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What’s the Difference? Penetration Testing vs. Threat Hunting
May 23, 2024
Penetration Testing vs Threat Hunting

In the dynamic world of cybersecurity, two terms often come up in discussions: penetration testing and threat hunting as the two most common techniques that can be used to counter cyber threats. Though both are essential to preserve the safety of the facility, their roles are distinct. This article gives clearer descriptions and definitions of these concepts and information on how they may be employed for the security of an organization. We will also be looking at considerations related to the automation of penetration testing together with an overview of how Prancer can help you.  

Penetration testing and threat hunting are fundamental concepts in cybersecurity that are worth understanding when looking at the protection of organizations’ systems. 

More so, in today’s world of increased exposure to technology and the internet, the necessity of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. It has become a necessity that organizations to fend off a ceaseless attack by cyber criminals. Two said approaches that are vital in this fight are penetration testing and threat hunting. Even if their usage is generally considered connected, it is important to identify them as separate activities that are, in fact, different. Now, let me explain more about what each entail and how it could fortify your security stance. 

What is Penetration Testing? 

Penetration testing is a procedure that is commonly known as “pen testing”, this is because it is a proactive activity aimed at determining the vulnerabilities of an information system. This is the process of deliberately exposing systems and networks to potentials threats and risks with the aim of performing a threat analysis on them before the hostile attackers can do so. Penetration testers or ethical hackers, knowing the tricks of the trade, try to break into the target organization’s system to determine the vulnerabilities that exist within an organization. 

So based on the context, penetration testing can be static, which is manual, or dynamic, automated. This testing technique involves a tester walking through an application to expose flaws in its design and implementation. Whereas automated penetration testing relies on using software tools to acquire information about system vulnerabilities within a shorter time span. 

What is Threat Hunting? 

Threat hunting is the process of identifying threats or breaches within a system that could not be detected through traditional security measures. While penetration testing is a form of more proactive probing, threat hunting can be described as an active search for Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) in the network. 

Threat hunters are distinct from security analysts in that they employ a blend of automated technologies and practises to uncover malicious events that other safeguards have failed to prevent. The major strength of this approach is that it is preventive and dynamic, which means it is constantly fighting threats as they emerge. 

Modern cybersecurity efforts have two activities that may seem alike but are actually very different: Penetration testing and Threat hunting. 

While Penetration testing and Threat hunting are used to improve an organization’s security posture, they are different in the scope and approach. 


Penetration Testing: It identifies the vulnerable points by portraying attacks on the target facility. 

Threat Hunting: Analyzes and contains threats that are already present in the existing network. 


Penetration Testing: It is normally done in a cyclic nature with cycles lasting anywhere between one week to several months depending on the business model of the unit. g. , quarterly or annually). 

Threat Hunting: A process that is steady and never ending, an activity that is recurrent within the participative environment. 


 Penetration Testing: A particular approaching type of aggressive operation that consists of driving in the opponent’s weaknesses. 

Threat Hunting: Military strategy which entails the early detection of threats or dangers and subsequent elimination. 

 Tools and Techniques 

Penetration Testing: Utilizes both testing tools carried out manually and those carried out with the help of certain applications. 

Threat Hunting: Combines fully automated operation, with incident response and initial analysis of a threat. 

Automated penetration testing is a sub-process of penetration testing, this forms the base of all the penetration testing because it covers virtually all aspects of the penetration to ascertain the vulnerabilities that need to be fixed before the penetration testing process. 

Penetration testing is a traditional concept that involves using software to test security vulnerabilities. It enables undertakings to perform routine and sophisticated securities audits within shorter human resources needed intervals. Tools can easily spot well-known weaknesses and report them immediately to the user, giving them a wealth of data to work with. 

Conclusively, Prancer sets itself as an advanced automated solution provider based on its penetration testing services. This means that with Prancer in place, your systems’ vulnerabilities are constantly being checked and simulated on both the inside and competitively. 

