Excellent post nash.  Thanks!

I agree with you for the most part.  You have a view of pen testing that
is quite sophisticated (especially compared to the usual drivel).  I
agree with you so much that I included pen testing as the third most
important touchpoint in my new book "Software Security" www.swsec.com.
It is the subject of chapter 6.  All the code review and architectural
risk analysis in the world can still be completely sidestepped by poor
decisions regarding the fielded software.  Pen testing is ideal for
looking into that.

But there are two things I want to reiterate:
1) pen testing is a bad way to *start* working on software
security...you'll get much better traction with code review and
architectural risk assessment.  {Of course, what nash says about the
power of a live sploit is true, and that kind of momentum creation may
be called for in a completely new situation where biz execs need basic
2) pen testing can't tell you anything about how good your security is,
only how bad it is.
3) never use the results of a pen test as a "punch list" to attain


company www.cigital.com
podcast www.cigital.com/silverbullet
book www.swsec.com

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