Nowadays the Internet opens vast opportunities for individuals and businesses to make their lives easier by introducing easy access to everything one may need. But with these opportunities comes the threat of exposing security. And the smarter our technologies become, the more ways hackers find to expose vulnerabilities and use these vulnerabilities to their own interest.
That’s why increasing security awareness by learning the basics via means of cybersecurity training, courses, and other educational programs are more important than ever, taking into account the disastrous effects of successful breaches.
Apart from learning about the threats for personal protection, it’s crucial to make sure that your system is prone to outside attacks. As statistics show, a new hacking attempt happens every minute. The simplest yet the most effective method is to request to hack it using the services of ethical hacking companies.
The main reasons for this are as follows:
Discover system weak points
The majority of successful attempts to penetrate into systems start with looking for the most vulnerable places to attack, in addition to using backdoors. This usually starts with port scanning to find out what protocols are used to send and receive data, searching for non-protected login pages to initiate brute-force attacks using software for guessing passwords, and uploading viruses or malware through infected files.
Among other popular attacks to infect your system with malware or ransomware are MySQL injections, remote scripts execution, cross scripting, and PHP exploits, just to name a few.
Image source: Bitninja
What is even more frightening than the majority of successful security breaches is the fact that they often go unnoticed until your data is publicly exposed, so it may take months to realize that your system was hacked.
Taking into account that the number of known vulnerabilities is constantly increasing and according to recent reports, there were almost 5,000 new vulnerabilities discovered, you may fall an easy target for hackers just because you are not aware of these weaknesses. The sooner you find and eliminate them, the fewer chances there are to fall victim to malicious attacks.
Assess the readiness of your staff
Even with the latest security software, if your business involves operations done by humans, it’s at risk of social engineering. Outside the standard hacks on the technology side, it’s an effective way to obtain the sensitive info or bring your system down causing issues even to large corporations with fully equipped security teams.
While everyone clearly understands what details cannot be shared, we’re all humans, and the minds of threat actors are really clever. They can pretend to be someone they are not using the pretext of a client asking you to check a link with instructions that most likely contain viruses.
Another option may be “an executive” who yells demanding money transfer or providing an employee’s address right away under the guise of showing they have information on the person. They can even combine social engineering with other techniques.
For instance, phishing combined with social engineering may force you to open a fraud website that is masked as a real one and reveal your personal data or bank account details to get what they wanted. If your employees appear to be not ready for such checks, it may be the point to organize additional security learning programs.
Image source: Social-engineer.org
Improve security procedures
As a result of a successful security incident and conducting its analysis, your team may discover the lack of security procedures, such as:
- Necessary additional code security reviews before moving to production
- The necessity to restrict access to resources containing clients’ personal information or company’s sensitive data
- The need to protect tools for internal usage with a Virtual Private Network via two-factor authentication
- A required automatic password rotation (including making the password strength requirements more strict)
- An email policy that may limit the opening of email attachments on work computers
- Reorganization of the ownership verification for your external customers
Needless to say that the findings will be less painstaking and more effective if they would have been discovered during the simulated hacking attack because you’re more adequately prepared and not in damage control mode.
Optimize security investments
Hacking your own system is a costly solution since the cheapest penetration tests typically start at $4,000—and that’s just the test itself. Additional spending on the analysis and the report as well as possibly implementing the recommendations that often include additional anti-malware licenses and other software is also a cost to consider.
However, taking into account that a successful breach can cost you your whole business, these numbers are fully justified, and moreover, these investments will not only show vulnerabilities but also ways to strengthen your security.
Have the reliability proofs
It may happen that your security investments in people, software, and networks were fruitful and any security audits and pen tests would confirm that your system is well-protected and prone to malicious attacks. Having your system hacked is a perfect way to find out if it is protected enough.
Even technology giants are constantly monitoring and increasing their security levels as well as encouraging specialists via bounty programs to report found vulnerabilities to make systems more reliable. Almost every day, a new hacking method appears and it’s not possible to make the system secure once and for good.
However, knowing that the current protection level is sufficient would be a great motivation for your employees (especially those engaged in security development for your business).
There are many ways of testing the stability of your system simulating real attacks starting from simpler ones such as hiring an independent consultant and conducting routine social engineering checks to more complex approaches combining the blind testing techniques when hackers are not aware of the current security protection used in the system or running double-blind tests when your personnel does not even know that the attack is simulated to execute the available protection means using the existing teams’ full capacity—or to see if just the opposite is true: an inside attack going unnoticed. Eventually, though, we’d the answer to the main question:
Will your system be ready for a real hacking attempt?