The ways that Prancer bothers penetration testing are as follows: 

While Penetration Testing ramps up the volume on conventional security testing, Prancer adopts and utilizes automatous and manual testing. This decision is to guarantee the proper and comprehensive identification of all organizational vulnerabilities affected by the given threat. Realizing that actual penetration testing often results in disastrous consequences, Prancer’s team of professionals always use the latest tools and methods to stage the attack, take screenshots and give you a detailed assessment on what can go wrong for your organization. 

Also, Prancer brings an automation tool to penetration testing, the features offered by this software can be configured according to the company’s necessary requirements. Whether you are a startup or an established company, Prancer has all the features that must be implemented to make your systems protected. 

Threat hunting is a valuable activity as it makes threat detection more pro-active and effective. 

It’s a proactive approach that helps find attacks that an organization might have missed due to their complex nature and ability to evade standard safeguards. Cyber threats at present are not simple as they used to be, and organizations can no longer just create a security policy in response to these threats. One of the proactive approaches is threat hunting and implies addressing potential threats and risks before they will cause a tremendous amount of harm. 

The link between penetration testing and threat hunting honors the concept of penetration testing that focuses on the ways that adversaries may exploit an organization’s security vulnerabilities. 

Penetration testing and threat hunting tend to be two distinct but complementary processes that should be adopted for better security. While penetration testing assists in highlighting the vulnerabilities and fixing them, threat hunting increases the chances of identifying any threats that have likely infiltrated the network. 

The latter is supported by the fact that Prancer has a set of services that combine both approaches, giving a detailed evaluation of the security of your network. In this way, Prancer ensures you have a reasonable architecture setup that contributes to effective protection against cyber threats. 

Cybersecurity has risen rapidly over the recent years as a technological solution, and as with many new technologies, it has arrived at this stage of its evolution with the help of development in the following ways. 

Cisneros (2014) noted that the dynamic aspect of cyber threats means that the approach to defending against them must be equally dynamic. This company is aware that it is operating in the cybersecurity industry, which is evolving and requires sound and innovative tools and strategies. That is why by applying their deep understanding of compliance problems and using new advanced programs Prancer offers security to your organization at present and in the future. 


Today it will be crucial to understand the differences between penetration testing and threat hunting to develop a sound cybersecurity plan. While they both have their specific functions, they both work in supporting each other to offer optimum defense against the threat. Prancer, with its state-of-art platform for automated penetration testing, and its team of professional threat hunters, is all you need to in your endeavour to stay safe from cyber threats. 

It is also necessary to distinguish between penetration testing and threat hunting to answer the question What is the main difference between penetration testing and threat hunting?

Penetration testing and threat hunting are two different approaches to identifying vulnerabilities in IT systems. Penetration testing is the simulation of an attack on an IT system, in order to check the susceptibility of an ecosystem or system to hacking, with authorized consent for the test and afterward involving a penetration test to determine the outcome of While penetration testing essentially involves hacking into an organisation’s systems to expose areas that are vulnerable, threat hunting on the other hand involves methods of actively having to search for threats that already exist in a network.

How frequently should penalties for penetrating testing be done?

Penetration testing specifically, should ideally be done at regular intervals for instance quarterly, or at any other time span as may be deemed appropriate by the organization or where required by legal mandates.

Comparing manual testing and automatic testing. So, to sum it all up, is automated penetration testing capable of handling the job that is at present being done manually?

Automated penetration testing should not be viewed as a fully capable replacement for manual testing but rather a tool that can enhance the overall value of manual testing. This implies that while there are automation benefits, equally, there is a need to conduct manual testing to detect sophisticated flaws that the automated testing tools cannot detect.

4. Threat hunting seems crucial as I already have security solutions; is there any need for it?

Threat hunting is critical because it aids in locating threats that standard security solutions did not detect or prevent, making for a more proactive security strategy.

5. What makes Prancer a novel method of threat hunting, as compared to the conventional approaches to threat hunting?

Based on that, Prancer utilizes integrated, self-synchronized, and self-updated analytical tools that provide expert analysis of significant threats, thus covering rather obvious but also complex threats. The former deals with penetration testing versus threat hunting and brings added security to the table; allowing Prancer to present state of the art security solutions.