Hackers are always coming up with new and advanced methods for getting past your defenses. They are well experienced in their trade, and breaking past security weaknesses is their favorite pastime. As a business or a company, you can prepare better for them by testing your security systems to ensure that the hacker will not find a way in.
The best way to keep the hacker out is by hacking the system yourself and finding potential entry points that the hacker would have used to get into your information systems. Penetration testing is the art of testing security systems for any potential weaknesses and security vulnerabilities exploited by hackers.
Penetration testing can make you better prepared for the hacker when they finally make a move on your system. Hackers are always upgrading their arsenal, and their sources of information on the latest software vulnerabilities are also growing. For this reason, they are getting better, and systems that have not been patched up will be easily broken into and information stolen or leaked on a massive scale.
It would be best to carry out penetration testing for your information system, cloud applications, and back-end servers. The testing will ensure that all the points that a hacker would have used to enter your system are properly patched up, and there is no way that the hacker will be able to get into your system.
Preparation is the Best Defense
Being ready is important for any company or business with an information system with which they conduct their business transactions. Maintaining your security defenses means that you are better prepared, and the hackers will have a lot of work ahead of them if they make an attempt on your information system.
By being better prepared, you will have put up a solid defense against the hackers, and the moment they attempt to get into your system, they will have plenty to deal with. Any of the points of weaknesses that the hackers thought they would have used to get into your information system will be properly sealed up, and there will be no way that the hackers will be bl to take advantage of your systems.
Strengthening your information system security is important to curb cybersecurity threats and reduce the number of incidences at your company. By firm up your defenses, you will be making sure that the standard of performance that the hackers will have to put up will be a lot higher, which means that not every hacker will be ready to put up a solid fight when trying to enter your information system.
A hacker always requires a point of entry, and penetration testing ensures that you have identified as many attack vectors as possible to ensure that you put stronger defenses for your information.
Importance of Penetration Testing
Penetration testing ensures that you know your current security status and how well secured your information is. Whenever you conduct penetration testing on your systems, you will identify the points of weaknesses before the hackers do. Also known as white hat hacking, the art of penetration testing carries out the tests with the hacker’s mindset.
It uses the same methods and approaches that the hacker would have used to get into your information system. Using the same methods and tools as the hackers ensures that the results obtained from the tests are credible and effective for keeping information safe and secure.
Penetration testing is important for finding vulnerabilities and flaws in security systems before the hackers have a chance to take advantage of them. The penetration tester will spend hours trying to work on the security system and defenses of the company. While they carry out their tests, they will capture all the results and take notes of the weaknesses as they identify them.
They will also try to carry out several demonstrations of the various ways the hacker would get past the defenses of the security systems and steal or tamper with information. The reports are then compiled into something that can be submitted to the upper management.
In the penetration testing report, the white hat hacker will also provide recommendations on how best to patch up the security system. These recommendations are usually marked as urgent as the vulnerabilities have to be covered before the hackers can use them.
The penetration tester will also try to take advantage of structural defects in the software and the company’s information systems. They will do this to find ways to use the system in the wrong way by a hacker. For instance, does the system accept large file sizes? If it does, is this legal? Excessive file size permissions in many systems can cripple or slow down the system by uploading a monstrous file.
Hackers can use database Queries
Databases connected to web applications also need to be tested for validation testing before they can accept any data fed into them. Hackers are known to use invalid data types when filling out forms to crash the system accepting these results. An invalid data type can cause a database to lose all its data, and this feature must be tested for by the penetration tester.
The pen tester will ensure that they try working with the database in weird ways, such as entering numbers where letters are needed and including characters that are not needed in the input. These inputs are used to test whether the form will pass queries directly to the database or whether the database sanitizes the queries fed into it before executing any of them.
Some database applications can easily be hacked by entering special characters in the form. These characters are used to indicate that it is a query that is being made into the database. In the query, the hacker will use wildcard characters to force the database into spilling all the beans. Additionally, some databases can be hacked and used in an escalation of privileges attack.
