21 Sep, 2022

OSINT and Penetration Testing Collaboration

osint recon penetration test pentest

— In this article, we will explain open source intelligence (OSINT) and penetration testing so that you can see how they are related.

First, a little bit about terminology:

          OSINT is the deepest reconnaissance of all legal sources, which is the foundation for all activities to ensure system cybersecurity.
It is the detailed finding by precise criteria and data analysis that forms the basis for finding vulnerabilities, weaknesses, risks, and cybersecurity threats.

          Penetration testing, also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, is a security testing technique used to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and applications. Penetration testing tries to break into computer systems by imitating real-world attacks.

Stages of an OSINT reconnaissance operation

OSINT Recon is a multi-step process that involves gathering and verifying information from multiple sources to discover and then further investigate the assets. Usually, experts divide the cyberintelligence process into such stages as these:

          Source identification: an examination of all sources inside and outside the system to find potential information.

          Data collection: at this stage, information is selected from previously studied sources.

          Data processing and integration: operational analysis of information.

          Data analysis: here, the obtained data are subjected to more filtering and analysis with OSINT tools.

          Provide results: OSINT analysis is completed and the CQR team provides you with the results in a detailed report of the reconnaissance mission.

However, the OSINT process does not end there; it moves into related areas of cybersecurity. For more thorough processing and, as a final result, to increasing the level of information security, the results of reconnaissance are usually shared with the defense specialists for pentesting.

Pentest and OSINT

Here we should consider pentest as a “special” next stage of Open Source Intelligence. Once you’ve realized with OSINT how vulnerable your system looks to a cyber penetrator, you move on to securing your data.

Actually, pentest is dependent on OSINT intelligence. There are three basic types of pentest:
Whitebox – when you give pentesters all the information and access; Blackbox – a penetration test where testers only know the site address;
Graybox – when you combine known and unknown information for testers with a specific test purpose. Each of these types of testing needs open-source intelligence

With Penetration Testing, as with any cybersecurity technology, a foundation in the form of an OSINT reconnaissance operation will help in accumulating information about all past, existing explicit, hidden, and potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Whereas OSINT reconnaissance does not always go to the next stage into pentest. It is not necessary, although in life it is quite a frequent sequence.
Once you know what information can be gathered about you from open sources, you can use it to help yourself or your cybersecurity team develop effective defense strategies. OSINT can meet all the challenges that private investigators face.

Also open-source intelligence can be used for more than just defensive purposes. The military uses it for intelligence, politicians get up to 80 percent of the information they need to make decisions from open sources, the media uses it to form breaking news, brokers and marketers use it to understand price changes in the market, even an SMM agent’s analysis of competitors is also considered part of OSINT.

As a result

We can summarize that OSINT is a diverse and staggered process that forms the basis of many cybersecurity practices. And Penetest, it is an intelligence-based way of securing a system that is constantly being used in cybersecurity work. The main idea behind OSINT is that you can use open sources to collect raw data, without many boundaries. Every security expert works with this data to discover vulnerabilities or develop a secure plan before hackers do.

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