penetration testing

4 Benefits of Regular Penetration Testing

Since last year, most companies have had to switch to remote working, which means that they have had to adapt technologies such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) or communication platforms to their companies to work properly. If their risks were not taken into account, all these implementations could be exposing the company to a possible cyber-attack. Cyber-attacks on companies are becoming more and more common, no matter the size, type, or nature of your company, there is a very high probability that at some point it will be the victim of a cyber-attack.

It is very important to identify your company’s weaknesses, how a cyber attacker can take advantage of them, and how you can fix them. To do all this, you can go to perform a penetration test regularly.

Here are 5 benefits of Regular Penetration Testing

1. Identify vulnerabilities in your systems

There is no one totally secure system. Every time you implement a system, it is very likely that you will have a vulnerability in it. The benefit of doing a penetration test is that you put yourself in the place of a cyber attacker. You can find the vulnerabilities in your system before you suffer a damaging cyber-attack for the company. After finding an exposure, you must think about how to fix that vulnerability.

2. Avoid financial losses

Recovering financially from a cyber-attack can cost you more than you think if you don’t prepare for it. According to Bloomberg, cyber-attacks could exceed US$6 billion by 2021 in damages to businesses. Regular penetration testing can prepare you and help you know how to react to cyber-attacks and reduce your financial losses.

3. Identify and manage risks

Scheduling a penetration test regularly allows you to know the risks found in all the systems in your company, be it web applications, your network, or other systems. Penetration testing can help you understand what your risks are and how you can manage them by applying the right actions as appropriate, i.e., you can know whether to accept the risk, mitigate it, or transfer it.

4. Increase customer trust

A company with a good reputation in cybersecurity is always reliable for customers. No matter what type of company it is, information security is paramount. Regularly performing penetration testing can help you increase your company’s safety and, at the same time, increase the confidence of your customers because you are constantly looking at how you can prevent a cyber attacker from attacking your systems to protect your customers’ information.

Would you like CyberWarrior to help you with your company’s security? Contact us today.

Hacker

What it Means to be a Hacker

An ominous hooded man taps away in a dark room as green texts flood multiple screens. This is the mental image that comes to most people when they hear the word “hacker,” which is how the media and entertainment industry has portrayed them. Despite this, the common perception people have of hackers is rarely accurate to reality.

So, what does it mean then to be a hacker?

The Stereotype

If the image associated with hackers by media is inaccurate, where does this false stereotype come from? Two clashing and deciding forces work to perpetuate the stereotype in question. They are the culture of anonymity and the media limelight. What do we mean by this?

Well, it is no mystery that hackers are seen as a secretive, shadowy group. This public perception is due to a scarcity of positive hacker public figures. Even though there are thriving good hacking communities (like the ones seen at DefCon), the public rarely recognizes their constituents since their reputation derives from their high technical skills, which only fellow members can assess. Therefore, the few names that catch the public eyes are usually are synonymous with nationwide security scandals, as is the case with whistle-blowers like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or those like Kevin Mitnick, who was once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

For better or worse, this only serves the media’s ability to tell a fantastical tale so distant from the true nature of hacking. Additionally, since many influential hacking groups, like Anonymous, tend to have a decentralized, non-hierarchical structure, the individual then melts into the group as they work to achieve a critical mass. The anonymity sought by these groups then fuels preexisting negative stereotypes and enhances the notoriety of cyber-activist collectives.

Hacking, and the rest of cybersecurity operations, is a tedious and complicated process involving many calculated steps, protocols, and procedures. However, moviemakers often sensationalize and oversimplify real methods and situations to appeal to large audiences. Frequently, you will see someone sitting in front of several monitors, typing at inhuman speeds and taking down large infrastructures and organizations with just a few lines of code. Though it makes for good entertainment, this inaccurately represents an eclectic and layered community and trivializes what it so passionately stands for.

With this in mind, the question stands: What does hacking truly stand for?

What is Hacking?