The hacker uses the special characters to force the database to accept them as an administrator of the database. Once they have these permissions, they will add other users into the database without the administration getting to ever know about it. They will easily add new user accounts into the database and use these accounts as legitimate employees of the company would.
Hackers can also use escalation of privilege attacks to access the operating system underlying the database applications. Once the hacker has control over the server, they will easily install rootkits and do so much more damage to the information system. The hacker will need to understand what language the server application was written in to write database queries that include the actual code used in the application.
For instance, if the server application has been written in PHP, the hacker will use PHP code in their database queries to bypass other limits and security measures in the actual application. Hackers will try to understand the language that the web application has written in before carrying out the attack. This is done to enable the hacker to take advantage of inherent flaws in the programming languages. The research on the programming language also enables the hacker to know how best to inject code into the queries typically made through web forms.
In other cases, the hacker will reverse engineer the code used at the client-side to connect directly to the server. If it is a web application, they will inspect the code to find the entry points for all the data being submitted at the client-side. Once they have identified the interface, they will use HTTP clients to inject code into the server.
The server will not notice the difference in the code and will still execute it and return a reply to the hacker. Once the hacker has a sample of the reply that they can get from the server, they will be able to craft up requests that will be used to delve further into the web application and steal or modify the information on it.
Penetration testing is intended to determine all the points of weaknesses that exist on an application before the hacker does. The penetration tester will ensure that they try all the tricks in the book to try and get into the system. They will also note everything that they observe while carrying out the hack.
The feedback is very useful for making the security system much stronger and better at handling hackers. The hackers will not be able to get past patched-up systems. Since penetration testing has identified most security vulnerabilities, the hackers will have very little to proceed with. The hackers will not be able to attack a system that has already been patched up, and this will ensure that your company or business keeps all its information safe and secure.
With the power of penetration testing, you will stay a step ahead of hackers. The hackers will not be able to attack a system that has had its security defenses beefed up. Your company will be able to patch up all its security weaknesses early enough when you have conducted a penetration test of all your applications and systems that face the public.
Penetration testing is also carried out to ensure that your networks are powerful and secure enough to stand up to any attack. Whenever the network you use at your company is not strong or powerful enough, the hackers will take advantage of it to penetrate your information systems. Taking over a network device in your network will enable the hacker to redirect traffic over the network and even identify all the other devices on your network.
Once the hacker has this information, they will be able to plan their attack much better. As such, you must secure your networks to ensure that hackers do not have a means of getting past your defenses.
A penetration tester is an honest professional who will reveal all the weaknesses in your security system. He will work hard to ensure that he tracks down every security bug on your computer systems. The penetration tester will also use means and methods that the hacker would have used to get past your defenses.
The fact that the penetration tester is working for you also means taking a more direct approach to beat your system defenses. As such, all the flaws that exist in your security system will be easily identified and used to make your security better and more powerful. The hackers will no longer be able to creep or sneak around your security system when the penetration tester did not hold back when testing the network and other applications for security flaws.
A direct attack by the penetration tester reveals a lot more security bugs and other flaws than the hacker would find with their cautious approach.
Additionally, the employees and the company’s management are always aware when the penetration testing is taking place, and they will be able to act as if they do not have a clue about what is happening. This makes penetration testing a friendly adventure, and the entire transaction is kept secret to the company.
None of the results obtained from the penetration tests is released to the public as there has to be an agreement not to disclose any of the findings to the public. Instead, the findings are used to secure the systems and make the defenses stronger. All the recommendations made by the penetration tester have to be implemented by the company as soon as possible.
This will ensure that the company can make its systems more secure, and anytime a hacker tries to take the same approach as the penetration tester, they will find many upgrades waiting to turn them away.
Penetration testing is all about finding out how strong your security systems and defenses are. If the penetration tester can find more bugs and security flaws than a hacker can take advantage of, then your security is not up to standard, and you need to make a lot of improvements.
