Security Audit

Top 10 Penetration Testing Companies UK [Updated]

Updated on: June 28, 2024

Top 10 Penetration Testing Companies UK [Updated]

With 7.78M attacks in the first 6 months of 2024, generative AI-fuelled attacks and continuous threat exposure have made the threat landscape even more turbulent in the United Kingdom. 

Moreover, even with Zero-Trust infrastructure, human error and zero days can leave your organization exposed to an AI-powered hacker. This is where penetration testing steps in, but with 50+ penetration testing companies in UK or elsewhere, who can you trust? 

As such, our security experts have curated a list of the top 10 providers, focusing on essential criteria such as qualified testers, robust management platforms, login bypass capabilities, insightful reports, compliance expertise, clear timelines, and competitive pricing.

List of Top 10 Penetration Testing Companies UK

  1. Astra Pentest
  2. Invicti
  3. SecurityHQ
  4. ThreatSpike Red
  5. Sencode
  6. Redscan
  7. Aardwold Security
  8. Dhound
  9. CyberQ Group
  10. Acunetix

Why Astra is the best in pentesting?

  • We’re the only company that combines automated & manual pentest to create a one-of-a-kind pentest platform
  • Vetted scans ensure zero false positives
  • Our intelligent vulnerability scanner emulates hacker behavior & evolves with every pentest
  • Astra’s scanner helps you shift left by integrating with your CI/CD
  • Our platform helps you uncover, manage & fix vulnerabilities in one place
  • Trusted by the brands you trust like Agora, Spicejet, Muthoot, Dream11, etc.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is a proactive security measure that combines automation, AI, and human expertise to pinpoint, analyze, and prioritize vulnerabilities and zero days in your digital infrastructure.

Moreover, the ideal pentester equips a detailed report with exhaustive analysis, compliance alerts, recreation steps, and remediation guidance for each vulnerability. In addition to the general GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and UK GDPR, here are a few other compliance and regulatory standards that govern cybersecurity:

Data Protection Act, 2018

Designed to complement the UK GDPR, while not directly a cybersecurity regulation, DPA 2018 focuses on how organizations handle personal data. It requires organizations to implement appropriate measures to secure personal data, including practices that mitigate cyber risks like unauthorized access or data breaches.

Network and Information Systems (NIS) Regulations

UK’s NIS Directive, scheduled to be replaced by NIS 2 in October’24, mandates energy, transport, and healthcare companies to improve cybersecurity by reporting attacks, managing risk, and developing backup plans in case of attacks.

Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021

The given act strengthens UK’s telecommunications infrastructure by empowering authorities to tackle threats, manage vulnerabilities, and impose sanctions on operators that fail to comply with cybersecurity requirements.

PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations)

PECR safeguards user privacy in electronic communications (emails, marketing messages) and combats spam. Though not purely cybersecurity, it helps prevent malicious actors from misusing these channels with non-compliance, incurring fines going up to £500,000.

UK eIDAS (Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations 2016)

An extension of the EU’s eIDAS framework, it establishes standards for electronic identification (eID) and trust services like digital signatures to ensure the security and reliability of electronic transactions, making them less susceptible to cyber fraud.

Digital Technology Assessment Criteria 

The DTAC framework is used within the National Health Service (NHS) to assess the cybersecurity of digital health technologies using vulnerability management and secure development practices to ensure the safety of data in the healthcare sector.

Top Penetration Testing Companies UK Compared

FeaturesAstra PentestInvictiSecurityHQ
Pentest CapabilitiesWeb and Mobile Applications, Cloud Infrastructure, API, and NetworksWeb applications and APIsApplications, network, API, and cloud
AccuracyZero false positives (Assured with Vetted Scans)False positives possibleFalse positives possible
Scan Behind LoginsYesNoNo
Compliance scansGDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, and ISO 27001PCI-DSS, HIPAA, OWASP, ISO 27001CREST and ISO 27001
Expert RemediationYesYesYes
Publicly Verifiable CertificationYesNoNo
Workflow IntegrationsJIRA, GitHub, GitLab, Slack, CI Circle, and JenkinsJIRA, GitHub, GitLab, Kenna, and BitbucketCloudflare, Microsoft Sentinel, IBM QRadar and more
CostStarting at $1999 per yearAvailable on quoteAvailable on quote

