Why Cybersecurity Needs Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking

External experts, so-called ethical hackers or white hats, can carry out penetration tests to put the vulnerability of a company’s IT to the test. But many organizations shy away from the effort and expense—six arguments favour penetration testing.

Many companies have recognized the importance of cyber security. In principle, any company can now become the target of a cyber attack – ransomware encrypts company data as part of attempted blackmail. This form of cyber attack, in particular, is usually widespread. Instead of targeting a specific company, the attackers wait and see in which organization their phishing e-mail will be successful. External experts, so-called ethical hackers or white hats, can carry out penetration tests to put the vulnerability of a company’s IT to the test. But many organizations, whether private or public, shy away from the effort and expense. Only practical pen tests can identify as many attack vectors as possible to lock them down before cybercriminals can exploit them. Ethical hacking is indispensable to raising an organization’s cyber resilience to a solid level. Here are six arguments why penetration tests make sense for companies.

External Pen Testing Identifies Security Gaps

Unfortunately, budget managers don’t always see that their IT administration team needs cybersecurity support. Sometimes management thinks that pen testing is something that administrators can do on the side. They can’t. There are good reasons for it. The task of IT administration is to ensure the smooth operation of IT in the organization. The company’s IT specialists are also very familiar with this area. The expertise of ethical hackers is naturally precisely the opposite: they uncover ways that can make it possible to destroy corporate IT. In addition, cyber security and ethical hacking are fields of knowledge that change and develop incredibly quickly. Pentesters can only secure their lead in knowledge if

Being Able To Analyze The Machine Code

While IT administrators deal with the operational level of software, ethical hackers deal with the program code. If necessary, pentesters also use reverse engineering to analyze the program files at runtime and observe their behavior. To do this, it is, of course, necessary to understand the binary or machine code of the program. Administrators usually cannot do this because it is not in their area of ​​responsibility. Ethical hackers can also find undocumented functionalities that were not foreseeable but represent potential attack vectors. This can be, for example, test methods that a software developer used for debugging and left in the program by mistake. IT security is a field in which a great deal of know-how arises from dealing with cyber security daily. After all, the primary inspection of a car must also be carried out by a specialized inspector – the car mechanic cannot carry it out himself.

An Internal Red Team Can Reduce Costs

However, if a company is large enough, it can be worth organizing ethical hacking in-house. To this end, the company is building its dedicated red team for more or less continuous pen tests. The attackers in the red team then often face a dedicated blue team with the defenders. For its red team, a company usually has to hire at least two to three full-time pen-testers – depending on the company’s size, more. In the long run, an internal red team is probably the more cost-effective solution for ethical hacking in large companies. However, it has the disadvantage that, sooner or later, your red team is threatened with certain operational blindness. The preference of external ethical hackers is usually.

The Indispensable Pen Tests Should Be Freed From Taboos

There is still a tendency in some companies to make ethical hacking taboo. Consistent pentesting then fails because of the company’s concern that such tests could become public knowledge – and damage the image. It does not help a company to switch the topic of cyber security with taboos. On the contrary: in the age of general digitization, IT security is a challenge that all companies face, from medium-sized machine builders to IT giants like Google. As a company, showing that the issue of IT security is addressed appropriately helps the image far more than it could damage it. An organization demonstrates its will to strengthen its cyber resilience through ethical hacking.

ISO 27001 and TISAX Also Require Penetration Tests

In general, there is a growing understanding of penetration tests. Standards such as ISO 27001, which deals with the information security management system (ISMS), also require event-related security reviews for changes in your own IT and regular reviews. Accordingly, regular pen tests are necessary for certification according to ISO 27001.

Properly Designed Pen Tests Work.

Deciding on a security check using ethical hacking is always a positive sign. However, the design of the test needs to be carefully considered. When selecting suitable pentesters, it is advisable to look at their theoretical certifications and place particular value on their practical experience. It is also important not to artificially limit the scope of the test – for example, by excluding legacy systems. After all, no attacker would think of excluding legacy systems that are still in operation as potential attack vectors on the contrary. In addition, with pen tests, a choice must be made between white box and black box approaches. In the case of the former, information, data or source codes are already available to ethical hackers. Such a white box test is recommended, for example, if you want to determine how secure a completely new application is precise. On the other hand, a black box approach can be advisable, for example, in independent follow-up reviews if the scope has already been thoroughly checked in the white box process and the organization has already taken appropriate security measures. A wide variety of gradations are possible between these two extremes.

Also Read: Which Tools Are Used For Ethical Hacking?

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