Organizations that are focused on their security may consider several security assessments. But what is a penetration test and why do you need one?
What is a Penetration Test?
To put it simply, a penetration test is an authorized simulated attack on a computer system or application that looks for security weaknesses. To protect your organization, a penetration test should be run once a year or after a major change to your environment. You’ll receive a detailed report explaining what data was compromised and examples of compromised data. Experienced cybersecurity firms will utilize an experienced ethical hacker since a penetration test is a manual test done by an experienced security expert using multiple tools and techniques.
Penetration Test vs. Vulnerability Scan
No matter your size, all organizations should regularly check their network and systems for vulnerabilities that can allow outsiders to have access to your critical data.
There are two methodologies to do this – Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing. A common error in the cybersecurity world is to confuse these services or to use them interchangeably. Most cybersecurity experts will agree that both services are important and they should be used together to have a comprehensive security program. Read more.
Why Perform a Periodic Security Assessment?
Organizations are increasingly bound by governmental regulations that dictate what security measures must be in place and how they are to be audited. PCI, FISMA, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, NERC, and GSA among others all dictate how to secure different types of data and the systems that manage them. These regulations also require regular security posture assessments.
While regulations are often the driving factor, they aren’t the only reason why an organization should perform (or better yet, have a third party perform) periodic assessments of their infrastructure. A Security Assessment is the equivalent of an organization’s State of the Union. It is a report that looks at every aspect of security and details the severity and potential impact of risks to the company. Furthermore, it produces the fundamental information required to create a roadmap to successfully secure business. To navigate to any destination you must first know where you are.
What Should Be Assessed?
To begin, most organizations only focus on IT data systems or penetration tests during Security Assessments, and this is where things go wrong very quickly. Yes, it is important that the firewall blocks bad guys and workstations are kept secure, but what about phone systems or printers? Will your users recognize and report a phishing email attempt? What is the process for when an employee exits your organization? Did anyone remember to disable their key card to the building? A thorough Security Assessment will go beyond the typical IT systems assessment. Here is a list of security domains that should be considered during a Security Assessment:
- Access control
- Information Governance and Risk Management
- Infrastructure Architecture and Design
- Operations Security
- Network and Telecommunications Security
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans
- Governmental Regulations
- Incident Management Policies and Procedures
- Physical Security
- IT Security Training Programs
- Network Boundaries
What about after the Security Assessment?
It is shocking to think that most companies will pay for a third party to audit their systems, processes, facilities, and personnel; then, do nothing to resolve the discovered issues. A high percentage of companies will fail to close gaps discovered during security audits. A vulnerability of any size is important no matter where it exists. All an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) really needs is a toe hold. Once one is presented no matter how small, attackers will use it to gain access to your company’s data.
Once you have received your assessment results, it is imperative to either fix discovered issues or create compensating controls to avoid these issues from being leveraged. As Rob Joyce points out in his video, most companies and organizations fail to act even after issues have been discovered, documented, and reported. Joyce also says not to assume any crack in your defenses is too small or insignificant to be exploited. These toe-holds are exactly what Advanced Persistent Threats are looking for in your environment.
Companies put a lot of effort into securing revenue streams, banking information, and payroll information by default. These areas, they feel, are important to protect. Most companies have a provision in the employee handbooks that instruct employees not to discuss salary information with fellow employees. We don’t often find this level of care and communication when it comes to IT security. Accountants frequently audit the bank and company for fraudulent activities.
It’s time that companies added IT security to this list of very important, very well understood activities. Yearly assessments should be the norm and the findings should be well communicated within the company. IT security cannot be the sole responsibility of a few guys in the back of the building. Every employee has to be involved because every employee is a target.
