Specialised Pen Testing in Bolton
Pen testing and vulnerability tests can be a very useful tools both BEFORE a cyber attack and simulating an attack. We are going to look at a few of the instances where these can apply and a recent case study for a business in Bolton.
Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing are both forms of information security testing, and these two tools allow business owners to gain important insights into their organisations security features, holes and flaws. These valuable processes are part of any good information security threat and vulnerability management protocol. The two processes are actually each very different and provide different information.
Let’s take a look at the qualities of both vulnerability tests and pen testing and their applications;
A vulnerability assessment is a process used by businesses to examine a system for potential weaknesses by identifying these weaknesses and measuring them. Basically poking holes and finding areas which an attacker could gain entry. Much like testing your windows and doors in your home for a way a thief could break in.
These unwanted exposures could apply to the physical security of a business, the security of your employees, or the security of a company’s technological systems and networks. Vulnerability assessments can include social engineering tests, scanning tools, and physical checks.
Generally, most businesses are looking for vulnerability assessments that specifically cover their systems and networks rather than the social engineering aspects. A vulnerability assessment is meant to evaluate holes in security and produce a list of ways in which such vulnerabilities can be resolved or mitigated. Not all vulnerabilities must be resolved, but identifying them can help businesses understand where future threats might happen.
A vulnerability assessment is typically conducted by first taking an inventory of all resources and valuable data within an organisation’s system. These assets and resources are then reviewed, and the importance they have to the organisation is assigned a value. Then the potential vulnerabilities and threats to each asset and resource are catalogued with solutions offered.
Penetration testing is very different from a vulnerability assessment, but you could say they go hand in hand and pen testing piggybacks off the information the vulnerability tests. Penetration testing is meant to find a way to break into a company’s network by simulating the actions of an internal or external cyberattacker. This may require testing one vulnerability, or all identified vulnerabilities, to fully explore and identify if and where there may be the opportunity for a potentially dangerous and costly breach.
Penetration testing is meant to mirror what a cyberattacker or Black Hat hacker would do to try to gain access to critical systems within a company’s secure network. This type of testing can be considered ethical hacking or White Hat hacking. Many companies hire White Hat hackers to routinely run penetration tests on their systems and preemptively identify areas which need resolving to help to prevent an attack.
Penetration testing is a time-consuming endeavour, but it can be a valuable effort when attempting to truly describe the nature of a security risk with an actual example of the method of breach and the data that could be obtained.
Penetration tests can extend beyond a company’s system network and include testing potential social engineering attacks or physical security tests. There are typically two types of penetration tests: ‘white box’ tests and ‘black box’ tests.
- White Box Tests: These tests use known information and vulnerability assessments to try and breach security systems.
- Black Box Tests: These tests require that the tester go in blind, with little to no information of the system or where potential vulnerabilities may lie before attempting to breach security systems.
A penetration test is typically conducted by first determining the scope of the test, then either gathering information on the valuable assets before testing (white box) or performing reconnaissance to identify valuable assets before testing (black box). After this has been completed, attempts to exploit vulnerabilities are performed, and if possible, sensitive data is collected. Once completed, this information is produced by way of report and presented to the proper individuals within the organisation for review.
At Citadel Cyber Security, we are experts in this field and have in the past flagged up potential holes which would have cost the business involved hundreds of thousands.
One such example was a company we recently tested in Bolton. Having a secure password seems to be something that everyone thinks of, right? Wrong. Even after a short brute force attempt it flagged that one of the systems on the network had an admin password of PassWord123. This gained us access to a computer which stored much of the data used within the company such as personnel details.
Much of our reports contain information which can be quickly and effectively be implemented to stop a potentially huge breach in both data, money and reputation at little cost to the business themselves.
When it comes to vulnerability tests and pen tests the question should never be: “Are they worth it?” as the answer is always “Yes!”.
To arrange your vulnerability test or pen test, contact our team and we will arrange for a telephone appointment to begin the process.