What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing, or pen testing for short, is a method of improving cybersecurity that involves uncovering hidden weaknesses in an organization’s IT infrastructure. Although this practice has existed since the 1960s, modern penetration testing services are much more dynamic and efficient.

Penetration tests, as we know them today, encompass a wider range of sophisticated pen testing tools to account for the rapidly changing technology landscape, increase in automated processes, and heightened cyber risk profiles.

More specifically, common pen test tools include web application penetration testing services, mobile application penetration testing, red team penetration testing, cloud penetration testing, infrastructure penetration testing services and much more.

Penetration test team

Our approach to penetration testing

Modern-day penetration testing companies should increase the pace of company growth and contribute to greater product development – not reduce the likelihood of gaining a competitive advantage as per previous legacy testing methodologies.

Our Swarm-based approach cuts through the archaic nature of traditional pen testing software. Rather than relying on a one-dimensional method, we have a team of diverse and experienced hackers with a broad range of skill sets at your disposal.

Walking a client through security testing results

focus on the points of compromise that truly matter

Once we collect the insights we need, we focus on the points of compromise that truly matter to the livelihood of your business. We won’t overwhelm you with countless pages of meaningless data. Instead, we’ll build upon the relationships our ethical hackers have formed with your team and deliver truly impactful debriefs.

“We are really happy with CovertSwarm as our external RED team.”

COO and Co-founder, IT services and consulting company.

Constant cyber attack via subscription

For a simple monthly fee, our dedicated team of ethical hackers will constantly attack the full scope of your brand using digital, physical and social methods.

And when we find a way to breach your organization, we’ll raise the alarm before a real threat succeeds.


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Just as your security defenses must evolve to keep pace with organizational change, so must your approach to cyber attack.

With most security breaches occurring many days prior to detection, effective simulated assaults must be constant. It’s the only way to counteract an APT and avoid zero-day exploits.

A room with equipment left alone


It’s not just your systems and applications which are susceptible to threat. Your people are too. Staff members are one of the most common breach points for successful cyber attacks.

That’s why, thinking beyond the digital, we’ll seek to exploit previous unexplored weaknesses in your physical and social environments too.


Ready to be hacked? For a demo of our services or to get a quote, just get in touch.

Available as a one-off test, but better as a Constant Cyber Attack Subscription

The threat of cyber attack is constantly evolving, so one-off pen testing services may be useful, but continuous pen testing is even more powerful. Benefit from round-the-clock pen testing services with our Constant Cyber Attack Subscription.

Detailed debriefs that focus on unique points of compromise

Traditional penetration testing companies tend to bombard clients with hundreds and thousands of low-impact vulnerabilities that are unlikely to result in a breach. Although we will still address these issues, we’ll begin by prioritizing the unique points of compromise that truly matter.

Benefits of our penetration testing services

Gain personalized cyber reports

Once we get to know your business, we’ll curate debriefs that are rooted in the context of your business, technology, and industry. We reduce the unnecessary noise typically found in risk reports and offer direct remediation to your cyber risk status.

Detect and exploit zero-day vulnerabilities

Our team is trained to search for more than known cyber issues. They’ll uncover every weakness and leave no stone unturned. They will only stop once they exploit unknown, zero-day vulnerabilities that reside deep within your technology stacks.

Customize your penetration testing service

We avoid the risk of genetic testing and provide penetration testing services that fit your unique needs. As part of our pen test services, you’ll be awarded personalized reports that deliver actionable results.

Features of our penetration testing services

Ongoing support from experts

Our penetration testing providers are backed by a Hive of cyber specialists who are on hand to answer all of your pressing questions and queries. Starting from less than the cost of a single internal security hire, you’ll have access to decades of collective intelligence.

True risk discovery and threat mitigation

Be ready to receive an alert at any time. We won’t bombard you with useless information, but we will ring the alarm bells if you’re at a high risk of suffering a breach. Gain peace of mind with our true risk discovery, threat mitigation, and penetration testing.

Enjoy round-the-clock engagement

24 hours a day and 356 days a year. Our support is as ongoing as it gets. Our swarm of ethical hackers will continuously hunt and eradicate threats to ensure your security posture remains uncompromised. We offer threat-led penetration testing, and we don’t take the day off.

We avoid the risk of genetic testing and provide penetration testing services that fit your unique needs. As part of our pen test services, you’ll be awarded personalized reports that deliver actionable results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pen test?

So, what is a penetration test? Short for pen test, a penetration test refers to a simulated cyber attack on an organization’s network, web app, or system.

