Network testing is a detailed examination conducted to give stakeholders an accurate analysis of how well the product or service performing under real conditions meets their requirements. Network testing will also give an independent, objective view of the system to enable the organization to recognize and understand the key risks of system implementation. This will provide valuable insights that will guide the organization in choosing the right system and network configuration. Network testing is essential for QA professionals, managers, and IT staff.
There are two types of network testing: client-side and server-side. While both are used for analyzing and finding software defects, the differences between the two are mainly based on the tools and processes used. For example, network monitoring and testing tools for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X differ significantly from one another in terms of complexity and sophistication of testing procedures and reporting capabilities. However, the common characteristics remain; both kinds of testing to produce results that support a thorough analysis of system and network conditions and configuration.
In network security assessment, penetration testing checks to see if attackers have any way into a system and if they can do harm. Penetration testing will determine whether an attack can be executed from a remote point and at what level. Commonly, penetration tests use protocol analyzers, protocol enforcement and portability tools, and/or protocol masks to gather information that supports the testing process. A popular tool for determining the level of security protection offered by a network security system is a protocol tester. The purpose of a protocol tester is to determine how a system responds to attacks, whether it can be patched, and if so, to what degree. A portability tool may also be used to determine how well a system will run on limited memory or other resources.
Another type of network testing commonly employed is vulnerability testing. In this method, the tester investigates whether a system has any vulnerabilities that could allow an attack to penetrate and execute remote code execution (RAS). For example, a hacker could use a vulnerability to send data back to an attacker who will then use the data to perform a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Similarly, network testing may be used to determine if a system’s configuration or installation provides sufficient protection against DDoS attacks.
Routing policy change detection tests allow administrators to pinpoint the cause of any failure, such as a routing policy change that results in a lost network connection. Often, routers that fail due to this kind of issue are not performing well enough and a router outage can cause critical problems for a company. A port scanner is used during routing policy change detection tests to identify failed ports. In addition, a port scanner can sometimes provide evidence of an intentional misport that has been used to test a system’s performance.
Security testers, who come from networks with malicious attackers in mind, use tools like port attacks and protocol fuzzing to discover the protocol vulnerabilities that web servers are vulnerable to. They can also perform system management tasks, such as controlling backups and installing upgrades. In some cases, network security testers can work alongside network operators to detect weak points in the security policy that would allow attackers to gain access. Testers may also check for security holes in firewalls and intrusion detection systems. All these activities help to ensure that a company’s network has the best possible security posture.
As previously mentioned, some testing techniques may require a more active participation by testers than others. For instance, if a web application is set up to run on a remote network and a security vulnerability in the application allows an unauthorized user to gain access, then the web application’s underlying transport layer may need to be tested using a more active approach. However, for many testing techniques, the security vulnerabilities are discovered during a normal server operation. If the web application is written in Java, for example, then the security issues will not present a problem unless the application is deployed on a shared or dedicated server. In this case, the testing team may decide to execute additional testing for the Java virtual machine rather than just concentrating on the low-level specifics of the application’s Java code.
Network security testing and Penetration testing are two completely different practices. While both involve testing for security vulnerabilities in web applications, they do have a number of differences. Testing for security vulnerabilities using black box or white box penetration testing techniques is designed to simulate any type of online attack and is carried out over a period of time. Pen Testing, on the other hand, is typically a short duration penetration testing technique that requires the developer or attacker to deliberately inflict damage to the target system in order to obtain a software or network vulnerability, rather than simply test the application’s functionality.