The journey to a secure organization begins with the first step. Your first step should be a Security Assessment to know where to place your foot, and how to find the path ahead. Contact Cybriant to begin your journey. Read more
7 Reasons You Need a Penetration Test ASAP
7 Reasons to Carry Out a Penetration Test
1. Discover the Vulnerabilities Hidden in Your System Early
It is imperative to identify and uncover the vulnerabilities in your system before the people who pose a threat to you actually do. In this regard, you have to dig deep into the threat and establish exactly what kind of information could be brought out in the event that it is discovered. By revealing whether or not an organization is susceptible to cyber-attacks and making recommendations on ways to secure your system, you protect yourself. It is important to understand the extent to which your organization is vulnerable to hackers.
2. Avoid Remediation Expenses and Reduces Overall Network Downtime
It is very costly to recover from a system attack following a security breach. These costs could be regulatory penalties, loss of business operability and even protecting your employees. By identifying the areas of weakness in your system, you not only shield your organization from massive financial losses but also spare it from reputational prejudices. Through your qualified security analysts, you can get clues on ways through which you can take steps towards, and even make investments that will establish a more secure atmosphere for your organization.
3. Establish Thorough and Reliable Security Measures
From what you discover after the penetration test, you will be able to develop necessary measures to ensure the security of your information technology systems. The results can serve as pointers to security loopholes, how real they and the degree to which they can affect the performance and functioning of your systems. The test will also make the proper recommendations for their timely precautionary measures while at the same time enable you to set up a security system that you can rely upon with the aim of making the safety of your IT systems a priority.
4. Enable Compliance with Security Regulations
Practicing the habit of conducting occasional penetration tests can help you stay in accordance with the security regulations as laid out by the security standards in authority. Some of these standards include the HIPAA, PCI and ISO 27001. This will be instrumental in helping you stay safe from the heavy fines which are normally common when compliance guidelines are not adhered to. To remain compliant to such standards, system managers ought to carry out frequent penetration tests alongside security audits as guided by the qualified security analysts. The outcome or the results of the penetration tests prompt can even e presented to the assessors of the organization as a symbol of due diligence.
5. Protect Company Image and Customer Trust
When your systems fall victim to cyber-attacks, the company image becomes tarnished in that the way the public used to view the company takes a negative hit. Consequently, customers begin to develop a concern about the security of their information in the hands of the company. The outcome of this may be a consideration on their part to seek the services of an alternative company for the same services you were offering them. Penetration testing will, therefore, help you avoid putting your company in such a position and by so doing, protect the company image as well as maintain the loyalty and the trust of your employees.
6. Prioritize and Tackle Risks Based on their Exploitability and Impact
Penetration testing will identify the areas that are vulnerable for cyber-attacks and using such results, you may be able to prioritize the potential risks and come up with a counter plan on how you are going to shield the company from the named risks. Your list of priorities could base itself on the degree to which individual risks are susceptible to exploitation by prospective hackers. You may also choose to attack the risk with a priority put upon the risk that would make for a graver impact on the company. By so doing, you will be cushioning the company against heftier hits in the event of a cyber attack crisis and by so doing deal with the risks that can easily be contained or whose impact is less harmful.
7. Keep Executive Management Informed about Your Organization’s Risk Level
Any properly working executive management of a company would always want to be kept in the loop whenever the company is at risk. More importantly, they also want to know of the level of protection the company operates in at any given time from potential cyber attackers. More information
Security Testing Tools: Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is a common service to check the viability of your cybersecurity stems.
When a penetration test is launched, the aim is to carry out a risk assessment on your organization’s security system and controls. This is done by evaluating and picking out the parts of your security firewall that may be targeted by attackers. These parts are then subjected to an attack through a penetration test. When vulnerabilities in the security system are detected, the individual or company may then find out ways to eliminate the potential risk that may arise from these loopholes. This may be done by either getting rid of the defective systems or strengthening them to ensure that they are not exploited.
Read more about the 7 Reasons you need a Penetration Test in 2019.
The evolution of information technology is so fast, that everything is already dependent on the computerization of everything. From business industries to governments in every country, they are all dependent on computers and the internet. With this development, cybersecurity experts are trying their best, to be able to find ways to protect computer systems of big corporations, government agencies, and private individuals. The goal here is to keep their important information’s secured from being hacked.