The goal of pen test security is to raise the alarm bells when a hacker can easily gain unauthorized access to your system. From cloud penetration testing tools to external penetration testing tools, we have the solution you’re looking for.

What is Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS)?

Let’s face it. Hackers don’t take the day off for Christmas, so neither should your security team. Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) is a subscription service that provides your organization with continuous penetration security testing services.

Network penetration testing services offer a viable solution to the problem of cyber risks. In essence, a subscription model of penetration testing software offers an efficient way to keep up with the latest tools and techniques in the cyber security and penetration testing industry. Plus, outsourcing penetration testing provides access to a highly qualified and expert team of hackers when you need it the most.

What’s the difference between penetration testing and vulnerability scanning?

IT vulnerability and penetration testing are services commonly offered by the same cybersecurity providers. Although vulnerability and penetration testing services share some similarities, they are vastly different.

IT penetration testing is designed to detect and exploit hidden vulnerabilities whereas vulnerability scanning simply flags potential security threats. Another distinction is that ethical penetration testing involves a more targeted approach and often requires more specialized skills.

The reports released by cyber security penetration testing companies should be in-depth and require further investigation. On the other hand, vulnerability scanning tests tend to involve a more generalized list of infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Who performs a pen test?

Typically, penetration testing companies use a skilled team of experienced cybersecurity professionals. These individuals are well-versed in the industry of ethical hacking and possess extensive knowledge of the techniques used to conduct real-life attacks. Pen test partners should be able to provide clients with the insights needed to improve their overall security posture.

How is a pen test carried out and what are the steps?

There are various steps to consider when carrying out cyber security penetration testing. These can be loosely categorized as:

  • Scoping: First, the goals, limitations, and scope of the penetration test service are outlined.
  • Collecting: Information is gathered to identify potential weaknesses that double as entry points.
  • Vulnerability Analysis: Next an analysis of vulnerabilities is conducted, and issues are prioritized in terms of potential impact and likelihood of exploitation.
  • Exploiting: Next, the fun begins. Your vulnerabilities are exploited to gain access to your network.
  • Assessing: Once the damage is done, it’s time to see how far we were able to go and whether it’s possible to gain even deeper access.
  • Reporting: Lastly, the findings of the penetrating testing will be reported, alongside the potential impact of the simulated attack and recommendations to mitigate your cyber risk posture.
How much does a penetration test cost?

The cost of security penetration testing is far less than the expenses associated with a significant data breach. But as a general rule of thumb, the cost of pen testing will vary based on the size and complexity of the system, the experience of the penetration testing company, and the scope of the attack and penetration testing itself.

How long does a pen test take and how often should you have one?

A few days or a few weeks. Just like the cost of pen test services, the length of a test is relative to the size of the network and scope of the project, as well as the experience of the team.

In terms of frequency, penetration testing as a service should be performed as regularly as possible. That’s why penetration testing service providers will often offer subscription-based models to their customers.

What do you do after a pen test?

After conducting an initial test, companies specialized in penetration testing should provide you with a detailed brief of their findings. They should prioritize your vulnerabilities by their level of risk and offer plenty of solutions for their remediation. Overall, they should ensure your weaknesses are patched up and ready for the next round of crest penetration testing.

What is black box, white box and gray box testing?

The best penetration testing companies will explore different types of penetration testing to ensure their client benefits from the highest level of cybersecurity defense. More specifically, this includes:

  • Black box penetration testing: Simulates an external penetration attack in which the culprit has no prior knowledge of the customer’s security system.
  • White box penetration testing: Simulates an external attack in which the culprit has full knowledge of the customer’s security, such as its source code and architecture.
  • Gray box penetration testing: Simulates an external attack in which the culprit has greater knowledge of the customer’s security, such as access to the network infrastructure.

Depending on the unique goals of the simulated attack, different types of network penetration tests will be employed.

Are ethical hacking and penetration testing the same?

Ethical hacking, penetration testing? These are terms you will have heard of when discussing your cybersecurity strategy. Both share an overarching goal – to keep your security posture safe. However, they should not be used interchangeably as they are disparate in their functions.

Penetration testing and ethical hacking both look for vulnerabilities in your network or system. Any kind of pentest, such as website penetration testing, is designed to simulate an attack on your system and test its defenses.

On the other hand, ethical hacking encompasses a broader range of hacking techniques that are used to improve the security of your organization. This being said, physical penetration testing is still a type of ethical hacking.

Our services

Successful organizations are constant targets for malicious actors. Those who take security seriously don’t test their defenses once a year, they subscribe to CovertSwarm to attack continuously through our services.