Did you know that computer, tablet, and phone applications account for 70% of all cyber attack vulnerabilities? One of the reasons for this is because application developers rarely account for security either during application development or deployment. However, faulty application development is not the only issue. Other issues that create opportunities for hackers include:
When it comes to handling cyber threats, many companies are still in reactive mode. For instance, a lot of companies still rely too heavily on intrusion detection systems (IDS). While the IDS format was the standard for many companies, times have changed detection systems are no longer meeting the security needs of companies.
IDS is not a standalone security solution, it is not scalable, and it can also spit out false positives & negatives. Plus it can’t monitor encrypted packets, and it can crash if there are bugs or damaged files in the network. Furthermore, IDS needs ongoing updates, which means that it can miss a whole new wave of malware if the administrator doesn’t make the necessary updates.
On another level, malware and virus protection software protection that is often installed on computers, phones, and tablets also runs in detection mode. It does not necessarily stop a cyber attack from happening. It just tries to kill the attack after it has entered the system. While virtual private networks (VPNs) offer a better solution due to IP masking, virtual tunneling, and data encryption, there are only a handful of companies out there that users can trust. Plus, VPNs were never designed to handle large-scale business networks.
While IDS solutions are great for monitoring and detecting criminal cyber activity, they do not necessarily stop it. It is the equivalent of watching someone break into your home. It begs the question, “Now What?”.
Let’s go back to the home break-in scenario.
If you wanted to find out how easy it was to break into your home after you locked the doors pulled the shades, turned out the lights and set the alarm, who would you call? You would probably try to find someone who was exceptional at finding ways to get into the house without tripping the alarm, unlocking the doors, or pulling the shades up. In other words, they would find ways of breaking in that you hadn’t thought of yet. Furthermore, they would come around every few weeks to do the same thing.
That is precisely what penetration testing is.
A penetration test is a simulated cyber attack against your IT entire infrastructure to find ways of getting into your network that everyone missed during the last check. These vulnerabilities can be anything from firewalls and detection software to user errors, simple passcodes, or phone apps.
They can also include more complex components such as protocol interfaces (APIs) or front end & backend servers. The goal of the penetration test is to discover where, why, and how vulnerability has occurred and what strategy your IT provider needs to deploy to tighten security. Ironically, penetration testing is performed by security professionals who have expertise in cybercrime. They are hackers.
Penetration testing can be broken down into five main stages:
1. Establishing the Objective of the Test
The administrator needs to determine what will be tested and why. What does the IT team hope to find and where? This is also the stage in which the admin gathers data to understanding why a component in the network is vulnerable.
2. Monitoring Each Attempt
During this step, the technician will attempt to understand how the target component will respond to different attempts at breaking the system. How will it behave while it is in operation? What is the real-time response?
3. Attacking the System
The IT team goes on an all-out operative to attack either the target or the entire system, hoping that it will reach the target. IT companies utilise a wide range of high-level tactics and software to exploit the system. Testers may heighten user privileges, steal data, intercept network traffic, and then analyse the damage.
4. Maintain the Intrusion
Since malware can lurk in a network for months, testers will keep the simulated threats in the system for long periods to see how they exact when they are just “hanging around,” so to speak. This is how most cyber attacks occur. They are rarely a “drive-by” phenomenon. A company can have malware in the network for six months to two years before it finally attacks at the right moment.
Once the penetration test is concluded, the IT team will analyse the results to find out what targets were exploited, what data was accessed or stolen, and how long the simulated threats were in the system before the system detected them.
There are several ways that an IT company can test a network, including:
Penetration testing may be the most crucial tool in an IT company’s security arsenal. The reason for this is because it offers both detection and prevention measures, and allows an IT team to find the right solutions for securing your network.
If you are looking for real solutions to real problems in cybersecurity, then contact Invotec. We offer IT solutions and penetration testing in Melbourne. To contact our service team directly, please use our Service form. We look forward to hearing from you.