Should You Hack Your Own Cybersecurity Gaps?

Plenty of business leaders believe their networks are powerful enough to keep their data and their operations safe. And it isn't until their network is breached that organizations realize they had flaws in the system. This is a learning experience that many companies, unfortunately, have to go through. But by then, it's too late. The company may already be experiencing its worst-case scenario.

For this reason, many cybersecurity analysts recommended that businesses should attempt to hack their own defense gaps. This is known as  stress testing.' Below, CyberPolicy discusses the merits of stress testing and provides tips on how to do it safely.

Stress Testing
Brian Krebs is a cybersecurity guru who has been in the industry for a long time. According to eWeek, "One of [Kreb's] key observations is that today's big breaches are likely yesterday's news for seasoned cyberattackers. The piece goes on to discuss the now-infamous Equifax data breach which leaked sensitive information on 145.5 million U.S. consumers.

Why is this important? Well, the attack on Equifax wasn't especially innovative or cutting edge. Rather it was something easily overlooked by the business and easily exploited by the hackers" an unpatched web application flaw. A patch for the security gap was released in early March 2017, yet the company failed to implement a crucial update. Two months later, the credit reporting giant was hacked.

Before you judge Equifax too harshly, think about the number of times you've ignored an update prompt. Heck, you might be unaware of several unpatched security gaps at this very moment! How would you even know?

By stress testing, of course!

There are essentially two types of cybersecurity personnel who can poke and prod at your network. "Red teams" attack an organization's network from both inside and outside the firewall. Meanwhile, a "blue team" monitors the network and provides defensive measures to stymie their colleagues. In this way, companies find out what their shortcomings are and how to fix them. Here are a handful of examples:

  • If the site is vulnerable to malicious traffic requests, cybersecurity personnel might recommend DDoS mitigation software.
  • If customer data is easily breached, cybersecurity experts might recommend encrypted cloud storage and sharing.
  • If passwords can be hacked by an automated brute force attack, the suggestions might center around better password protocols.
  • If software/hardware gaps are used as an entry point, white hat hackers will recommend IT implement automatic updates for all employee devices.

Obviously, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of possible security proposals. The only way you can learn about these is to hire a team (or agency) of cybersecurity professionals. While you might be able to launch attacks on your own live network, it's better to have someone else do this in a test environment. You wouldn't want to knock your own website off the internet, would you?

"As it turns out, companies with a good track record of keeping a tight lid on sensitive information explore a world beyond periodic penetration testing and routinely hack themselves," writes eWeek. Are you ready to hack your own security gaps?

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