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Safe way to do penetration testing?

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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
As head of IT, I've been asked to do a penetration test.  A search for free software was fruitless, except for Metasploit, but I'm concerned about running that in a production environment.  It sounds as though it tests by being doing invasive and potentially harmful simulations of actual attacks.  Obviously, I'm not looking to bring down my network.  Is penetration, by default dangerous?  What tools and software should I use?  Please note, I'm not looking to do a security audit, but a penetration test, as though I was someone malicious trying to gain network access/harm the network.  THank you.
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c0s

Commented:
try nessus scan
I would ask yourself first if you or anyone on your team is qualified to complete such a test? If not, it is ok because there are many companies out there that does an excellent job. Read this:

http://mobile.darkreading.com/9287/show/1c9e8ab7d4c897e0dc9e9f7db383a523&t=c1029c9722eb198f355c4a6bfed73437

acunetix is top notch.
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Exec Consultant
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Thanks guys for the truly great and helpful write ups!
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