In the past five years penetration testing has soared in popularity for organisations across the country. Otherwise known as ethical hacking, the process involved is identical to those used by a criminal hacker to test the security and vulnerabilities of a business. This simulation can identify weaknesses and highlight where a business can be exploited.
Unlike digital attacks, ethical hacking is completely legal. A business can employ an IT firm like Cheeky Munkey to attempt to hack their systems. Our cyber security professionals will produce a report of a business’ vulnerabilities, including any weaknesses that could be exploited.
The benefits of Ethical hacking
Up until recently, the idea of hiring a hacker to test businesses defences was thought of as absurd. Today, penetration testing is seen as a valued asset, but one only attainable to large enterprises. There is a different reality, though; businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from the practice, especially considering the rise of cybercrime due to Covid-19. benefits of ethical hacking include:
·Increasing your cyber security in the right places
Small businesses are being targeted more by hackers each and every day, so it is crucial to maintain secure cyber defences. In the UK, a small business is hacked every 19 seconds and more than 60,000 hack attempts happen every day. In total, more than 1.6 million businesses are victims of hacking attempts every year in the UK alone.
Recently phishing attempts have increased exponentially, and as businesses continue to improve their cybersecurity, cybercriminals are continuously evolving and trying to keep up. Having a plan in place where you are regularly checking digital defences is vital to keeping your business running smoothly and preventing cyberattacks.
·Save money and time
Penetration testing targets all areas within an organisations security wall. In the long term, understanding any vulnerabilities enables you to devise a protection plan before an incident occurs.
Hacking attempts and cyberattacks can be expensive. In fact, two out of five businesses that were breached reported losing money due to the downtime caused. For this reason, investing in cyber defences can prevent major losses for your business.
Stages of penetration testing
If you have never used ethical hacking before, the process can seem foreign, so we have broken it down to five steps small businesses can follow:
- Planning: This stage involves defining the scope of work as well as the goals for ethical hacking. You can determine which systems need to be addressed and any preferred methods of testing. Your hackers will also gather information on your systems to understand how it works.
- Scanning The information gathered is used to perform discovery activities to determine things like ports and services that were available for targeted hosts, or subdomains, available for web applications.
- Access: Attacks are launched on your web application to discover vulnerabilities. The hackers will try to exploit any vulnerabilities they uncover and see how much damage can be caused.
- Maintaining: Hackers will see if a persistent presence can be maintained in the system by exploiting vulnerabilities. This attempt will determine whether hackers can gain deeper access into your system and mimics advanced threats that could remain in your system for months.
- Analysis: The final stage of penetration testing involves a complete report detailing the findings of the hacking, highlighting which vulnerabilities were exploited, what data was accessed, and how long a hacker could remain in your system without detection.
Now you understand the benefits of penetration testing, you may wonder how to get started; however, it is important to have the right solutions in place first. We can assist your preparation by providing your businesses systems with the right small business IT support keeping you secure. Talk to us today to learn more about how ethical hacking can bolster your cyber-security.