The COVID-19 pandemic has had a widespread impact on policies and practices across both government and industry. Small businesses and large agencies alike have had a few weeks now to experiment with their mass telework and operations plans, and are beginning to understanding how secure their connections are, what their basic cyber hygiene is and what they need to minimize further disruption to their missions.
COVID-19 has not stopped malicious actors. In fact, it is typically at times of strife and uncertainty, like now, that cyber agents and hackers start targeting systems which are not set up for proper and effective cyber protection. Cybersecurity is perhaps even more critical than it was before, as opportunistic attackers target healthcare networks and remote connections. Malicious actors are taking advantage of the situation to exploit insecure virtual private network (VPN) connections and other poorly configured remote security controls.
So, what’s the next step? How can you assess and validate your network in order to ward off malicious actors?
Organizations need to be able to scale their maturity along with the growth of their business and their network environment. A good first step toward this goal is validation through adversary emulation. For smaller applications, this means penetration testing.
A penetration test, also known as a “pen test,” is a simulated cyber-attack against your computer system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. In the context of web application security, penetration testing is commonly used to augment a web application firewall (WAF). Pen testing can involve the attempted breaching of any number of application systems, application protocol interfaces (APIs) and frontend/backend servers to uncover vulnerabilities, such as unsanitized inputs that are susceptible to code injection attacks. Insights provided by the penetration test can be used to fine-tune your WAF security policies and patch detected vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing is typically performed using manual or automated technologies to systematically compromise servers, endpoints, web applications, wireless networks, network devices, mobile devices and other potential points of exposure. Once vulnerabilities have been successfully exploited on a particular system, testers may attempt to use the compromised system to launch subsequent exploits at other internal resources – specifically by trying to incrementally achieve higher levels of security clearance and deeper access to electronic assets and information via privilege escalation.
Information about any security vulnerabilities successfully exploited through penetration testing is typically aggregated and presented to you and your network system managers to help you make strategic conclusions and prioritize related remediation efforts. The fundamental purpose of penetration testing is to measure the feasibility of systems or end-user compromise and evaluate any related consequences such incidents may have on the involved resources or operations.
Adjusting to this new global paradigm can be a challenge. We get it, and we are here to provide the tools, tips, and information you need to help you and your team meet that challenge and ensure your systems are validated and prepped for attempted intrusions. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but developing a relationship with a provider now will help you make regular improvements to your environment over time and prepare it to scale as your company grows.
Call to schedule your penetration test with us today and take advantage of a complimentary rescan after remediation of the initial test findings.
Our team of experts can and will work with the personnel at your organization to measure the effectiveness of your cyber defense and pen test your environment, so you know where the weaknesses are and how to mitigate them.