Just a few months ago, Japanese car manufacturer Honda confirmed that it suffered a cyberattack drawing attention to gaping vulnerabilities that had come to the fore as a result of the increase in the size of the remote workforce in the wake of the pandemic. Then came the Russian cyberattack against the United States which is now being considered as an act of espionage. Malicious code was inserted into updates and pushed to SolarWinds customers giving hackers access to computer networks of government agencies, think tanks, and private firms.
These are classic examples that demonstrate how vulnerable networks can be and how easily servers, infrastructure, and IT systems can be compromised. Fortunately, Vulnerability Assessment and Performance Testing (VAPT) provide the much-needed monitoring and protection to help enterprises protect themselves from hackers and security breach.
Both vulnerability and penetration testing are two distinct security testing services that are often said in the same breath and sometimes even classified as one and the same. Penetration testing however needs a complete assessment of vulnerability to check for flaws or deficiencies in order to proceed further. It involves simulating an attacker’s attack. A thorough analysis conducted from the attacker’s perspective is presented to the system owner along with a detailed assessment that iterates implications and offers remedial solutions to address the vulnerabilities. When conducted together, VAPT offers complete vulnerability analysis.
Notorious tactics like sniffing (passive listening on the network) and ARP spoofing (an attack technique used to intercept traffic between hosts) call for stringent measures to ensure cybersecurity across computer systems and networks. To safeguard themselves from hackers, enterprises globally are investing heavily in vulnerability assessment and penetration testing or VAPT to identify vulnerabilities in the network, server, and network infrastructure.
Vulnerabilities have existed from the very beginning though they were not exploited as often as they are now. As per a study by Splunk, 36% of IT executives said there was an increase in the volume of security vulnerabilities due to remote work. In a day and age when ‘digital’ means everything, it is important to secure business operations from cyberattacks, threats, and breaches that can demobilize businesses. Vulnerabilities may also lead to litigation costs, loss of trust, and compliance penalties; all of which may affect the credibility of an enterprise in a big way. VAPT helps address all of them in the most effective manner.
The tricky part about VAPT is that it cannot be assigned to the security officer of the organization to conduct it as the results may not be so accurate. This is because the security officer would know the security system inside out and is likely to look for inadequacies in places where they are most likely to be found. But things change when a specialist is brought in. It is quite common to have third-party contractors run the pentest (penetration test) as they can identify the blind spots within a security system quickly. Often, the results are startling and the loopholes that have gone unnoticed are identified and fixed before they can cause damage.
What VAPT entails
Typically, VAPT comprises a network penetration test, application penetration test, physical penetration test, and device penetration test.
Network penetration tests involve identifying network and system-level vulnerabilities, incorrect configurations & settings, absence of strong passwords & protocols, etc.
Application penetration testing involves identifying application-level deficiencies, malicious scripts, fake requests, etc.
Physical penetration testing covers all physical aspects such as disabling CCTV cameras, breaking physical barriers, malfunctions, sensor bypass, etc.
Device penetration testing helps detect hardware and software deficiencies, insecure protocols, configuration violations, weak passwords, etc.
VAPT is carried out very systematically in stages that include everything from collating information and analyzing threats and vulnerabilities to emulating real cyberattacks and creating reports replete with findings and suggestions.
The need to assess the threat landscape
There would be a point in time when you feel that you have the best of security measures and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. A pentest then would be the last thing on your mind. But in reality, a pentest is akin to an annual health checkup that helps detect health hazards well in advance. Regular pentest will ensure the wellbeing of your enterprise keeping your technical and personnel arsenal in perfect health.
2020 saw organizations battling not just the impact of the virus but also a digital pandemic that was equally deadly. According to PwC, 55% of enterprise executives have decided to increase their budget for cybersecurity while 51% are planning to onboard a full-time cyber staff in the next few years.
Secure your environment with sustainable VAPT
Digital fitness is everybody’s responsibility and employees should take ownership of their online behaviors to build a cyber-aware culture. As connectivity continues to grow, your most sensitive assets are at risk. Vulnerabilities have often been the root cause of breaches and call for immediate remedial steps. VAPT provides the necessary roadmap to enterprises on their way to building cyber-resilience. The vulnerability assessment services offer a detailed assessment of external and internal network infrastructure, applications, servers, and client devices along with recommendations to address security weaknesses. Penetration testing on the other hand exploits these vulnerabilities to depict an accurate picture of their impact. Real-world scenarios and techniques are emulated for this purpose.
A robust, compliant ecosystem rests on the adoption of VAPT best practices to minimize the ‘attack surface’. These should include frequent testing based on historical data and a sustainable VAPT program to empower security leaders and vulnerability management teams. A good VAPT program will identify, evaluate, treat, and report vulnerabilities to ensure that every time you onboard a new employee, customer, or partner, you are not exposing yourself to new threats.
VAPT can help ensure
- Network security
- Application security
- Endpoint security
- Data security
- Identity management
- Infrastructure security
- Cloud security
- Mobile security
Following SolarWinds hacking, there is a greater focus on beefing up cybersecurity. Markets and Markets predict the global cybersecurity market to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% from $152.71 billion in 2018 to a whopping $248.26 billion by 2023, with North America holding the biggest market size followed by Europe in the second position. And yet, a significant number of organizations continue to remain ignorant about the importance of expanding their cybersecurity capabilities.
As Richard Horne, Cyber Security Chair, PwC infers, “It’s surprising that so many organizations lack confidence in their cybersecurity spend. It shows businesses need to improve their understanding of cyber threats and the vulnerabilities they exploit while changing the way they think about cyber risk so it becomes an intrinsic part of every business decision.”
Stay a step ahead of threat actors with Trigent
Threat actors will continue to resort to new tactics threatening the cybersecurity of global corporations. It’s up to us to evolve and rise to the challenge with the right measures in place. At Trigent, we help you protect your business. We assess your business environment using diverse tools and scans to detect vulnerabilities and eliminate them.
Allow us to help you identify vulnerabilities and discover where you stand on the cybersecurity resilience scale.