points, including flaws or lapsed patches.
- Attacking weaknesses – This is where the ethical hacker carries out the plan, exploiting weaknesses in identified targets and seize control of your systems.
- Reporting and logging – During and after the simulated attack, the hacker, along with the team working on the test, will report back records of how exactly your security failed.
- Planning for recovery – After the attack, the pen testing team, along with any internal and outsourced IT experts, will develop a plan to patch weaknesses identified during it.
For more information, check out our dedicated blog on how to conduct wifi penetration testing.
Wireless vs. Other Forms of Penetration Testing
Wireless penetration testing refers to the object of analysis (wireless networks) rather than the type thereof. In that respect, there are two main categories of penetration testing:
- External – Also called “black box” or “black hat,” these tests begin with an attacker “outside,” without any privileged information. The goal is to study how quickly they can bypass your security and compromise or control your most valuable resources.
- Internal – Also called “white box” or “white hat,” the simulated attack begins from “inside” the company, with privileged information. The goal is to study the hacker’s behavior once they’ve already breached your defenses and what they leave behind.
There are also hybrid forms, sometimes referred to as “grey box” or “grey hat,” that mix external and internal testing features. A wireless penetration test can be conducted either externally or internally and will often involve elements of both — they are commonly known as “grey,” so to speak.
Other common objects of penetration testing you may consider include:
- Cloud computing pentesting, for cloud servers and accounts
- Firewall penetration testing, focused on your web filter systems
- Web application pentesting, focused on security parameters of apps
- Compliance pentesting, required by certain frameworks (like PCI-DSS)
- Hardware pentesting, which examines exploitable computers and servers
- Mobile pentesting, which tests for weaknesses on smartphones and tablets
To be safe, the best approach is typically to combine multiple forms of pentesting.
Who Needs Wireless Penetration Testing Most?
It’s tempting to say that all companies need to be conducting wireless penetration testing regularly. And, given adequate resources to do so, all companies certainly should be.
However, some need it more than others. Namely:
- Businesses that rely on smartphones and mobile devices connected to wifi
- Businesses that utilize “smart” or “internet of things” (IoT) technology
- Businesses close to unaccounted wifi networks
- Businesses that opt for the convenience of wifi unnecessarily
- Businesses with a lot of foot traffic (potential attackers)
Overall, companies that benefit most from wireless penetration testing rely most heavily on wireless networks for their day to day operations. Many office spaces utilize wifi for specific functions in normal working conditions, relegating the most sensitive information to wired connections only. However, any office that uses wifi at all can fall victim to wireless attacks.
Risks and Vulnerabilities of Wireless Networks
Hackers looking to compromise your company and seize digital assets, like sensitive data, will look for any vulnerability to exploit. Wireless networks harbor many such vectors of attack.
Four of the most common and dangerous kinds of wireless network attacks are:
- Evil twinning – One of the most common forms of wireless network attacks, evil twinning, involves creating an access point and disguising it as the actual network.
- Packet sniffing – Over wireless networks, information like passwords and other authenticating credentials travels through the air in packets, which can be intercepted.
- Rogue access point – A hacker or employee can create unauthorized access points, purposely or accidentally, leading to denial of service (DoS) and other attacks.
- Network interference – Also known as “jamming,” this technique halts your system’s functionality (and security measures), usually in conjunction with another method.
To prevent these and other attacks on your wireless networks, wireless pentesting is absolutely essential. It can be the difference between wifi being convenient and it being harmful.
What Makes a Good Wireless Pentesting Partner?
Not all penetration testing partners are created equal; some service providers offer advantages over others, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for when shopping for an ethical hacking solution. In particular, four main qualities of the best pentesting partners include:
- Unobtrusiveness – Ideally, penetration testing should not interrupt your business’s day-to-day activities, nor leave you vulnerable to actual attacks afterward.
- Root cause analysis – Your penetration testing partner should work to simulate an attack and determine what factors opened up the vulnerabilities they exploit.
- Actionable insights – The best penetration testing partners will also work with you to build up your defenses after the attack, turning results into actual safety impacts.
- Seamless compliance – Finally, a penetration testing partner should work with you to ensure that tests efficiently adhere to and advance compliance requirements.
RSI Security’s suite of penetration testing services embodies these core values.
We provide all of the internal and external forms of penetration testing detailed above. Our team of dedicated experts is happy to integrate pentesting into the core of your cyberdefenses.
Professionalize Your Company’s Cyberdefense
Here at RSI Security, we’re happy to help with not just penetration testing but all cybersecurity measures your company needs to keep its stakeholders safe. We’re your first, and best choice from wireless penetration testing to comprehensive managed security services and virtual CISO. Contact RSI Security to see how powerful your cyberdefenses can be!