Cyberattacks can take many forms, from compromising personal information to taking control of computers. Businesses large and small have been affected over the past 12 months and the reason these attacks have spread so quickly is that they are often difficult to spot.

Cybercriminals are individuals or teams of people who use technology to commit malicious activities on digital systems or networks with the intent of stealing sensitive company information or personal data and generating profit.

They are known to access cybercriminals’ underground marketplaces found in the deep web to exchange malicious goods and services, such as hacking tools and stolen data. Cybercriminal underground markets are known to specialize in certain products or services.

Understanding cyber threats and cyber attacks is only part of the information needed to protect yourself. You also need to know how cyberattacks happen. Most attacks are a combination of syntactically used semantic tactics or, in simpler terms, an attempt to alter a computer user’s behavior through shady computer tactics.

For example, data breaches are a way to break down a company’s server to gain access to its customers’ personal data from email address, home address and even financial details. Highly skilled IT experts will be behind the attacks and can be hard to stop, which is a scary thought.

In cybersecurity, all vulnerabilities are essentially bugs; like any bug, the longer it goes unfixed, the more expensive the fix will end up costing.

If you talk to cybersecurity experts, they’ll tell you it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Today’s cybercriminals are ahead of the game and stopping them is very difficult. You have to prepare for the worst.

That being said, there is one key way you can stay ahead of the game and that is by making sure your defensive software is doing its job.

Software testing is essential

Reliable software integration should be the usual axiom of any company, but unfortunately it is not. Organizations should strive to understand the kind of security testing they can benefit from in their fight to prevent cyberattacks.

Take Dixons Carphone, for example, after recently falling victim to a major cyberattack, which saw a huge breach involving 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data.

He said an investigation indicated there had been an attempt, dating back to July last year, to compromise credit card data in one of the Currys PC World and Dixons store processing systems. Travel.

He said that 5.8 million of these cards were chip and PIN protected and that the data accessed did not contain PIN codes, card verification values ​​or any authentication data to identify the holder of the card. card or make purchases.

However, he said 105,000 payment cards issued outside the EU that do not have chip and PIN protection had been compromised. Dixons Carphone immediately notified the card companies involved so they could protect customers.

It is worrying that major cyberattacks like this are still so common and nothing seems to be done to prevent them from happening, especially in global enterprises.

Cybercriminals gain easier access to personal data and Dixons Carphone now needs to check whether its defensive software is doing its job properly. A repeat of what happened would be a fatal blow to their business.

The only way to prevent this from happening again is to properly integrate and test the software.

People are too focused on finding known vulnerabilities in software after release, and insufficiently focused on bad software development practices that lead to vulnerable applications that hackers can exploit.

This is where thorough software testing is essential. Integrating software testing into business practices doesn’t have to be difficult. A good starting point is to involve software experts and security engineers in the planning sessions. Next, ensure that each phase of your pipeline has a quality gate and software quality criteria that must be met in order to progress to the next phase of your pipeline.

One small step goes a long way

A good way to ensure there are no holes in the defense is to use ethical hacking, which gives you a legal way to assess the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of a target system, with the aim to educate and protect you. Instead of introducing risks, this approach mitigates the risks currently in practice in the target systems. A real-world approach uncovers how your system would perform if attacked by a malicious hacker, using the same tools and knowledge they might use.

Penetration testing is designed to assess your security before an attacker does. Penetration testing tools simulate real-world attack scenarios to uncover and exploit security vulnerabilities that could lead to the theft of records, compromised credentials, intellectual property, personally identifiable information , cardholder data, protected health information, data ransomware, or other harmful business outcomes. By exploiting security vulnerabilities, penetration testing helps you determine the best way to mitigate and protect your vital business data from future cybersecurity attacks.

Penetration testing is a crucial part of network security. Through these tests, a company can identify security vulnerabilities before a hacker does, gaps in information security compliance, the response time of their information security team, and the potential effect in the real world of a data breach or cybersecurity attack.

Through penetration testing, security professionals can effectively find and test the security of multi-tier network architectures, custom applications, web services, and other IT components. These penetration testing tools and services help you get a quick overview of the highest risk areas so companies can plan security budgets and projects effectively. Thoroughly testing a company’s entire IT infrastructure is imperative to taking the necessary precautions to secure vital data from hackers, while simultaneously improving an IT department’s response time in the event of an attack.

A simple, cost-effective process like this goes a long way to making a big difference in ensuring that cybersecurity can mean the difference between a successful business and facing an existential threat to its reputation and business model. Right now, it’s just too easy for hackers to take advantage of organizations.

Jeff Wheat, Director of Cyber ​​Operations, QualiTest
Image Credit: Den Rise / Shutterstock


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