Introduction to Penetration Testing AWS Using Kali Linux

Introduction to Penetration Testing AWS Using Kali Linux

There are several reasons why you should resort to Kali Linux for penetration testing your AWS infrastructure. Kali can run on just about any hardware and also includes a vast library of security-related tools such as Metasploit, Nmap, Wireshark, Burp Suite, and many more. Therefore, it can not only be used for AWS Penetration Testing but will also make this tedious task a lot faster since it comes packed with all the essential tools to get started.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration Testing, or Pentesting, is the process of testing a network infrastructure, computer system, or web application for vulnerabilities by simulating attacks on them. These vulnerabilities may include insecure passwords, unpatched software, default accounts and other weaknesses that could be used by an attacker to gain access to your systems.

Why Should you Perform Penetration Tests on AWS?

With many companies moving their workloads and data into the cloud, the need for penetration testing of AWS environments has never been greater. By identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in your systems early, you can help mitigate the risk of a real attack happening and protect your data and business-critical operations.

AWS has become one of the very promising cloud services. And knowing AWS is one of the best skills you can hone.

There are several good reasons to check your AWS infrastructure for security flaws. Some of these reasons include:

  • To identify weak points before they are exploited by attackers
  • To determine how well your systems can withstand a cyber-attack
  • To assess the damage that could be done in the event of a breach
  • To uncover security flaws that could be exploited to access your AWS infrastructure
  • To increase the security of AWS systems and applications
  • To demonstrate due diligence to your customers, auditors and regulators

6 Phases of Penetration Testing:

  1. Reconnaissance –¬† Scan the environment for information about your target.
  2. Discovery and Scanning – Identify and map hosts, services and vulnerabilities.
  3. Vulnerability Assessment –¬† Analyze vulnerabilities and determine the risk they pose.
  4. Exploitation – Attempt to exploit vulnerabilities to simulate a hackers attack process.
  5. Final Analysis and Review Р Categorise vulnerabilities based on their risk level and document in detail all the steps carried out so far.
  6. Reporting – Report on the findings of your pentest, identifying problems and making recommendations for fixing them.

If you are interested in testing, also check Robotic Process Automation Testing.

How to Use Kali Linux for Penetration Testing AWS?

Penetration testing your AWS infrastructure can be done in many ways but with the help of already existing security tools, it’s going to go a lot faster. Kali Linux is basically a penetration tester’s swiss-army knife and comes with many popular security tools pre-installed. This alone is going to save you days’ worth of time. Updating all the tools and applications installed also gets done in one go when you update Kali Linux. Additionally, some tools may not even need to be configured. However, do customize the settings of each tool as per your needs.

You can get Kali Linux for your AWS infrastructure here.

Top 10 Tools in Kali Linux for Penetration Testing Cloud Services

Kali is a powerful, free operating system that has been designed from the ground up to be used for cyber security. It is maintained and funded by Offensive Security, a provider of world-class information security training and penetration testing services.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools in Kali Linux and how you can use them for pentesting your AWS cloud infrastructure.

  1. Metasploit –  This is a free and open-source penetration testing software that has been designed for exploiting known vulnerabilities. You can use Kali Linux to test the strength of your AWS security systems by simulating real-world attacks on them in order to find out how vulnerable they might be.
  2. Nmap – This tool basically helps create network maps, identify services running on different hosts and find out which ones are available.  Kali Linux includes Nmap and this can be used to scan your AWS infrastructure for open ports and identify vulnerabilities.
  3. Burp Suite – Burp Suite is an integrated platform of tools that work together allowing you to find, exploit and validate web application security issues. This tool will help Pentesters test the strength of their AWS security systems by automatically detecting and exploiting common vulnerabilities.
  4. Wireshark – Wireshark is a very popular tool. It is essentially a network protocol analyzer that lets you capture and examine data packets. This can be used to view the traffic passing over your AWS networks and identify any security risks.
  5. John The Ripper –This is a free and open-source password hash cracker that can be used to test your AWS account security. You can use this tool to detect weak passwords as well as easily break them using brute force or dictionary attacks.
  6. Hashcat – Hashcat is a password recovery tool but can also be used to crack passwords of various hashes. Kali Linux also includes a custom version of Hashcat which has been optimized for cracking TrueCrypt and Microsoft Office 2013 documents.
  7. Nikto –  Nikto is a web server vulnerability scanner that can be used to scan your AWS environment for potential security issues such as default and potentially hazardous files, configurations, etc.
  8. Aircrack-ng – Aircrack-ng is basically an 802.11 WEP and WPA/WPA cracking program that has been designed for testing the security of wireless networks.
  9. CeWL – CeWL is a tool that automatically generates custom websites made up entirely of leaked passwords. This tool can be used to find leaked passwords for your AWS account and add them to your password manager.
  10. Cloudbrute –  Kali Linux also includes Cloudbrute, a tool that can be used to perform brute force password auditing against AWS. It currently supports authentication via Basic Auth, Digest Auth and AWS Access Keys.

These are just a few of the many powerful Kali Linux tools that can be used for pentesting your AWS cloud infrastructure.

What to Know Before You Start Penetration Testing AWS?

Not all services provided by AWS are permitted for testing. Before you begin, check what tests are allowed on each of the services that you use. If you need to conduct other tests you may submit a Request form for gaining authorization to conduct other simulated events. Bear in mind, that at all times, all security testing must comply with the AWS security audit Terms and Conditions. You can refer to the guidelines on the official AWS page here.

You can also opt for the AWS certification. It will add magnificent value to your exeperience.

To sum it up,

Penetration testing is a vital part of information security and should be used by all businesses using AWS, especially if they have sensitive data stored on the cloud. AWS penetration testing is important to ensure that your cloud environment is secure and can protect itself against any potential threats.

Kali Linux is an ideal platform for pentesting and includes many powerful tools that can be used for attacking, scanning and auditing your AWS cloud infrastructure. However, one must proceed with caution as performing any prohibited simulated attack may lead to a violation of the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. If cloud security is not your forte, consider investing in a reputable and experienced security firm, such as Astra Security to conduct your penetration tests for you.

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