Top 10 Penetration Testing Companies in the UK

1. Astra Pentest

Astra dashboard - penetration testing companies UK

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Web and Mobile Applications, Cloud Infrastructure, API, and Networks
  • Accuracy: Zero false positives (Assured with Vetted Scans)
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scans: GDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, and ISO 27001
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: Yes
  • Workflow Integrations: JIRA, GitHub, GitLab, Slack, CI Circle, and Jenkins
  • Cost: Starting at $1999 per year

Astra Pentest stands out as one of the leading penetration testing companies UK. We combine the efficiency of automation with the in-depth analysis of manual testing, run 9,300+ tests and compliance checks by security veterans with over 50 years of combined experience, and ensure a comprehensive security assessment.

Going beyond just numbers, our expert-vetted scans eliminate false positives, saving you valuable time and resources. Our in-depth manual testing, conducted with a hacker’s mindset, uncovers critical vulnerabilities like payment gateway hacks and business logic errors.

Catering to a diverse customer base across industries and borders, we leverage industry-specific AI test cases, a world-class GPT-powered chatbot for streamlined communication, and customizable reports to ensure a smooth experience and save your organization millions of dollars in potential security breaches.

Why Astra

Pros:

  • Pentest by security experts with OSCP, CEH & CVEs under their name
  • Continuous proactive pen testing available via vulnerability scanner 
  • Customized executive and engineer-friendly reporting
  • Scan behind logged-in pages

Limitations:

  • 1-week trial available at $7

2. Invicti

Invicti Dashboard - Top Penetration Testing Companies UK

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Web applications and APIs
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance Scans: PCI-DSS, HIPAA, OWASP, ISO 27001
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: JIRA, GitHub, GitLab, Kenna, and Bitbucket
  • Cost: Available on quote

With its headquarters in London, Invicti has earned a reputation as one of the leading automated application and API penetration testing solutions for enterprises in the UK. Its scalable, multi-user platform with holistic integration is designed to facilitate DevSecOps.

With comprehensive customization toggles, proof-based scanning helps reduce false positives, while graphical representations of vulnerability analyses improve data presentation. , compliance assistance, and a very transparent way of presenting data

Pros:

  • Can assist with several compliances.
  • Quick and easy installation.

Limitations:

  • API endpoint scanning can be improved.
  • Slows down while scanning large applications.

3. SecurityHQ

SecurityHQ penetration testing companies UK dashboard

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Applications, network, API, and cloud
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance Scans: CREST and ISO 27001
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: Cloudflare, Microsoft Sentinel, IBM QRadar and more
  • Cost: Available on quote

Based in London, as one of the penetration testing companies in the UK, SecurityHQ offers an end-to-end vulnerability scanner and manager. Its intelligence analytics and action-first reports provide clear remediation steps to foster a proactive security culture.

Designed to support scaling organizations, it is an excellent fit with OSCP, GPEN, GWAPT, CEH qualified security experts to ensure comprehensive testing.

Pros:

  • User-friendly and easy to set up.
  • Offers multiple deployment option on Windows, Linux, and SaaS.

Limitations:

  • Can be a little expensive

4. ThreatSpike Red

ThreatSpike Red- penetration testing companies UK

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Web app and network
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance Scans: OWASP, ISO 27001, SOC 2. and PCI-DSS
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: None
  • Cost: Starting from $7,000 per year

Adding to the list, ThreatSpike Red is another London-based UK penetration testing company well known for its unlimited offensive security testing packages. Using a blend of automation and manual testing, it offers detailed reports.

Starting with vulnerability scans, they go beyond traditional pentest to conduct red team exercises, segment analysis, and threat simulations to ensure holistic security.

Pros:

  • Quick turnaround by the customer support team.
  • Offers additional functionality outside of pure EDR.

Limitations:

  • Need a web interface to display reports and findings.

5. Sencode

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Web application, network, mobile app, and API
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance Scans: CREST and GDPR
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: Yes
  • Workflow Integrations: None
  • Cost: Available on quote

Located in Durham, Sencode conducts exhaustive penetration tests for various assets ranging from applications to networks. Conducted by OSCP and  CREST qualified personnel, it offers free retesting with every pentest they conduct.