The penetration testing aims to ensure that hackers will not be able to easily get into your information system. The hackers will have to try harder than the penetration tester to find new weaknesses and flaws that they can take advantage of. It is important that all the recommendations that are made by the penetration tester be implemented as soon as possible as the hackers are also keen on taking advantage of these vulnerabilities.
As a company, you might not be able to predict or foresee when a hacker will be snooping around your firewalls. However, you can prepare a defense for when they finally show up. The hackers will have a hard time breaking your defenses when you have already conducted penetration testing on your system. The penetration test will ensure that, as a company, you are better prepared for a hacking attack and able to survive most of them. In the modern world, cybersecurity issues are best handled by being the most prepared party.
When you are prepared, the hackers will not get through the security measures that you have put in place for them. The hackers are always probing your system to find security flaws, and when you have patched up your system to prevent further incursions, you will be more secure, and your information will stay safer. You will also improve your system by taking steps such as improving your databases and how your web applications and web server handle queries.
You must sanitize requests and queries that are made to your web applications to ensure that you can prevent SQL injection attacks on your databases. The hackers will use source code to test whether your database is sane enough to recognize when it is being asked for the impossible. The database should be able to return error messages when it cannot process a request, and this is another way to keep the hacker away from your system.
Instead of returning a detailed error message that can reveal more details about your database system and the web applications that you use, you can simplify this into error codes. The error codes are general codes that do not provide much detail to the users of the database. When you use these error codes instead of detailed error messages, the hacker will not be able to find out more information about your database and the kind of servers you host your applications on.
The output that users receive from your servers and web applications can reveal a lot about your systems. Sometimes, it can reveal a lot more information than is necessary, and this is what hackers will be relying on to make inroads into your systems. For instance, when your database experiences an error, it should not return an entire log console of the error message. It should also not give debug output to the users.
This kind of output is only required while coding and debugging the application. The developer is the only one who should get detailed error messages from the applications. The user should only get brief error messages with an apology from the system instead of an entire console log message.
Even if the system can keep a log of the errors that it runs into, these should not be made available to the users. The web application users can use these error messages to make their way past the defense systems and even use the applications in the wrong way.
When the wrong kinds of data are fed into a web application through a form, the application must reject the data and request the correct data. For instance, all email addresses are known to have an @ sign somewhere in the middle, and when this is missing, then the address is no longer a valid email address.
For this reason, the database should reject the information and return an error to the user asking for the correct data. Without such validation measures in place, the modern database would accept all kinds of information fed into them. Some hackers would enter query strings in place of ordinary information. This tends to have amazing results, such as the database revealing more information than it should. With tools that can analyze the HTTP request as it is passing from the client to the server, the hacker will even analyze the payload as it arrives from the servers.
Some illegal entries through the web forms can cause an entire web application to crash or the server it is hosted on to restart. The hacker will look for points of entry in the most unexpected of places. It should not be a surprise to find the hacker piping command-line instructions through a web form on a website and controlling the entire server in the back end through this method.
The hackers are a creative lot, and they will try anything and everything when they are breaking into systems. The challenge of finding security flaws and using them to get into information systems is the main driving force behind many of their actions. It is also why a hacker will be willing to spend the night without sleep to find out how they can turn your database into a command-line interface. They can use the form to pipe instructions to a console on the webserver and do so much more. With the use of penetration testing, the company can be better prepared for hackers.
Penetration testing ensures that most of the hacker’s methods will have been tried before the hackers themselves. This will ensure that the hackers are unable to break into the system. The hackers will not be able to use methods that have already been patched for and the system upgraded to ensure that the system does not respond or behave in the manner that they would have been expecting.
The hackers will try anything, but as long as the penetration tester had been through the security system, none of their methods and approaches at breaking into the system will be able to work. As such, your information and applications will be a lot more secure when you have had a penetration tester go through everything in advance.
Cost of Ignoring Penetration Testing
Without penetration testing for your company, you will like a sitting duck for the hackers. The hackers will use all of their methods and attempts to get into your information systems and web applications. The penetration tests are used to see how a hacker views your applications and information systems from their end. It enables you to improve and secure your information with the hacker in mind. When you do not conduct penetration testing for your systems, the hacker will break in more quickly.
