External Penetration Testing

External penetration testing simulate attacks originating from outside the network to evaluate an organization’s external-facing defenses. This includes perimeter firewalls, DMZ configurations, web application firewalls, and any externally exposed systems and applications.

The goal of an external pen test is to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers on the internet to gain unauthorized access or cause disruption.

Common techniques include:

  • Port scanning and vulnerability scanning to identify open ports and exploitable vulnerabilities.
  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in externally facing applications like websites and web services
  • Brute force attacks against remote login services like RDP, SSH, and VPN’s.
  • Password cracking and dictionary attacks against week or default credentials.
  • Evaluating the security of external DNS configurations.
  • Social engineering attempts like phishing emails targeting employees.

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External pen tests provide insight into how well an organization’s perimiter defenses protect against common external threats. Any vulnerabilities identified during the test allow the organization to harden its external security and reduce its exposure to hackers on the internet.

There are different types of penetration tests that focus on specific aspects of an organization’s IT infrastructure. They can be performed together or separately based on organizations specific requirements.


The client’s key stakeholders need to determine their risk appetite by answering questions such as:

  • What losses would be catastrophic to the organization?
  • What processes, technology, or other assets can be unavailable and still enable the organization to function and for how long?
  • What assets, processes, information, or technology must be available at all times and cannot be made public or be accessed by unapproved persons?
  • Are there any circumstances that could result in personal harm to anyone dealing with the organization, be it employees, customers, business partners, or visitors?