There are several steps you can take to protect your organization from threat actors, but how do you know if your cybersecurity posture is strong enough? Penetration testing — a simulated cyber attack performed by experts — is crucial when it comes to assessing your network’s vulnerabilities.
Aside from the thrill of putting your organization to the ultimate test, the most valuable aspects of a pentest are the report and analytics you receive afterward. A detailed, comprehensive report allows you to understand the found vulnerabilities, take the right steps for risk mitigation, and provides you and your team a baseline for security awareness training. We’ll discuss the three common (but still surprising) penetration testing report findings.
1. Your Passwords Are Compromised
Research has shown that a six-character password can be hacked instantly. Unfortunately, a brute-force hack using the latest tech is not the only way third-party data breaches occur with the intent of compromising your passwords across your network infrastructure.
Tactics such as utilizing remote worker vulnerabilities, social engineering, and malware, can all be used to access your organization’s “protected” log-in credentials. The Verizon 2022 Data Breach Report found that in 2021, more than 61% of data breaches were due to either brute-force hacking or compromised credentials.
A detailed pentest report should show you not only which weak passwords the pentesters were able to discover, but also, how they did it. Additionally, tips on setting up secure passwords may also be listed in the report so your organization can shore up vulnerable passwords.
2. Your Network Is Not Compliant
Many industry-specific standards for compliance — such as for HIPAA — require risk analysis to ensure that sensitive client data information is secure. Often, there are vulnerabilities found through the pentesting process that would not meet compliance standards. Routine scans and vulnerability assessments — while necessary — are not as deep of a dive into your organization as pentesting.
This is not only a surprisingly common find on a penetration testing report, but also it’s a serious one. Luckily, your report should include steps you can take to reach your industry-specific compliance standards, so you can maintain a solid reputation for your organization.
Plus, a cybersecurity consultant can walk you through the report to help your organization get back on track if non-compliant cyber security standards caused your organization to suffer a pre-test data breach.
3. Your Team Needs Security Awareness Training
With the innovative (and nefarious) approaches cyber criminals are taking to compromise internal networks, it’s likely that the average employee is not prepared to be the last defense for your organization. Unfortunately, even hovering your mouse over a suspicious hyperlink could be enough for a threat actor to install malware on your internal network.
If we add these complex approaches to common social engineering techniques — such as phishing emails — most employees are vulnerable access points into your organization. If applicable, your pentest report will highlight any social engineering attacks used and on whom when utilizing the penetration testing framework. You can then look into security awareness training to empower your employees and transform them into vigilant, well-prepared team members.
Is Your Organization Ready To Avoid Outside Threats?
Improving your security posture to keep up with the threats bad actors pose to your organization isn’t always easy; especially if you don’t know the current state of your cybersecurity. The best kind of penetration testing report will not only walk you through what was discovered, it will show you how threat actors could wreak havoc on your organization right now, and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening.
Curious to learn how we do things at Mitnick Security? Request information about our pentesting process.