To juxtapose the stereotype mentioned above, what does a hacker genuinely look like? Well, the only honest answer is that there is no answer. The truth is there is no definitive look to hackers. Hackers come from a wide range of backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and education levels. To emphasize this point further, let us analyze the following image:

Left to right: Kevin Mitnick, American computer security consultant, author, and convicted hacker. Amanda L Rousseau, Offensive Security Unicorn @ Meta Red Team. Santiago Lopez Ethical Hacker at HackerOne. Photo credits go to the authors.

Do you know what these three people have in common? They are all hackers. This picture demonstrates an irrefutable fact: Hackers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Therefore, if no set visual cue distinguishes hackers from regular folk, what truly defines hackers or hacking?

Simply put, hacking is discovering ways to use software, computer, and networking systems for purposes others than their intended use. This can mean anything from gaining unauthorized access to information systems, denying legitimate users access to data, stopping the function of technical services, stealing confidential information, or simply buffing the operation of a system. Surprisingly, despite how sinister the previous uses for hacking might sound, the intention behind them is not always malicious.

Actually, given by their intention, there are several categories under which hackers can fall. We will analyze three: black hat, white hat, and grey hat hackers.

  • Black hat hackers are those who use their computer and networking skills for illegal purposes or personal gain. They can use their knowledge to hack into systems by gaining unauthorized access, stealing confidential information, or disrupting computer or network services. One of the major ways this type of hacker make profit is when they hold stolen information “hostage” until they receive a sum of money for its “release”.
  • White hat hackers are the antithesis to black hat hackers. They are the “good guys” of the hacker world. They put their knowledge and skills to use by unearthing vulnerabilities for systems they have permission to hack. This is done so that the company become aware of said vulnerabilities and patch them. Many times the actions required in this process are the same ones a malicious hacker would make, the only difference being company authorization.
  • Grey hat hackers, as the name suggests, land on the sweet spot between “good” and “bad”. They will look for vulnerabilities in a system without permission but with possibly good intentions. These being to inform the company of the recently discovered vulnerabilities and charging a fee for the info on these or the service of fixing them. Now, where the grey area comes in is the illegal nature of performing these vulnerability tests without authorization. Additionally, if the company in question does not pay the grey hacker in a timely fashion, the hacker might expose these exploits to the Internet or use them himself against the company.

There’s more to hacking than a negative connotation, so let’s analyze some ways in which hacking can be properly represented while still warning the public of valid risks concerning threat actors.

Addressing Concerns

The primary reason that hackers have such a negative reputation is ignorance. Most people are not aware of what cybersecurity and, consequently, being a hacker involves. Therefore, the only way to address this issue is by exposure – through an accurate and truthful depiction of who hackers genuinely are and represent. So, how can this be carried out?

The first step is for the media to rely less on sensationalism and more on accuracy when depicting tales about hackers. For example, let’s examine the success of Mr. Robot, an Emmy-winning hit series that showed the life of a cybersecurity engineer turned hacker-vigilante by night. The success of this series was owed to an excellent script and not sensationalized hacking sequences. The show writers also took great care in consulting with a team of real hackers while writing the script. This resulted in a series beloved by hackers and common folk alike.

Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in the popular series Mr. Robot. Photo: David Giesbrecht/USA

The real hacking community

It would be foolish to ignore the real threat presented by malicious or black hat hackers. Therefore, it is necessary to establish campaigns advocating for healthy cybersecurity practices, at an enterprise and public level. In these campaigns, knowledge on threat actors, security risks, and best practices would be imparted, equipping people to protect themselves from real threats.

The hacking community has long been misrepresented. This is due to inaccurate depictions by the media, the notoriety of some cases involving hackers, and the very nature of hacker groups and the community they may or may not represent. Media creators paying more attention to detail when telling stories regarding hackers and campaigns advocating for awareness on cybersecurity would help tremendously create a safer and more knowledgeable cyber-world.

Now, are you interested in becoming a white-hat hacker? Learn more.

