Pen Test to Avoid a Mess
It seems that in today’s current climate, security breaches and cyberattacks are increasing. These breaches and any consequent interruptions in the performance of services or applications, can result in direct financial losses, threaten organisation’s reputations, erode customer loyalties, attract negative press and even trigger significant fines and penalties. A recent study found that the average cost of a data breach for the affected company is now a staggering $3.5 million. It is essential that enterprises adopt a comprehensive prevention strategy to protect themselves from the likes of BEC, phishing campaigns and other email threats just to name a few.
So, where is a good place to start?
Let us introduce you to penetration testing with SecureAuth + CoreSecurity
What is it?
Pen-tests evaluate the security of the service you provide to your users by safely trying to exploit vulnerabilities. Essentially, the goal is to get as far through your system as possible. They find the areas that are vulnerable to an attack and continue to push through it and obtain as much information as possible. After the test is complete, you will have a report allowing you to see your weaknesses and areas they were able to breach and in turn where you need to implement stronger security initiatives. On top of that, you will know where to start as the data will tell you the order of importance and severity. You can either ask the pen-tester to focus their efforts on a particular area or alternatively they can go in completely blind. No matter which you choose, both provide valuable insights surrounding your company’s security health.
Why is it important to do pen tests?
Often businesses get caught in the routine of testing their organisation because they must adhere to compliance protocols. With pen tests, SecureAuth + CoreSecurity are proposing a change of perspective, whereby enterprises use the findings from the tests to better secure their business and not just out of compulsion. Its time to start seeing the true value behind pen tests and the benefits it can have for you enterprise:
1. Allow you to intelligently manage vulnerabilities
With the knowledge gained from the final report, you can more effectively tackle any potential vulnerabilities that exist and remediate ones that could lead to something more severe. Acting upon this acquired knowledge helps you lessen the gap between your organisation and bad actors, allowing you to have more control over your security posture
2. Avoid the cost of network downtime
Not only do breaches cost you your information (or the information of those you serve), but it could halt your business operations depending on the severity of the breach.
It could be difficult to quickly remediate and secure your organisation to get everything back up and running. Is it worth it to avoid pen-testing and wait for problems to arise?
3. Preserve corporate image and customer loyalty
There are two potential issues here. You could have pen-tested your organisation and didn’t patch the vulnerabilities, or you could have completely forgotten about needing to conduct a pen test. You won’t want to find yourself in either of these situations as one way or another the news will get out.
By taking ownership of your business and with that- your pen tests- you establish a culture of trust that is essential for customer retention. It’s an opportunity to show that you care about the security of those that you work with and for.
When should they be done?
- On a regular basis to create a more consistent and lower-risk security program
- When new network infrastructure or applications are added
- Significant upgrades or modifications are applied to infrastructure or applications
- New office locations are established
- Security patches are applied
- End user policies are modified
So, now that you know how beneficial these tests are just how do you do one?
Planning and preparation
- Decide on a clear objective
- Receive authorisation from IT operations
- Decide which members of your team will be involved in the testing, decide who will execute the pen test as well as who needs to know a test is occurring
- Next action is scoping, identify the machines, systems and network, operation requirements and the staff involved. Coordinating with IT operations is vital as it will ensure that while the pen tests are being conducted, the daily running’s of the business can continue smoothly
- Start investigating the organisation’s online presences. These include email addresses, LinkedIn and domain name information. This is the kind of information that an attacker may look to leverage during their attack
- During this phase the team performs reconnaissance against a target to gather as much information as possible to utilize when penetrating the target
- A pen tester will most likely use automated tools to scan target assets for known vulnerabilities. These tools will most likely have their own databases detailing the latest vulnerabilities
- Completion of this vulnerability assessment will produce a list of targets to investigate in depth
- Results from these scans can be overwhelming, with thousands or even tens of thousands of assets and vulnerabilities. It’s important to ensure you have effective prioritisation methods in place that can provide contextual information behind these vulnerabilities. Having this will equip you with the information you’ll need to decide on what to test first
- Once vulnerabilities have been successfully exploited on a particular system, testers may attempt to use the compromised system to launch subsequent exploits on other internal resources
- Penetration attempts don’t end here. Organised social engineering campaigns with phishing emails can also be effective at gauging employee awareness, the impact of their behaviour, and adherence to existing security controls
Analysis and reporting
- Final report should start with an overview of the pen testing process, followed by an analysis of high-risk vulnerabilities
- These critical vulnerabilities are addressed first with lower-risk vulnerabilities following in suit
- Organisations may accept the risk incurred from less critical vulnerabilities and focus on fixing the most critical threats that could negatively impact business processes
Clean up and remediation
- A detailed and exact list of actions performed during the pen test should be recorded
- Compromised hosts should be restored to their original state, so that they don’t negatively impact the organisation’s operations
- Once the testing exercises have been completed on the target systems, all available patches should be deployed according to the criticality of the vulnerability
- After patches have been deployed, it is best practice to validate remediated vulnerabilities to ensure they were properly mitigated
Are you ready to get started? Get in touch with Mobliciti today and talk to our team about how you could make pen testing an essential part of your complete risk assessment strategy.
Pen test to avoid a mess!