A recent study found that around 53% of companies have thousands of their highly-sensitive files open to all their employees, an indicator of security weaknesses in organizations.
Any kind of security weakness can make an organization vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The only saving grace in this situation is performing a comprehensive risk assessment and setting up preventive measures using penetration testing inorder to protect business-critical data.
Penetration testing has been around for a long time. Recent advances have been made to adapt it to defend against the latest common security threats. To give you more insight into what’s happening in this aspect of cybersecurity, let’s dive into the latest penetration testing news and updates.
What Does Statistics Say About Penetration Testing
Based on the Cybersecurity Statistics from Bulletproof, the top vulnerabilities uncovered through pen testing in 2019 were unpatched components (50%), weak cryptography (20%), access control issues (15%), and weak passwords (15%).
The bulk of critical flaws found through many pen testing runs are due to outdated software and components, which means you’ll need to set up updates and patch management schedules. Updates and patches provide the necessary security vulnerability and bug fixes to improve the usability, functionality, and performance of your software and apps. Systems with out-of-date or weak cryptography are at high risk because hackers with the right resources and time can decrypt traffic coming and out of your networks. You could be leaving your highly-critical business information like customer data vulnerable if you don’t use the latest cryptography. Also, 74% of companies admitted to a lack of the right personnel to handle security incidents. This could mean that if your employees lack the right security awareness and knowledge, you’d still be vulnerable to attacks even by running pen tests and the most sophisticated cybersecurity technologies.
A Look Into Data Breaches In Retail Companies
Since the beginning of January 2018, several retail companies have reported data breaches — which were potentially caused by payment system flaws in their online and physical stores. The fallout from the data breach incidents leads to loss of trust from customers — which could damage the brands financially.
Here are two retail companies who’ve been hacked:
In October 2019, Macy’s was hacked — with the attackers stealing several customers’ personal information, which most likely included names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, security codes, and email ads.
The attack was suspected of having been carried out by cracking into Macy’s My Wallet and checkout pages. It wasn’t the first incident either since the retailing company has reportedly suffered similar cyber attacks previously. Although Macy’s didn’t specify the number of customers affected by the attack, the company released a statement that it has implemented additional security measures as a precaution.
Smart home products and wireless camera provider Wyze suffered two security incidents at the end of December 2019.
The company’s databases were left exposed from December 4 to 26, with the first attack leaking customer email, including the addresses of people who have permission to view the camera feeds.
A second database was also exposed, but Wyze didn’t disclose information on specific information that was leaked.
With many companies experiencing cyber attacks and breaches, penetration testing becomes more and more vital for your data protection and privacy.
Consequences Of Security Breach For Organizations
A security incident, especially if it involves data loss and privacy breaches, can cause your customers to lose their trust in your company.
Research even shows that around 38% of companies admit to losing customers following a security incident and other reasons including real or perceived threats, plus a lack of reliable security measures. With data breaches and attacks happening left and right, the need for assessing and managing your cybersecurity risks through penetration testing continues to become a necessity.
Performing regular penetration testing for your systems, networks, and web applications help you detect security weaknesses that hackers can exploit and steal your customer data and other business-critical information.
When you implement preventive security controls, you can reduce the risks of incidents like data breaches, improve your defense measures, and nurture the trust and relationship you have with your current and potential customers.
Artificial Intelligence In Pen Testing
Penetration testing is more than just running a few hacking simulations on your emails, systems, and networks — rather, it can be a complex and intricate process. It requires highly-skilled experts to run successfully, plus a company culture that sees pen testing as a necessity and not just for compliance purposes.
With the application of Artificial Intelligence to pen testing, you’ll have access to automation tools that make running the test more consistent and at scale — potentially reducing the time, effort, and resources you need to spend.
AI-powered penetration testing tools let you run smart hacking attacks to pinpoint security weaknesses in your servers and web apps before hackers do — reducing the risks of potential security breaches and data loss. For instance, an AI-based pen testing software can analyze servers and web-based apps to find security risks, and with every hacking attempt, machine learning algorithms include newly discovered vulnerabilities.
This shortens the process of documenting new findings after every pen test — which helps expand and improve your threat detection capabilities more efficiently. AI-based testing tools can also help you discover network assets, scan for common weak spots, and track app responses to unusual patterns. This kind of AI tool can uncover specific vulnerabilities within your applications through an Automated Threat Verification. It works by using the blocked content of a malicious request to make a sanitized test using the same attack vector to check how the app or its copy in a sandbox responds.
With these kinds of AI tools, pen testers can focus on other aspects of running the test for your business — such as process development — and have the confidence that apps are protected against reverse engineering and the latest hacking threats. And this is just the beginning as more AI innovations and applications to penetration testing and cybersecurity are expected to advance in the years to come.
Penetration testing continues to be one of the most effective comprehensive and preventive measures against common cyber threats.
As more and more cyber threats emerge, the need for penetration testing will also give rise to innovations and new technologies to make the process a more efficient solution for protecting your business-critical information.
If you want to protect your organization against security threats, equip your employees with penetrating testing training and certification.
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