Pentesting Online: The Pros, Cons, Steps, and Tools

Pentesting may be done online for a number of reasons. Perhaps the company is too small to have a physical lab, or the pentester is in a different time zone than the target organization. There are advantages and disadvantages to performing pentests over the internet, regardless of the reason. In this blog post, we will explore those pros and cons, as well as steps for conducting a pentest online and tools you can use. Stay tuned!

Can Pentesting Be Done Online?

There are many reasons why pentesting might be conducted online. Perhaps the company is too small to have a physical lab, or the pentester is in a different time zone than the target organization. Whatever the reason, there are pros and cons to conducting pentests online. Let’s explore those pros and cons now.

Pros of Pentesting Online:

  • The pentester can be located anywhere in the world, which increases their pool of potential candidates.
  • The company does not need to provide a physical space for the pentester to work in, which can save on costs.
  • The company can receive results more quickly since there is no delay associated with shipping data back and forth between locations.

Cons of Pentesting Online:

  • The pentester may not have access to all of the same data that they would if they were on site. This could limit the effectiveness of the pentest.
  • There may be communication difficulties if the pentester is in a different time zone than the company.

So, here are some pros and drawbacks to consider while deciding whether or not to perform a pentest online. But what if you’ve already decided to go ahead with an online pentest? What are some things you need to do in order to achieve your goal? Or the different modes of pentesting that can be done online? Let’s explore that now.

Modes of An Online Pentest

There are three main ways to conduct a pentest online:

Remote access pentesting:

 In this method, the pentester connects to the company’s network remotely, often through a virtual private network (VPN). This allows them to have full access to the target organization’s systems.

Web application testing: 

This approach involves performing penetration tests on websites and web applications for security flaws. They may do this by accessing the sites directly or by using tools that simulate real-world attacks.

Penetration testing services:

 In this method, the pentester contracts with a third party who will carry out the pentest on their behalf. The third party penetration testing provider will usually have access to all of the necessary data and tools.

Methodology Of An Online Pentest

Once you’ve decided on the mode of online pentest that you’re going to use, you need to create a plan for how you will conduct the test. This plan should include:

  • The target systems and devices that you will be testing
  • The types of attacks that you will be using
  • A timeline for the pentest
  • The contact information for any necessary stakeholders

It’s also important to remember that an online pentest should follow the same methodology as a traditional pentest. You should start with reconnaissance, move on to enumeration, then exploit vulnerable systems, and finally conclude with reporting.

Steps for Conducting a Pentest Online

1. Identify the scope of the pentest. This will help to ensure that the pentester is focusing on the right areas and does not go too deep into the company’s systems.

2. Set up a secure channel for sharing data between the pentester and the company. This will protect both parties from any potential security risks.

3. Before disseminating data over the internet, double-check to make sure it’s been encrypted.

4. Ensure that the pentester is in constant contact with you to guarantee that everyone stays on track and understands what’s going on.

Tools for Conducting a Pentest Online

There are many different tools available for conducting pentests online. Here are a few of our favorites:

Astra’s Pentest: A cloud-based pentesting tool that can be used to assess the security of web applications.

Nmap: A network exploration and security auditing tool, Nmap can be used to scan networks for vulnerable systems.

Metasploit: A penetration testing tool that may be utilized to discover and exploit security flaws on a network.

Wireshark: A network protocol analyzer that may be used to diagnose network problems and pentest networks.

Burp Suite: Burp Suite is a security tool that may be used to discover bugs in web applications.

Nikto: A web server scanner that may be used to identify operational computers that are insecure.

OWASP Zed Attack Proxy: The Open Web Application Security Project’s Zed Attack Proxy is a browser-based tool for detecting web application security flaws. It may be used to find vulnerabilities in web applications.

John the Ripper: A password cracking software that can be used to decrypt passwords.

SQLmap: A tool for testing SQL injection vulnerabilities.

Tips For A Pentest Online

  • Be patient. It can take some time to test all of the systems in a network.
  • Be careful with your data. Make sure that you are encrypting any sensitive information before sharing it online.
  • Keep the pentester apprised of your progress and ensure that everyone stays on track.
  • Stay organized. Keep track of what systems have been scanned and what vulnerabilities have been found.


Now that you know a little bit more about conducting pentests online, hopefully, you feel better equipped to make a decision about whether or not it’s right for your organization. If you do decide to go ahead with an online pentest, remember to follow the steps and use the tools we’ve outlined above. Good luck!

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