What are these Security Penetration Testing tools?
Security Penetration Testing Tools are instruments that are used by cybersecurity experts, to check your computer system’s vulnerability to such cyber attacks. It’s is because of the fast evolution of computer technology, that system updates are inevitable. The computer system should be tested, to able to determine, which part of their system is vulnerable. These are the reasons for employing these security testing tools.
Here is a list of some of popular Security Penetration Tools in addition to the tools listed above:
Wifiphisher. This tool is an access point tool. Using wifiphisher in the assessment will lead to actual infection of the system.
Burp suite. This tool is best used with a web browser. This tool is essential to check applications of their functionality and security risks.
OWASP ZAP. Another application tool, this one is better used for starters in application security.
CME. This exploitation tool helps to automate assessing the security of a large active directory network.
PowerSploit. It’s a set of modules to be used for assessments.
Immunity Inc.-Debugger. This tool is used by security experts to write exploits, analyze malware and a lot more features.
THC-Hydra. A network log-in cracker, the tool holds several details to allow users to get started.
Click here for more Security Testing Tools
Security Penetration Tests
Our security penetration test is a real-world exercise at infiltrating your network systems. We will identify the key weaknesses in specific systems or applications and provide feedback on the most at risk routes into the target.
Penetration Tests are used to identify key weaknesses in specific systems or applications and provide feedback on the most at-risk routes into the target. These tests are designed to achieve a specific, attacker-simulated goal.
Cybriant’s security professionals can assist in selecting the right approach to achieve your objective. We won’t just tell you that you have a problem; we will show you how to fix it, or we can perform the services on your behalf. Please contact us for more details on the process and schedule a complimentary consultation.
When companies focus on protecting their assets from hackers, they may overlook threat detection. As a result, threats to the network often go undetected for weeks, leaving the organization vulnerable to data theft. Learn how a security risk assessment can show your organization where it is vulnerable to a cyberattack so you can plug holes in your defenses before your organization suffers a breach.
#1 Identify Loopholes in Your Threat Protection
A security risk assessment shows where your system is strong and where it is weak. Using the data, you can hone in on loopholes that represent easy access points for hackers and come up with an action plan to fix things.
Since cyber risk assessments show the broader spectrum of your company’s cybersecurity system, they are useful when key stakeholders need to be talked into making additional investments in cybersecurity. The assessment provides demonstrated proof of vulnerabilities. When confronted with such compelling evidence, many naysayers often change their tune and finally fund the infrastructure that is needed to prevent a data breach.
#2 Fill Gaps in Cybersecurity Coverage
The typical company has several network protection systems in place. These often act as a patchwork, because the systems may be cobbled together from a variety of vendors. The cyber risk assessment will show you where gaps in coverage exist–which hackers can exploit to gain access to your system. Once you’re aware of these gaps, you can identify vendors that offer solutions to fill coverage gaps and fully protect your valuable data.
#3 Comprehensive Cybersecurity Protection
It can be easy to wonder if you are doing enough when it comes to cybersecurity. With a cyber risk assessment, you can stop asking this question because you will have a personalized road map to comprehensive protection. All your organization needs to do is follow the specific actions suggested by your organization’s threat assessment to know that you are protected to best-in-class capabilities.
Cybersecurity is something of a cat-and-mouse game. As companies arm themselves with better protection, hackers either search for easier targets or get more creative in their attacks. By prioritizing your data safety through periodic threat assessments, you can fine-tune your defenses and reduce the likelihood of suffering a devastating data breach.
Cyber Risk Assessment
Our Cyber Risk Assessment is a required step when determining the needs or success of your security program. Following NIST guidelines our risk experts perform interviews, documentation analysis, and walkthrough of physical areas to determine the state of the security program of the client. Our Cyber Risk Assessment is a useful tool at any phase of implementing a security program.
Take a look and get started today: https://cybriant.com/assessments/