Are you looking for a way to test the security of your Azure environment? This blog post will provide you with an overview of penetration testing Azure. We’ll start by talking about what it is, and then move into methodology and tools used in this type of assessment. Next, we will go over some helpful tips to make sure that you are doing everything possible to stay secure.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to do Azure Penetration Testing, please keep reading!
Why Azure Penetration Testing?
The Azure platform provides an amazing amount of flexibility and power, making it simple to deploy applications or entire infrastructures on top of Azure. Unfortunately, this cloud-based platform is still susceptible to the same types of attacks that any other system would be. Penetration testing can help you discover some security vulnerabilities before attackers do – giving your team time to patch up issues before they become a problem for end-users.
It’s important that you first define what “penetration testing” means in this context so we are all working with the same type of information when performing Azure Penetration Testing.
How does Azure Penetration Testing work?
Azure Penetration Testing is an assessment to discover any security flaws by simulating real-world attacks on Azure systems including web applications, servers, virtual machines and storage accounts. Azure penetration testing identifies potential issues but does not make actual changes to the environment – there are some common steps that allow you to safely test Azure for possible vulnerabilities while ensuring data integrity at all times.
1) Discovery Phase
First off, start with a Discovery Phase where teams learn about your Azure footprint in order to identify target areas of focus. This phase can be automated through tools like Metasploit or PowerSploit which let you scan for vulnerabilities across ports within Azure subscriptions. The idea here is just to get an overview of what’s currently running so that it comes time for exploitation later on in Azure Penetration Testing.
2) Scanning Phase
Next, move on to the Scanning Phase which will help you more thoroughly assess Azure infrastructures for security issues. In this phase, penetration testers can take advantage of “white box testing” tools that give Azure penetration testers a better understanding of the environment’s makeup and how it works – but these types of assessments should not be used when targeting production environments since they require direct access to source code or other sensitive information that could leave your systems in an even worse state if leaked! Instead, stick with blackbox pentesting and scanning techniques like vulnerability scanners for Azure during this step so there’s no risk involved when performing Azure Penetration Testing later on down the line.
3) Pentesting Phase
Once we have our targets selected from Discovery and our Azure penetration testing scope is defined, it’s time to move on to the Azure Penetration Testing phase itself. Many Azure assessments are performed through automated tools that have been built for this purpose – so if your Azure environment changes often or you don’t have a lot of IT resources who know how Azure works under the hood, using existing Azure assessment tools can certainly help save some time and money.
For instance, Astra Security offers an “automated vulnerability management platform” called Astra Pentest that lets even non-technical users run full audits against their Azure accounts in just minutes without having any prior knowledge required about what types of tests need to be done or which vulnerabilities they’re looking for. And since we’ll always want our Azure penetration testers to keep security top-of-mind, Azure penetration testing tools like Halo will also generate detailed reports that flag any issues they find so teams know where to start fixing things.
For more in-depth Azure Penetration Testing results, though, Azure security assessments can be performed through manual techniques as well. A good rule of thumb is the “80/20” method which says 80% of vulnerabilities are identified within 20% of time and resources – meaning it’s possible to get a lot done with Azure penetration testing even if you don’t have an army of IT specialists on staff! As mentioned before, black-box scanners are perfectly suited for this kind of work since there shouldn’t be much risk involved when using these types of assessment tools during Azure Penetration Testing.
4) Reporting and Documentation
Finally, Azure penetration testing results should be documented for each Azure environment you test so that the next time teams perform Azure assessments or set up new Azure environments they know what to look out for. This documentation could simply consist of your black box scanner’s full report but if you want something more detailed and concise, Astra Pentest can also generate a “Pentest Report” which breaks down all findings into an easy-to-read HTML format complete with screenshots and video clips – this is especially helpful when performing Azure Penetration Testing since it allows nontechnical stakeholders like executives to quickly get involved in addressing potential issues without having any prior background knowledge about how these types of tests work behind the scenes. Finally, this Pentest Report output can be exported to your Azure account with the click of a button so that Azure Penetration Testing documentation is always right where you need it!
Tips to keep in mind when Azure Penetration Testing
1) Make sure you’re using secure passwords! By default Azure uses SHA256 hashing with no salts or iteration counts so it’s possible that your unhashed password could be discovered if someone is trying hard enough (or has an automated tool set up). Azure does support bcrypt which would make this type of attack more difficult; however, there is still a chance that weak/leaked credentials could result in security issues down the road. It’s best to err on the side of caution by changing all user passwords after performing any Azure Penetration Testing.
2) Azure provides the ability to enable multi-factor authentication for users, but it’s up to you as an Azure administrator or security professional to make sure that this feature is enabled. Azure Multi-Factor Authentication allows you to enforce additional login steps before granting access – making your organization more secure in general.
3) Azure Security Center has many features which can help organizations monitor their usage and stay aware of potential threats. For example, if someone were trying brute force logins into a server behind Azure Security Center, they would be blocked immediately without any impact on other resources/users! Utilizing these tools will not only contribute towards effective Azure penetration testing but also increase overall application performance by lessening network traffic between VMs.
4) Azure Security Center also provides some great insight into your virtual network configuration. If you find that there are any risky open ports on Azure VMs that should be closed, it’s possible to enable Azure Firewall with just a few clicks in the Azure Portal! With this feature enabled, Azure will automatically monitor for new VM instances trying to communicate across different subnets or security groups – allowing only approved traffic through while blocking everything else at the platform level (rather than configuring firewall rules on each individual machine).
5) Protect API backend using Application Gateway and API Management. You can also consider pentesting for strengthening your API Security.
There is no one specific method when it comes to Azure penetration testing. Testers typically follow general penetration testing procedures but may deviate from them depending on what their goals are and what they want/don’t want to achieve during Azure penetration testing. Azure is a fantastic platform that allows developers and security engineers to create, deploy, and manage applications more efficiently than ever before – but without performing some type of Azure Penetration Testing it’s difficult to be 100% confident in the integrity of your application.