Managed Services

Managed Security Services to Combat the Skills Gap

All companies are taking steps towards digitalization, creating new products with automatic functionalities and internet connectivity. At these times, companies have a higher chance of being victims of a cyber-attack and must have professional staff with the necessary knowledge about Cyber-Security.

Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities to exploit and make a profit. And because of the global pandemic of covid 19 so far, cyber-attacks have increased by more than 400%.

Unfortunately, the Cybersecurity skills gap is part of the challenge. Security professionals are in huge demand as organizations adopt digital strategies, yet very few professionals have the necessary knowledge, and hands-on security experience organizations seek.

Currently, an estimated 500,000 Cybersecurity jobs in the US are open. A report from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that there will be 3.5 million unfilled Cyber-Security jobs in 2021.

What are Managed Security Services?

A Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) helps protect businesses from security threats. These companies provide various services, such as continuous security monitoring, vulnerability risk assessment, threat intelligence and assessments, intrusion management, video surveillance, and access control. MSSPs can also provide security recommendations and some level of continuous security, and they can develop policies to help protect a company’s infrastructure.

Six main categories of MSSP

There are six main categories of managed security services, including:

  • on-site consulting.
  • perimeter management of the client’s network.
  • product resale.
  • managed security monitoring.
  • penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.
  • compliance monitoring.

Combat the Skills Gap

The managed security services model offers a unique solution to meet the massive demand for Cyber-Security professionals. An MSSP act as a much-needed source of technical expertise that can help organizations minimize the risk from Cyberattacks. Let see some benefits of the managed IT security services:

Enhanced Organizational Efficiency

Suppose your in-house IT team no longer has to keep track and address each alert or security threat. In that case, they’d have more time and energy to focus on other aspects of the job, and they could be able to be on top of their jobs, offer training sessions on cybersecurity awareness and day-to-day support.

The managed security services Provider will help organizations manage security risks that threaten business continuity. The Cyber-Security experts on MSSP will analyze the company, prioritize high-level threats, and then recommend the best possible solution to thwart those risks.

Reduced Costs

A thorough cybersecurity review of your organization’s needs might require experts from several fields, like a domain expert, a SIEM expert, and a firewall expert.

By choosing managed security services, you essentially lower the need for in-site experts because you have access to all these resources via the IT security consulting company.

Hiring, retaining, and managing your own in-house IT staff comes with high costs. It takes away valuable company resources that could be used for core business operations. Managed security services can give you a host of cybersecurity professionals at a fraction of the cost of recruiting and retaining costly expertise yourself.

Robust Security

When the attackers have access to recent innovations in tech and automation, you should have the same level of expertise and tools against them, too – and managed cybersecurity services will give you that. Once your processes have robust, reliable, and versatile network security automation put in place by security experts, you will have fewer worries about cybercriminals threatening business continuity.

Managed Security Services Providers can help you combat the cybersecurity skills gap by offering the latest technology and automation tools at lower prices than an on-site cyber security expert team.

For more information, please contact us.

Cybersecurity Audits

Why Cybersecurity Audits are Important

With the growing number of cyberthreats, it is becoming increasingly important for every organization’s audit plan to include cybersecurity. As a result, auditors are increasingly asked to examine cybersecurity procedures, policies, and tools to ensure adequate security controls are in place. Cybersecurity flaws can put the entire organization at risk, so these audits are more important than ever.

Organizations should perform frequent cybersecurity audits to determine how effective their security is and guarantee compliance with IT security guidelines and regulations. These audits are distinct from risk assessments, which look into an organization’s IT security safeguards and its ability to address issues. Instead, cybersecurity audits function as a checklist that enterprises may use to assess their security policies and procedures.

Cybersecurity audits enable companies to take a proactive approach when creating cybersecurity policies, resulting in more dynamic threat management.

Third-party suppliers do cybersecurity audits to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. An in-house team can also administer them if they act independently of their parent organization.

The cybersecurity audit universe includes all control sets, management practices, and governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) rules in force at the enterprise level. An extended audit universe may even include third parties bound by a contract incorporating audit rights in some cases.”