Whenever a company does not conduct penetration tests on its information systems and web application, it is often unable to secure its systems. The applications that run on its systems will be poorly defended. The bugs and flaws that exist will not be patched up, and the system will be largely ignored. As such, the hacker will have an easier time breaking into the system and making away with information.
Hackers like systems that are not regularly updated as these present the least defense whenever the hackers are breaking in. the hackers will want to break into a system that has not been tested for security flaws. They will be the people to test for these flaws and take advantage of them simultaneously.
Many companies have had their data leaked, and most of the hacking attacks and incidences would have been protected against. The cost of not having penetration testing on your information systems early enough is not knowing the current state of your security mechanisms. Hackers are best protected from thinking and acting like them.
If you were the hacker, how would you have safeguarded your information system? This is very useful information that can only be obtained through detailed penetration testing for your information systems. Your applications will be thoroughly tested to ensure that they can stand up to the hacker’s moves and protect your information from getting leaked.
Some companies that ignored penetration testing for their information system had their records leaked to the internet. Millions of their records were leaked on various websites on the internet. Customer lists, personal information, authentication credentials, and databases have been exchanging hands on the corners of the dark web for many years, with hackers benefiting from it hugely.
Most of the successful hacks on the web have been a result of the victims not being well prepared for these attacks. Cybersecurity is a very serious issue, and the companies that are targeted usually run into millions in losses. Information is a valuable resource for companies, and whenever it is not well protected, the hackers will take advantage of it by selling it off to the highest bidders.
The information can be used for various reasons, and espionage attacks in the corporate world make use of hackers. The hackers break into competitors’ information systems to obtain information on behalf of the other companies. With the information, the companies can easily compete against them and produce better services and products that will attract customers and reduce revenue for the other companies.
Without penetration testing, it will be close to impossible to upgrade your security systems. You will not know what is wrong with your current state of security, and as a result, there will be little you can do to prop up your defenses. It would be best if you carried out penetration testing before the hacker does this on your behalf.
When you have done the tests, you will be a step ahead of the hacker, and any moves that they make will be rendered useless as you will already have patched up your defenses to counter their moves.
It is important that companies, businesses, and other organizations can conduct penetration tests on your information systems and applications from time to time. Regular penetration testing ensures that the high-security standards of the company or the business are maintained, and the hackers have greater challenges waiting for them when they try to break into your information system.
With penetration testing, you will be able to seal up all those flaws and security bugs that hackers have been using to get onto your networks and access your information. Your databases will be more aware of the input that is being fed to them, and in general, you will be a lot more secure. Your database will also provide better error messages when fed with the wrong kinds of input.
As such, you must be able to conduct penetration tests early enough for your information systems and applications to prevent hackers from taking advantage of your information systems.
Prevention is Better than Cure
If cyberattacks happen on your information systems, you will be running into millions of losses. A lot of your information will be lost, and you will have to spend a lot pursuing the hackers and dealing with the public attention aroused by the hack.
Additionally, breaking news about the hack will cause a lot of damage and losses for your company which is the reason you should always work to prevent the hacking attacks from taking place in the first place as opposed to working to patch up holes after the thieves have made away with the precious information about your business and your customers.
Penetration testing is like vaccination for your information systems. When you have vaccinated your information systems, the attacks from the hackers will be less lethal, and your chances of survival will have been significantly increased. A system that has been tested for all kinds of security flaws will have been upgraded to a level that the hackers will find very hard to break into.
The hackers will be deterred by the patches that you have made on your information systems. As a result, they will not break into your information systems easily, which means that you will not need to incur the massive losses that most companies have been known to incur due to hacking attacks.
The public image of a company is usually hurt and affected greatly by a hacking attack. After a cybersecurity incident, the company’s stock prices shoot down, which has a massive impact on the economy. The company will also spend a lot of time recovering from the attack. All this is better avoided by carrying out penetration testing on the information systems.