Most importantly, they offer a testing certificate to help you demonstrate your commitment to security.

Pros:

  • Provides detailed reports with executive and business risk summaries.
  • Designed as per OWASP guidelines.

Limitations:

  • Needs more transparency in pricing plans.

6. RedScan

Redscan - penetration testing companies UK

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Applications, Cloud, and Network
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scans: CREST, OWASP, PCI-DSS, ISO, 
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: JIRA, ZenDesk, ServiceNow and more
  • Cost: Available on quote

Based out of the capital, RedScan offers extensive cybersecurity services under the KROLL umbrella. In addition to the traditional assets, it helps manage human risk with social engineering penetration testing services.

Redscan’s CEH, CREST, CISA, and CISM-qualified security experts conduct annual and continuous pentests with minimal business operation disruption.

Pros:

  • Ease of deployment and enrollment.
  • Conducted by CREST-certified experts. 

Limitations:

  • Customer support turnaround can be slow at times.

7. Aardwolf Security

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Applications, Cloud Infrastructure, API, and Networks
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance Scans: GDPR & OWASP
  • Expert Remediation: No
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: None
  • Cost: Available on quote

As a company in Buckinghamshire, Aardwolf Security offers various cyber essential and penetration testing services in UK. Designed primarily to target the OWASP Top 10, it covers a variety of approaches and targets. 

Furthermore, Aardwolf offers database reviews, social engineering, and actionable reports that help ease remediation.

Pros:

  • Quick and detailed communication for transparency.
  • Offers GDPR compliance.

Limitations:

  • Do not offer transparency in pricing packages.
  • All compliances are not covered.

8. Dhound

Dhound.io - penetration testing companies UK

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Web and mobile applications
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance Scans: GDPR, SOC2, HIPAA, PCI DSS
  • Expert Remediation: No
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: WordPress
  • Cost: Available on quote

Established in Leeds, Dhound specializes in UK web and mobile application penetration testing services. Equipped with CEH, CISSP, OSWE, and other certifications, their security experts conduct hacker-like pentests.

Known for its simple yet effective reports, Dhound provides complimentary retesting of vulnerabilities and patches rolled out.

Pros:

  • Supports compliance-based penetration testing.
  • Offers a smart alerting system.

Limitations:

  • The speed of the software can be improved.

9. CyberQ Group

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Applications, cloud, and data structure (internal and external)
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scans: CREST & ISO27001
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: None
  • Cost: Available on quote

Established in Birmingham, CyberQ Security offers a variety of services, from Cyber Due Diligence and Managed SOC to Penetration Testing and 365 Audits on demand. They cover internal and external infrastructure, as well as web apps, and help pinpoint potential CVEs.

Moreover, CyberQ offers fixed pricing plans with easy scaling, CREST certification, and compliance support. However, they are only available on a quote, depending on your individual needs.

Pros:

  • Ensures thorough penetration testing of your digital infrastructure

Limitations:

  •  Pricing can be more transparent.

10. Acunetix

Key Features:

  • Pentest Capabilities: Web applications
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scans: OWASP, ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, NIST
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Publically Verifiable Certification: No
  • Workflow Integrations: ira, GitHub, GitLab, DevOps, and Mantis
  • Cost: Available on quote

Acunetix, a product under the Invicti umbrella, is also based in London. The automated penetration testing tool seamlessly integrates with your firm’s CI/CD pipeline and GRC platforms to streamline workflow. 

It tests for 4500+ vulnerabilities and offers detailed reports to empower your developers with steps for re-creation and clear remediation guidance.

Pros:

  • Easy to schedule scans.
  • Quality user interface of web app and reports.

Limitations:

  • LFI and reconnaissance may require more inceptions.
  • Login sequencing can generate errors.

What are Some Common Vulnerabilities You Should Look For? 

Hacking involves a different way of looking at problems that no one’s thought of. 

Walter O’Brien
Common Vulnerabilities You Should Look For

1. Misconfigured Systems:

The above refers to improperly set up systems with default configurations or insecure settings that attackers can leverage to gain unauthorized access, escalate privileges, or disrupt operations.

