Hacking a company’s data was a challenging task for hackers many years ago. However, with the development of new technologies, and global digitalisation, people who basically live online also gave a chance for hackers to find an organisation’s most vulnerable points. This is why companies, especially small businesses, know how cyber security is essential. Not investing in this field will cause many costly mistakes for any organisation, ruining its reputation and making them lose customers.
Luckily, cyber specialists also develop new ways of penetration testing, which is used to help businesses find those vulnerable points and proactively strengthen them to in advance keep users’ data safe and leave no chance for hackers. Even though some hackers may still find ways, penetration testing helps in preventing hacking of the most sensitive points and educating organisations about them, so they can take measures to boost protection.
But what is penetration testing, and how can you benefit from it? Let’s explore below.
What Is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing is a process where cyber specialists test an organisation’s vulnerable points through which its data and money can be stolen, modified or changed in any way. This may include the organisation’s networks, applications, devices as well as physical security components. Penetration testing works by mimicking the actions of malicious actors. The goal of penetration testing is to improve a company’s security and remove any vulnerabilities that can allow hackers to attack.
Why Do You Need a Penetration Test?
Penetration testing allows companies to evaluate the overall security of their IT infrastructure and make sure they are safe. Companies may have severe and efficient security protocols in one area, but in another, they lack security and may even not know it.
Since successful attacks can lead to costly improvement, no company wants to experience a real scenario and prefer to check their security protocols to avoid these costs. Therefore, penetration testing is done to expose holes in a cyber security layer allowing specialists to prevent threats before they become critical liabilities. The key things penetration testing is doing are:
- Test Security Controls — Get insights about the overall health of your digital and physical systems that can be hacked;
- Find Real-World Vulnerabilities — Identify vulnerabilities in the software systems to prevent attacks from adversaries.
- Ensure Compliance — Make sure your processes are compliant with information security compliance and strict industry standards;
What Are the Benefits of Penetration Testing?
Besides the obvious benefit that penetration testing provides, this method also allows:
- Identify the availability of security holding up under various kinds of cyberattacks;
- Explain how the attacks on low-risk vulnerabilities can lead to more serious damage at different levels;
- Find risks through automated network and scanning;
- Show how the defence protocols work when faced with an attack;
- Quantify the needed investment for future protection;
- Help prevent attacks by implementing the latest security controls.
It is also worth noting that this testing should not be a one-time action. If the organisation stays strong against hacker attacks, it needs to involve penetration testing as a regular thing in the company. This is because hackers also develop new ways and will do it forever, trying to identify where they can get through.
Therefore, updates to security patches or new elements used in an organisation’s website can open new risks while giving hackers new ways of attacking you. That’s why penetration testing should be a constant practice for all companies, like calls, revisions, career days and so on.
What Are Types of Penetration Testing?
Companies’ vulnerabilities are usually divided into three groups: hardware, software, and human. While there are many types of penetration testing below, we will look at the most common and most used ones:
Web App Penetration Testing
As the name implies, web app penetration testing is used to find open exploitation by a hacker in the web application. This is because every time a company installs a new third-party component, hackers can get access to the app and view sensitive data on a website and then the company’s systems. Cyber specialists perform the testing by:
- Carrying out attack simulations;
- Identify application security flaws;
- Determine the risk they present to a company;
- Help in preventing attacks.
Experienced cyber specialists help identify web application vulnerabilities, including:
- Cross-Site Request Forgery;
- Injection Flaws;
- Cross-Site Scripting;
- Insecure Direct Object References.
Network Security Penetration Testing
When a company wants to check networks, specialists use network security penetration testing. This allows them to identify places a hacker might use in various systems, networks, connected devices and hosts. The goal of this testing is to explore all ways hackers may find to compromise a company, get access, or steal sensitive information.
Network security penetration testing is done by identifying system-level and network flaws such as:
- Product-specific vulnerabilities;
- Wireless Network vulnerabilities;
- Rogue Services;
- Poor Passwords.
Cryptocurrency Penetration Testing
Even though the crypto world is based on blockchain, which offers high security, users still lose their money regardless of the protection levels. And cryptocurrency penetration testing is one of the most popular types, as the industry is vast and more and more attacks are happening exactly in it.
This is why cryptocurrency penetration testing is developed to find weaknesses in software, apps, web services, systems, hosts, and devices which are used by the software to perform cryptocurrency transactions or store digital assets. This testing is also done to search for social engineering aspects, such as phishing attempts on company employees and other stakeholders, which may allow hackers to gain information about passwords or other essential data.
Cryptocurrency penetration testing also mimics potential real-life treats on cryptocurrency products like:
- Bitcoin ATMs;
- Hardware Storage Facilities;
- Private Residents;
- Personal accounts;
- Weak passwords.
The number of cyber attacks is growing every day. This is because we all live online now, and companies who work remotely are the biggest target of hackers. Since successful attacks can lead to high costs to get back on track, companies prefer to use penetration services to avoid these attacks.