Penetration testing is an important tenet of cybersecurity. As the world of cybersecurity evolves, so will penetration testing trends and best practices. 2020 has certainly been a year of change and new challenges. Not addressing penetration testing because of these changes could leave you vulnerable.
To keep you informed of what adjustments you should make, we’re covering the most critical trends that are applicable now and in the future.
What Is Penetration Testing?
First, it’s good to start with the basics. Penetration testing describes an authorized cyberattack on a network or system to evaluate the security of it. Those completing the test are emulating what a hacker may do to gain access to an application. There are three categories:
- Black Box Penetration Testing: Ethical hackers have unauthenticated access and little knowledge except for an IP address or URL.
- Gray Box Penetration Testing: Ethical hackers test target systems as authenticated users to see if they can obtain more user permissions.
- White Box Penetration Testing: This option is for assessing a system or device with administrator access and knowledge. Organizations that develop their own products or integrate systems in their environment request this testing.
Testers can perform these tests remotely or on-site.
Top Penetration Testing Trends
So, what’s new in penetration testing? Let’s find out.
DevSecOps is a critical factor in building security into the DevOps framework. DevSecOps creates a “security as code” culture. In taking on this approach, you can automate security workflows. It’s beneficial to testers because it employs the power of agile methods to integrate security testing into the development process seamlessly.
If your organization isn’t DevOps-minded, this gives you one more reason to make the shift. DevSecOps incorporates penetration testing activities by being adaptable and provides early detection of vulnerabilities at the code level. With this proactive approach, you can find and remediate security risks early.
2. Impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 has had a significant effect on all business practices, including cybersecurity. Penetration testing performed before the pandemic may not be accurate now. You have more endpoints with remote work, greater adoption of cloud-based solutions, and the use of new tech tools like video conferencing platforms. It’s a good idea to conduct further testing now to ensure there aren’t new security challenges.
For those in the healthcare industry, you live by HIPAA requirements (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) when it comes to PHI (protected health information). While there have been no updates to HIPAA mandates, the reason why it’s a trend is three-fold.
First, where you interact with PHI may be different. Healthcare organizations, beyond providers, are seeing a rise in remote work.
Second, there are new rules. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule. The focus of the rule is to provide patient access to their healthcare data. It imposes some substantial requirements for all those in the healthcare data ecosystem. Adhering to these rules around interoperability and access opens up new cybersecurity worries.
Third, more healthcare organizations are retiring legacy systems and using archiving solutions to store old patient data and meet medical retention requirements. With the adoption of new applications, new penetration testing is imperative.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is growing across various industries. From chatbots to data science, these powerful technologies enable organizations to streamline operations and better understand their data.
So, why not leverage it for penetration testing? You absolutely should, and many testers are deploying it with success. AI helps with the automation of pen-testing, which provides better scaling. AI and ML won’t replace human testers. Rather, it augments their efforts and provides intelligence for better decision-making.
5. User Behavior Analytics
The threat of attacks by internal users is still a concern. You can’t dismiss the possibility, so tracking your users’ behaviors can help. User behavior analytics (UBA) collects, tracks, and assesses activities with a monitoring system.
UBA uses ML and deep learning to build out behavior vulnerabilities and then detects anything unusual. After detection, it analyzes the behavior to see if it could cause a security vulnerability and alerts security teams accordingly.
The value of UBA is that you are addressing every component of threat. It falls into the Gray and White Box Penetration Testing buckets. What you learn from such deployments could also guide your employee cybersecurity training as you’ll likely identify patterns of actions that don’t align with your cybersecurity guidelines.
6. Cloud Security
Cloud security isn’t a new aspect of pen-testing. However, there are some shifts around where the threat resides. Gartner declared that in 2020, 95 percent of cloud security failures would be at the organization level.
Your organization uses and needs cloud-based platforms to be productive and enable collaboration and communication. But your provider is not solely responsible for security. You’ll need to include cloud-based app security testing to protect all endpoints. Depending on how you use the cloud, you’ll need pentesting for SaaS (software as a service), IaaS (infrastructure as a service), and PaaS (platform as a service).
Are You Confident in Your Penetration Testing Efforts?
Having a robust penetration testing program is no longer just good to have — it’s a must for any organization to manage security risks proactively. We offer a turnkey solution for businesses, testing their systems, and evaluating security controls. Contact us today to learn more.