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The popularity of cloud computing and BYOD really brought information security to the forefront. The intruders also got smarter and more intelligent in finding new ways and new loopholes to attack.
In order to deal with the future attacks, what a business needs is someone who is able to think like an outsider and penetrate into their own systems like a complete outsider.
Penetration testing is a part of Vulnerability testing or VAPT. VAPT comprises of Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration Testing is also referred to as Pen Testing and qualified individuals are referred to as Pen Testers. They may also be sometimes casually called White Hat Hackers or Ethical Hackers.
Penetration testing requires the testers to find vulnerabilities and backdoors, and find ways to infiltrate a system. They are expected to find the loopholes and check for the features which can be exploited through the loophole and the amount and impact of damage it can cause.
Penetration testers, however, are not the part of the team who usually fix the loopholes they discover in their assessments.
Needless to say, these assessments are conducted with proper authorizations from the IT administrators and company managers.
This is required because as the testers constantly try to exploit the system and find ways to access systems, files or applications which an outsider or someone within a company doesn’t typically have access to.
It involves exploiting and finding loopholes in a system, network or a website.
Why should businesses conduct it regularly?
In 2015, SecurityWeek reported that a multinational gang of cyber criminals infiltrated more than 100 banks across 30 countries and made off with up to one billion dollars over a period of roughly two years. It was originally reported by Kaspersky.
According to the statistics for the first half of 2016, by Gemalto,
- 3.04 million records were compromised every day
- 126,936 records were compromised every hour
- 2,116 records were compromised every minute
- 35 records compromised were every second
- 31% increase in the compromised records from the previous six months was recorded
Unfortunately, it is extremely rare to see the decrease in the numbers or the percentage of these statistics as the cyber attacks nothing but grows year on year.
Other security measures notwithstanding, penetration testing can bring to notice certain backdoor entries and loopholes which may not be known to the developer but may be on the hacker’s list. Hackers are known to trade and sell security vulnerabilities in the black market. Many of these vulnerabilities are essentially unknown to both the original vendor and developers.
The white hat hacking i.e, the penetration testing can significantly help reduce the risk of cyber attack, data breach, data theft and backdoor infiltration among other hacking techniques.