External Network Penetration Testing

What Is External Network Penetration?

External network penetration testing examines system vulnerabilities and gauges the level of risk they pose as a target of exploitation by a remote attacker for their potential as a target by an attacker remotely. In particular, it identifies the information that outside attackers could obtain by exploiting these vulnerabilities. The primary objective of this type of penetration testing is to simulate an attack against a network by imitating the actions of an actual attacker.

External penetration testing generally attempts to access or compromise the target organization’s information. The results of these tests should determine whether that organization’s existing security measures are sufficient to secure its resources against external attack. External penetration testing typically requires two to three weeks to complete, depending on system complexity, network size, and specific test goals.


External network penetration testing includes several types of management testing, including session, configuration, deployment, and identity management testing. Additional examples of this type of penetration testing include the following:

  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Business Logic
  • Client-Side
  • Cryptography
  • Error Handling
  • Open Ports and Services


The most common methodologies for external network penetration testing include the automated scanning of ports, services, and systems for unknown vulnerabilities, in addition to manual testing of identified vulnerabilities. It also includes checking for any information leakage, even if that information is publicly available. Password strength tests, IDS/IPS tests, and footprinting are often part of external network penetration testing.


The most popular tools for performing external network penetration testing include the following:

  • Burp Suite Pro
  • Dirbuster/Dirb/GoBuster
  • GHDB Metasploit
  • Hydra
  • Nessus
  • Nikto
  • Nmap
  • Recon-ng
  • Sqlmap
  • theHarvester