Best Practices for a Cybersecurity Audit

Before beginning an audit, cybersecurity auditors should establish the audit subject and purpose according to the organization’s boundaries and constraints, including whether personal devices and external apps should be evaluated. Another factor that may limit the scope of the audit is whether the audit will focus on internal or external IT infrastructure.

In most cases, IT use extends beyond the internal organizational network, such as traveling, home-use settings, or cloud adoption. While this may increase cybersecurity risk, it is now standard practice in most businesses, especially given the large number of federal employees who continue to work from home.

It is a good practice to adopt a risk-based view and establish the objectives accordingly. Audit objectives should be limited to a reasonable scope and match the organization’s cybersecurity and protection goals. Also, look over the organization’s data security policies. Make sure you check the policy about data confidentiality, integrity, and availability before the audit begins.

Auditors can classify data and decide how many degrees are required to secure it, so it’s recommended to compile all cybersecurity and compliance policies into a single document, allowing auditors to better grasp the organization’s procedures.

As a result, the auditor will have an easier time identifying deficiencies. Network access control, disaster recovery and business continuity, remote work, and permissible use are some of the policies we suggest implementing.

Organizations should also disclose their network structure. One of the objectives of cybersecurity audits is to identify potential security gaps on company networks. Providing your auditor with a network diagram allows them to understand your IT infrastructure thoroughly, which speeds up the evaluation process, according to the firm. To make a network diagram, put out your network assets and explain how they interact. Auditors can more quickly spot potential flaws and edges with a top-down view of your network.

Before the audit begins, some of the organization’s IT and cybersecurity officials should review key compliance standards and criteria. Then, communicate them to the audit team to tailor the audit to the organization’s needs.

Finally, SecurityScorecard suggests that organizations compile a list of security employees and their tasks. Employee interviews are a crucial component of any cybersecurity audit. To acquire a better understanding of an organization’s security architecture, auditors frequently interview various security personnel.

How Often Should Organizations Audit Their Cybersecurity?

A cybersecurity audit is supposed to serve as a ‘checklist’ that validates the rules a cybersecurity team said are actually in place and that there are control mechanisms to enforce them.

Furthermore, a cyber security audit provides a snapshot of your network’s health. While an audit can give you a detailed look at your cyber-health at a single point in time, it can’t give you an insight into your ongoing cyber management.

Cybersecurity audits should be performed at least once a year.

Other experts advocate for auditing more frequently, although a number of factors influence how often an agency should audit its cybersecurity, including a budget, current system or software upgrades, and compliance criteria.

For more information, please contact us.

Cybersecurity Awareness 

5 Ways to Raise Cybersecurity Awareness in your Business

Cyber threats are too prevalent and their potential impacts too severe for any organization to ignore. Having a solid cybersecurity-conscious culture can do wonders in mitigating cyber risks, as it helps ensure that every employee understands and follows basic best practices for cybersecurity.

With this in mind, here are some cybersecurity awareness tips that organizations of all sizes and industries can benefit from, including yours:

1. Let cybersecurity be the #1 priority

The success of any cyber security awareness program depends on its implementation. The best thing you can do is take the time to identify and prioritize any weak areas — teams or departments which may benefit immediately from cybersecurity awareness training. Develop a comprehensive plan dividend in the long run.

2. Know your Organizational Tolerances

If you want to have a successful awareness program, your organization needs to evaluate the threat landscape and identify your top risks. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of the world’s threats that could compromise your security itself or even the organization. Your risk tolerance needs to be defined from the beginning; that way, you can implement the correct solutions to every risk coming and implement many security parameters even to prevent those risks.

3. Set specific rules for emails, browsing, and mobile devices

You must set rules for browsing, emails, and mobile usage. Now, why is that? Because these are the three top areas in which your information and security can be compromised. Setting rules to these will make your work more secure, and I promise you that your information will be in good hands.

4. Make Cybersecurity Awareness Training Mandatory For All

Implement Cybersecurity with the same courage and seriousness that you take into account other risks. Make cybersecurity training mandatory for everyone, whether through an external course or internal training. Regardless of the employee’s position in the company, everyone must be aware of the common threats.

