Don’t get it wrong, but security tests are all about hacking. Yes, you read it correctly; hacking. We are not talking about getting into some company’s network and effectively stealing their assets and customers’ data; what connects security tests to hacking is the methodology, rather than the final goal.
Ethical hacking is the expression used by the experts of the cyber security sector to define an approach based on the same skills and methods used by cyber criminality. The difference is that ethical hackers do it on request of their clients to validate their security and not for their own profit.
Think about your business integrity, your clients and the future. These are the main reasons why you should always include elements of security within your company's operational charts.
Security is not just a one-off task. It is a continuous process that should accompany you throughout your period of growth. It requires experience and dedication. Your reputation and revenue are strongly related to the ability of your company to minimize attacks, fraud and loss of information. Test your security before the bad guys beat you to it and make sure to take advantage of your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
It is important to understand that security tests are nothing like an antivirus check; things are a bit more complex than that.
First, it is necessary to make a high-level distinction between infrastructure and application. When referring to the infrastructure level we are examining everything that is not an application. Vulnerabilities at the infrastructure level might show up due to misconfigurations of servers, workstations, network devices or even be due to the lack of constant updating and patching processes. Every day new vulnerabilities are found in all sorts of software products, from operating systems through to databases. Attackers are aware of the newest weak spots and will be ready to attack if you are not protected.
Testing the security of your IT Infrastructure is ideally carried out from the perspective of an attacker positioned on the Internet (External Perspective) or from inside of one or more of your trusted networks (Internal Perspective). Many companies overlook the dangers manifesting from internal threats such as disgruntled employees or malicious users with hacking skills. Security tests of the applications are focused on discovering potential vulnerabilities arising due to programming errors or business logic flaws.
A skilled assessment team will study your applications in depth and attempt to subvert the security mechanisms put in place by the developers. Applications can be tested whilst in operation (DAST approach) or by studying their source code (SAST approach), with both methods having their pros and cons that complement and complete each other when used together.
While one-off tests provide effective pictures of your security status at a given point in time, please remember that security is a process and not a product (a milestone from Bruce Schneier). This is why cyber security experts will always encourage you to maintain an ongoing security program to keep the status of your systems constantly protected and under control.
As self explanatory as it might sound, implementing an information security program really means protecting information and because most of the information today exist in digital format we usually talk about IT Security as the union of all the means to protect digital information.
But what matters when it comes to Information and what model can be used to develop a sound information security program? The CIA Triad is the de facto standard model for securing information. Nothing to do with the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA is an acronym for Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability.
Imagine if you could prove to your clients or stakeholders that their information, being it a trade secret, personal data or any other sensitive data will always be kept confidential, whole and will always be available to them when they need it. This will establish your company as one that can be thoroughly trusted; trust is an extremely valuable element in today's business.
You simply don’t know! Failing to implement a security program that contemplates periodical security tests can result in valuable or sensitive information and data being exposed and abused for a number of purposes that sometimes are impossible to foresee.
In most cases, businesses do not have the strength to properly recover from a cyber security breach.