Penetration Testing – Make your Cybersecurity Defense Strong
- October 1, 2020
- Rubab Kazmi
Have you ever lived in a house that wasn’t safe at all? If you have, then you may surely know how frightful it is to know that a bunch of evil spirits, robbers, or wolves are outside the house, ready to attack you. And that’s the reason you fear to step out of your house. So what’s the mode of keeping yourself safe in such type of a situation? Well, let us guess, locking all the doors, having CCTV cameras, some defensive weapons or tools always in pockets. That’s what we call as a defense against physical threats to life. But have you ever thought that there lie similar threats that may haunt you every day, every hour if you’re aware of or using technology as a key method for performing your business operations? Almost half of the population in the business world today, is either unaware of cyber threats or if they are aware they are still incapable to make their defense system strong against cyber attacks and threats.
Every single day comes up with varied threats for a person. But for technopreneurs or tech leaders, these threats come up in form of cyberattacks. These attacks can eat the whole business at once, without having any digestion problem involved. That’s the reason it must be the top-notch priority of tech persons to make sure that their software products are free of errors and vulnerabilities that attackers would not be able to exploit them. This is when penetration testing comes in as a life-saving drug for software business owners. Penetration testing has long been the main method for organizations to test their defense against cyber attacks. By hiring an external penetration testing company to impersonate attackers, organizations can better identify weaknesses in their systems to prevent future violations.
Although traditional technologies still dominate the market products, penetration testing in recent years increasingly adopts new and improved test defense methods, including new attack technologies, red teams, capture signs, and bug bounty programs.
Before discussing new and modern techniques of penetration testing, let’s recall why pen testing is considered to be a life-saving drug;
- Penetration testing assists organizations in recognizing high-risk vulnerabilities, which are often challenging to detect through automated network or application vulnerability scanning.
- Pen testing is the only type of software testing that allows actual methods to assess the risks of their systems. Vulnerability scanning helps in detecting certain vulnerabilities, but ethical hackers can access networks and systems that may not be compatible with the scan and can use a manual, structured process to verify the actual exploitability of the vulnerability.
- The test provides proof to the top management for supporting increased investment in security programs, personnel, and technology. Penetration testing is utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of their security investments and their cost-effectiveness as an IT security organization. They either evaluate or assess the defenses of the new system after the plan is completed or test it before the new project to justify the budget.
- Penetration testing is a way to evaluate the ability of defenders to successfully detect and respond to attacks.
- Testing helps organizations in preventing potential future events-via spotting vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them, testing can help organizations prevent potential damage.
- Penetration tests help organizations to meet their compliance requirements.
New and advanced pen testing techniques
Some of the most popular techniques of pen testing in recent years are discussed below as;
Red Teaming – For the sake of strengthening the defense capabilities, organizations of today are increasingly adopting the red teaming method to imitate attacks on their network systems. Red teamwork is similar to pen testing but is deeper and broader than penetration testing. The mission of the red team is to replicate the cyber-attacks that are deeper than the pen test, without the scope or time limit of the pen tests. Red team exercises usually do not notify the defender. The red team can include reconnaissance and physical violation experts, phishing experts, and traditional penetration testers proficient in communications and IT.
Capture the flag or sign – Many of the organizations in the software development industry have chosen to turn penetration testing into a sort of competition-placing “signs or flags” (usually sensitive files) in a safe location on the network. The offensive penetration tester will assume the task of accessing this file or “catching the flag” by any means possible. During the simulated attack, a defensive “blue team” (usually an incident responder in the organization) will be evaluated to test its ability to detect and respond to attackers. This way of capturing flag or sign, penetration testing allows companies to test their defense capabilities more realistically, focusing on protecting sensitive data rather than the entire network.
Error or bug bounty – Another most famous way for organizations to test their cyber defenses system is none other than the bug bounty program. Various famous websites like Bugcrowd and HackerOne are offering potential attackers with ways to return discovered vulnerabilities, errors, and loopholes in exchange for rewards. Organizations use these programs to provide compensation and recognition to white hat hackers who report errors, exploits, or vulnerabilities in their systems so that organizations can patch them before they are exploited by malicious attackers. Many large organizations, provide between $10,000 and $100,000 for each verifiable discovery they report. Larger organizations can launch their own programs, and smaller companies can use bug bounty-as-service providers to run programs for their websites or applications.
Summarizing it all
Pen testing can never go out of the fashion when it comes to assessing the strength of a cyber defense system of organizations. No doubt traditional ways of conducting pen testing are highly useful but adopting any of the above-mentioned modern or advanced ways of pen testing guarantees an organization to not suffer in terms of its testing efforts. Red teaming, conducting competitions or capturing the flag, and bug bounty programs are some of the most commonly used new ways of pen testing that have proved to be beneficial for organizational success and productivity.