Detection: Penetration testers manually review system configurations, analyze network protocols, and attempt to exploit common misconfigurations documented in security advisories, such as scanning for open ports using enumeration tools.

2. Weak Authentication:

Weak passwords, a lack of multi-factor authentication (MFA), and reliance on easily guessable credentials lead to weak authentication, which allows attackers to gain unauthorized access to systems and data.

Detection: Pentesters attempt brute-force attacks against login pages, test for weak password policies, and simulate social engineering tactics like phishing emails to trick users into revealing credentials and estimate business risk.

3. Outdated Software:

Unpatched software with known vulnerabilities can allow attackers to install fatal malware, steal data, or take control of systems.

Detection: Security experts identify and compare various software versions against vulnerability databases to pinpoint and exploit known vulnerabilities in unpatched software components.

4. Injection Flaws:

These vulnerabilities occur when user input is not properly sanitized before the system processes. Hackers can inject malicious code, such as SQL injection or XSS, to manipulate data or gain unauthorized access.

Detection: Pentesters attempt to inject specially crafted payloads into forms and other user input fields to verify if the system can be tricked into executing malicious code.

5. Broken Access Control:

When certain users or user roles have more access than they need or access controls are not properly enforced, hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to access unauthorized data, modify configurations, or impersonate legitimate users.

Detection: Penetration testers attempt to access resources or functionalities they shouldn’t have access to based on their assigned user role. For inconsistencies, they may also analyze access control lists (ACLs) and user permissions.

6. Unsecured APIs:

Unsecured Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) can be exploited to steal data, disrupt services, launch further attacks within the system, or trigger supply chain attacks.

Detection: Security experts analyze API documentation and attempt unauthorized access to API endpoints through fuzz testing and sending unexpected inputs to identify potential vulnerabilities.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Penetration Testing Company UK

Expertise and qualifications:

Look for a penetration testing service with a team with industry-recognized certifications like CREST or OSCP to demonstrate its expertise in testing methodologies and ethical hacking techniques.

Methodology:

Understand the various testing methodologies available in the market, such as black-box, white-box, and grey-box, and which is the ideal choice for you. Employ a UK penetration testing company that specializes in the above.

Communication and Reporting:

Ensure that the pentest company of your choice provides clear and concise communication throughout the engagement, with regular updates on the testing progress. Evaluate the reporting format to ensure it meets the needs of all the stakeholders involved.

Compliance:

Ensure the company has experience performing tests aligned with your industry’s compliance needs (e.g., SOX, ISO, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and more). A CREST/ CHECK accreditation also ensures an ethical yet thorough assessment.

Cost & Timelines:

Penetration testing costs vary based on engagement scope, testing methodology, and team size. Obtain quotes from various agencies, but remember to consider value over just price—the most expensive/affordable option isn’t always the best fit.

Still not sure? Check out what WireMock CTO Tom Akehurst has to say!

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity threats are relentless, and the burden often falls disproportionately on CISOs. However, choosing the right penetration testing company in the UK can be daunting.

Focus on the key criteria: expertise, methodology, communication, compliance, cost, and timelines. Look for qualified testers, a clear testing approach, and detailed reports with actionable recommendations.

Most importantly, the most expensive or affordable option is not always the most effective fit for your needs.

FAQs

How much does a pen test cost in the UK?

The cost of a pen test in the UK can vary depending on the complexity of your needs but typically ranges from £500 to £3,000 per day for third-party penetration testing platforms and experts.

Does the UK have cyber security?

Yes, the UK has a national cyber security strategy led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The NCSC works to protect critical services, manage cyber incidents, and offer advice to businesses and citizens.

Which cyber security certification is best in the UK?

Depending on your need on their needs, for a baseline defense against common threats, you can consider Cyber Essentials. For a broader information security framework, ISO 27001 is a strong choice. For senior leadership, certifications like CISSP or CISM can demonstrate expertise in managing an enterprise security program.

 

Jinson Varghese

Jinson Varghese Behanan is an Information Security Analyst at Astra. Passionate about Cybersecurity from a young age, Jinson completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Security from Northumbria University. When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, he spends his time reading InfoSec materials, playing basketball, learning French and traveling. You can follow him on Medium or visit his Website for more stories about the various Security Audits he does and the crazy vulnerabilities he finds.
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