5. Implement Cybersecurity Awareness right from the first day

It is always great to start on the right foot. If we want to have everything protected, why not start the right way? To do that, inform employees about their cyber-responsibilities. Adapting Cybersecurity as part of your onboarding processes and policies is an excellent method to educate users. So, this step is key.

There’s a high number of users being affected by attacks online. Organizations, enterprises, employees, data, everything is exposed to cyber threats and technology risks. Having a good cybersecurity system will help you protect your systems against various threats such as ransomware, malware, among others. Thus, your data and networks will be safe, avoiding the entry of unauthorized users who may have bad intentions.

For more information, contact us.

Be Cyber Smart

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Be Cyber Smart

Technology is snowballing, attacks are innovating, and users’ vulnerability is increasing. Even though security is also growing and being developed by cybersecurity analysts, the job is not done. It is important to understand that security doesn’t start or end with the professionals fighting for good; it also counts on the people who use the technology every day, like all of us.

Now, what can you do to prevent these massive attacks that are ruining people’s lives and big companies around the whole world? Simple, make the decision – play smart! Now, you’ll probably want to know how to do that? Right?

Every October, cybersecurity awareness month serves as a timely reminder for companies and individuals to check their cybersecurity practices after a tumultuous year of cyberattacks across industries.

In 2021, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will continue using the overarching theme:

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.


Each week of this fantastic month will be based on a different topic. This article will guide you through it and help you be Cyber Smart at the same time. Let’s go!

Week 1. Cybersecurity First.

To protect your data, such as passwords, files, or information, cybersecurity needs to be the first thing in your life.

The best way to protect yourself first is to do the basics without using any tools, like making strong passwords, having different passwords for different platforms, or avoiding putting your personal information on untrusted links. These actions may seem so basic they don’t help – but they do. They are really helpful as they make it a lot more difficult for attackers.

Week 2. Phight the Fish.

You might have heard the word phishing, but what’s that exactly? Around the world, some people fish daily, and it is curious to see the fish just getting trapped repeatedly and how the fishermen use and improve their techniques to get their prey.

“I don’t know why the fish keeps being caught like that,” you may think, but millions of users fall into the trap every day with just a click. It’s incredible how much information you can give through a link. That’s why you must be aware of the causes and consequences of phishing – because it’s your job to fight it.

Do not open every link you see. Even if you like cats a lot, you don’t need to open every file about cats you see. Hackers know that you might love cats (or dogs), and because they do, they’re going to use that to your disadvantage, so your job to protect yourself starts today: fight phishing!

Week 3. Explore. Experience. Share.

Right now, you may be in the step of your life in which you are discovering new things, such as visiting new places and moving forward, so… have you ever wonder what a day in the life of a cyber professional is like?

Cybersecurity professionals, or infosec analysts, have a wide range of responsibilities, but the goal of their job is to protect data online from being compromised. As more of our personal information is stored online, it becomes more important to step up security.

Explore new ways to protect yourself, experience putting them into practice, and you could also consider a career in cybersecurity. There are 500.000 open cybersecurity jobs across the United States, a field with a 0% unemployment rate since 2010 and an average starting salary for entry-level employees of $82,500.

We can not only raise awareness about cybersecurity but also work to make our communities safer.

Week 4. Be Cyber Smart.

What does it mean to be cyber smart? We just talked about it – make it harder for those who want your data. Increase those basic security measures that are so crucial for you. As we said, users don’t usually pay attention to having a strong password or checking before clicking because they see them as “basic” and don’t think how these measures could protect them. That’s precisely why the attackers can and will take advantage of the situation.

Raising cybersecurity awareness is more crucial than ever. You can’t leave everything to the cybersecurity professionals and assume your personal information “doesn’t matter to strangers.” This is your time to make a choice.

So, what are you waiting for? Do your part “#BeCyberSmart.”

If you want to learn more about this interesting topic, contact us.