To protect yourself from hackers, you need to think like one of them
IT security tests like penetration testing, require a specialized team to test the security of an IT infrastructure, taking an approach similar to that of cybercriminals.
The benefits of Pentesting
- Identify critical vulnerabilities that endanger your organization
- Know your network risks and vulnerabilities in depth
- Interpret, prioritize and act on threat data to minimize your exposure
- Get direct input from specialists – no middlemen, no sales people
- Gain the upper hand by taking a proactive approach
- Accelerate patches and fixes with a clear course of action
- Use custom recommendations to mitigate uncovered security issues
- Validate the efficiency of your company’s defensive mechanisms
- Understand your points of failure and how attackers might use them
- Determine how employees and providers follow your security policies
- Evaluate potential consequences and build protection scenarios
- Get C-level commitment to make your cybersecurity program a business priority
- Define a security strategy to gradually reduce the risk of privilege escalation or lateral movement
- Learn how vulnerable your critical assets are to cyber attacks
- Meet regulatory requirements and reinforce your partners’ trust
- Gain deep insight into attackers’ motivations and tactics
- Identify the response time of your information security team
What does penetration testing include?
In this aspect of the pentest, Xontech ethical hackers focus on discovering what information an attacker can get if they successfully breach your network perimeter. Moreover, this scenario also exposes insider threats, such as disgruntled employees, suppliers or customers that a malicious hacker may target.
Here are just some of the elements our experts will strive to evaluate:
- publicly available information about your company and your network (IP addresses, domain names, host names, etc.)
- email addresses and personal information about your company’s leaders (CEO, CFO, IT managers, etc.) that can be used in subsequent stages
- repositories of stolen data from a previous breach that might include details about your company which an attacker might use
- the configuration of the network and how security technologies, such as firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) react to different threats
- network mapping, OS fingerprinting, and network segmentation
- the ability to capture data as it travels across a network (also known as Man-in-the-Middle attacks or traffic sniffing)
Network perimeter pentesting also involves a full vulnerabilities scan, filtering the results, and cleaning up false positives.
Additionally, our team realistically simulates what happens if a malicious actor gets behind your firewall and compromises a user-level account.
An important part of the pentests we do for our customers is to uncover the vulnerabilities in their web and mobile applications. The more apps your company uses, the higher the risk, so a penetration test becomes an essential requirement.
Doing an in-depth code review to identify security issues is a core focus for us. We inspect your apps throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), following if best practices are applied and where your development team could improve the code to prevent security issues.
This is part of the comprehensive assessment we perform to discover which weaknesses attackers might leverage to gain unauthorized access or to cause critical data to be exposed.
For example, web application issues can include SQL injection, cross-site scripting, unsecured authentication, sensitive data exposure, security misconfiguration and weak cryptography. These are just a few examples, as the list goes on for longer than any infosec professional would like.
Testing applications is a thorough process because it involves looking at particular details and spending the time to understand usage habits and the bigger context around these heavily used apps.
Maintaining flexibility while also preserving security is a key objective for many organizations like yours.
That’s why, at Xontech, we focus on comprehensive tests to explore how secure the mobile devices used in your company really are.
Naturally, we do the same for the apps installed on them. We dedicate time and attention to the security code review portion of the test, analyzing the mobile applications employees use frequently or less often.
Our goal is to help you gain an accurate understanding of the types of risk mobile apps and mobile devices introduce into your company. Once identified and prioritized, you can also count on us to point out the solutions that can help you mitigate this risk.
When you work with our team at Xontech for a pentest, we also determine how secure the wireless solution you deployed is.
Through the results and guidance we provide, you gain a deeper understanding of how secure your company’s data is in transit. The same applies to the systems in your organization that are connected via wireless technology.
For example, we might discover unsecured wireless network configurations, weak authentication or vulnerable protocols. These security gaps can allow attackers to gain access into the wireless network even from outside your building.
