IV.A.2(b)     Penetration Tests

A penetration test subjects a system to real-world attacks selected and conducted by the testers. A penetration test targets systems and users to identify weaknesses in business processes and technical controls. The test mimics a threat source's search for and exploitation of vulnerabilities to demonstrate a potential for loss. Some tests focus on only a subset of the institution's systems and may not accurately simulate a determined threat actor. There are many types of penetration tests (e.g., network, client-side, web application, and social engineering), and management should determine the level and types of tests employed to ensure effective and comprehensive coverage.

The frequency and scope of a penetration test should be a function of the level of assurance needed by the institution and determined by the risk assessment process. The test can be performed internally by independent groups, internally by the organizational unit, or by an independent third party. Management should determine the level of independence required of the test.


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IV.A.2(a) Self-Assessments
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IV.A.2(c) Vulnerability Assessments