The penetration testing will patch up all the weaknesses and prevent eh company or the business from incurring massive losses. Companies and businesses are also at a loss to explain to their board of management and the public that they have been victims of a cyber-attack. Most of the time, many companies will keep silent about the incidence to avoid attracting attention from the public.
The ignorant public will continue using the company’s services, totally unaware that the company had been recently hacked into and the web applications and other credentials stolen from them. The quality of services that the customers will be getting from a company that has been hacked will be less than acceptable, which is detrimental for many companies.
Preventing cybercrime involves getting ready for the hackers. Penetration testing is one method that can be sued to better prepare companies, businesses, and organizations for hackers. The findings from the white hat hacker are used to make changes and improvements to the company’s security systems. This will ensure that the company is better prepared for the hackers and well-defended if the hackers move on their information systems.
Patching up also increases the defenses of a company and ensures that hackers do not easily break in. the software upgrades made after the recommendations from the penetration tester will ensure that the hacker does not easily take advantage of the software applications that are in use by the company.
Get a Penetration Tester Today
As a company or a business that uses digital information systems, you must be well prepared for hackers. By upgrading your security systems, you will have upped the ante for the hackers, which will give them greater challenges to deal with. As such, they will give up very easily whenever they are trying to break into your information system. They will not break past the defenses you have established, and your company will be safe and secure from hackers.
Additionally, the use of a penetration tester ensures that, as a company, your information is safer and your applications are more reliable. The patches and software upgrades that you make due to penetration testing are a major improvement to your digital defenses. Defending yourself digitally also means getting rid of some of the applications that you use.
Replacing software systems might be necessary when using outdated software and applications that have been known to have a lot of security flaws. The results from the penetration testing will reveal what is not right about your current state of security. As such, you will beef up your security to prevent losing any more data to hackers.
If you have used outdated software for a long time, then it means that many flaws and vulnerabilities in the software have already been given out to the hackers through the dark web. The hackers will take advantage of the fact that you are using outdated software, and with this in mind, they will be able to get past your defenses. They will also easily break into applications that have not been upgraded in a long time and even write custom exploits for these applications.
Many security firms provide penetration testing services. Another credible source of testing services is the antivirus software providers. These companies have experts that are highly experienced in penetration testing. With a little research on the internet, you will be able to get in touch with a penetration tester to hack for your company.
Alternatively, you can invite cybersecurity firms from the public to submit bugs and security flaws for a bounty. Each bug discovered is given a reward, and the most number of bugs that the hackers discover is given the main bounty.
The bounty will attract hackers of the white hat nature from all over, and this will ensure that your company gets better and more honest input from the hackers. The hackers will be able to provide you information about how secure your system is. They will also provide you with security flaws that exist in your applications. If your company or business currently uses tailor-made applications, the wrong code might have resulted in security flaws.
A penetration test of these applications will reveal a lot of the weaknesses that are in your current system. As such, you will modify the source code for these applications to ensure that the vulnerabilities are patched up in time. The hackers that conduct penetration testing are known as white hat hackers. This is due to the nature of their work and the approach that they take in studying systems.
White hat hackers do not cause any damage to your information systems and are always honest with the information they find. The results of their penetration testing are compiled into a report complete with statistics to help companies and businesses find out what is wrong with their security system.
Additionally, the penetration testers are also known to have established businesses and consultations. As such, you can hire a penetration tester to upgrade your current security system and prepare you better for when the black hat hacker finally strikes.
In conclusion, penetration testing is the art of finding security flaws and weaknesses in your systems before the hacker does. It studies the security systems from the hacker’s point of view and uses the same tools and techniques as the hacker does. As such, it is a simple way of upgrading your security system and ensuring that your defenses are strong enough to deter a hacker from breaking in.
When you conduct penetration testing on your company resources, you will be better informed when it comes to patching up and upgrading defenses against hackers. You will also be able to raise the challenge for the hacker and ensure that the next time they attempt to sneak past your firewalls, they are all turned into crisp digital shreds.