Another point of entry for malicious hackers can come up when employees use their mobile devices on insecure, open guest networks while holding meetings outside the office or while traveling.
As part of our penetration tests, we also closely examine and probe embedded devices and IoT (Internet of Things) devices spread throughout your organization.
Because IoT includes software, sensors, actuators, and because they’re always connected to interact and exchange data. It’s our job to determine if they’re safe to use and if data can flow through them in a secure manner.
Consequently, we assess your IoT devices by attempting to:
- Exploit the embedded firmware
- Control the devices by injecting unsolicited malicious commands
- Modify data sent from these devices.
The objective is to help you understand if these devices can ensure your security standard is preserved. At the same time, our goal is to confirm if the commands and information issued from any of your IoT devices are legitimate.
With malicious hackers renting botnets rather cheaply and launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that crush defenses and take down websites used by millions, it becomes essential to validate if your company can withstand such an attack.
As part of our process, we test your predisposition and your network assets’ behavior to many types of Denial of Service attacks. At the same time, we examine your DDoS defenses or applications in various scenarios to see if your network architecture is resilient and if your protection systems work as intended.
As you may know, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was introduced to ensure that handling customers’ card information meets at a minimum degree of security.
Penetrations tests officially became part of the requirement only a few years ago, along with vulnerability assessments.
With so many data breaches happening, the legal context demands that companies who handle card data perform the following tests once or twice a year:
- Segmentation Testing
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Penetration Testing
The pentester has to be an independent company, like Xontech, for example.
What’s important to know is that when we do PCI DSS pentesting, we don’t just provide you with results based on automated scans. Our infosec experts manually simulate attacks against vulnerabilities discovered in steps 1 and 2. This demonstrates the real-life risk to your business and helps you focus on what needs to be fixed to ensure:
- PCI DSS compliance
- Your business’s continuity
- And that the customers’ data is safely stored and handled.
What’s more, the Xontech engineers personally work to identify and validate vulnerabilities that automated tools sometimes miss.
Black box penetration testing
In this setting, the penetration testing team has no prior knowledge of the company they’re about to evaluate.
This enables Xontech cybersecurity professionals to:
- Launch controlled attacks against the tested systems to uncover security flaws in a realistic manner
- Uncover how lower-risk vulnerabilities exploited in a particular sequence lead to higher-risk vulnerabilities
- Identify vulnerabilities that may be difficult or impossible to detect with automated network or application vulnerability scanning software
- Scale pentesting methods to large infrastructures while keeping software confidential
- Mimic attackers’ behavior in a lifelike manner to identify weaknesses in your infrastructure and any of your services.
White box penetration testing
This version of pentesting is also known as a glass box, structural, clear box, and open box testing. Its name implies that you provide complete knowledge of your infrastructure to the ethical hackers who perform the test. This often includes network diagrams, source code, ranges of IP addresses and more.
Armed with this knowledge, the engineers on the Bit Sentinel team identify weaknesses before conducting a comprehensive audit to identify all other vulnerabilities.
Knowing what a specific asset does is essential for white box penetration testing because it informed the tester if a program diverges from its intended goal.
Some of the benefits of white box pentesting include:
- Revealing errors in code without special access to tested assets
- Identifying points of failure faster to allow for prompt remediation
- Being an ideal fit for small-to-medium applications or less complex systems
- Revealing weak code sections that might fail under compromise attempts (see security code review).
If you’re looking for a complete and thorough examination of your vulnerabilities, we recommend both white box and black box tests.
Grey box penetration testing
Wondering if there’s a version in between white box and black box pentesting?
There is and it’s predictably called grey box testing.
This option blends tactics from both testing techniques and allows for a comprehensive perspective of your organization’s security level.
In this context, Xontech engineers examine the design documentation your provide about your network and prioritize tests targeting high-risk assets instead of working through this process themselves throughout the test.
Because of its highly focused approach, grey box testing is effective both from a cost and duration perspective. At the same time, our team can validate attack vectors and scenarios and minimize false positive results faster.