Hiring Hackers for Penetration Testing

22.03.2018 by

In a cyber world of constantly emerging and evolving threats, most organizations and their assets are constantly under attack, in some form or another. Malware, ransomware, opportunists, criminal groups, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and even nation-state actors are all out there, trying to get in.

However, the biggest threat to your organization is already in front of you; it’s human error that actually causes a significant number of breaches. Most of the times, it’s either because of the lack of awareness, insecure online practices, or a combination of both. Remember that suspicious email that you received with a Word document attachment? When you opened it, and allowed the bundled macros to execute, you might have given someone access to your internal network.

In an attempt to minimize these risks, most organizations would typically install an expensive firewall (sometimes with intrusion detection features), install endpoint protection on the corporate machines and maybe some sort of vulnerability scanning service. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near enough to stop any determined attacker. The better approach would be to let the hackers in and let them reveal your weaknesses. And this is where penetration testing comes into play.

What is a penetration test?

A penetration is an authorized attack on a computer system that looks for security weaknesses and  is performed to mitigate against all attacks on company data.

According to the Penetration Testing Execution standard, (PTES) a penetration test can be broken down into 7 stages. Each stage follows the next until there are sufficient results to produce as a report for the company with whom has requested the test. It is often said that the strength of the “pen test” is based on the quality of the report that it produces.  Inside this report the information found from the test is usually rated on a scale of importance, based on its level of immediacy, as each item that is vulnerable is itemized for the company to patch and fix. Producing a standard report has always been the traditional procedural process for companies to regularly test and mitigate against threats.

  • Pre-engagement Interactions
  • Intelligence Gathering
  • Threat Modeling
  • Vulnerability Analysis
  • Exploitation
  • Post Exploitation
  • Reporting

A common misconception is that a penetration test is a comprehensive vulnerability scan automated by tools.   A vulnerability assessment identifies and reports noted vulnerabilities. This assessment will often include CVE numbers and lists of patches that need to be applied.  With a penetration test, companies receive an actual understanding of how these vulnerabilities could be exploited by an attacker: how they could be chained and leveraged like pieces of a puzzle, with the objective to take over companies data. When you hire consultants to perform a pen test you are asking them to attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities to determine whether unauthorized access or other malicious activity is possible. Often times companies will request network penetration testing, application security testing , as well as controls and processes around the networks and applications. These tests will usually be performed both outside the network (external testing) and from inside the network. Testing can even go further to include a social engineering component to it, which aims to determine whether your staff is aware of the essential security practices and tries to predict what could go wrong.

How does a penetration help your company?

The argument for allocating budget for a penetration test is probably best presented not as “whether or not you should” but rather “what happens when you don’t.” Penetration testing has been known to save corporations and small businesses millions of pounds each year,  as well as help to maintain company integrity by demonstrating to shareholders and customers that security is indeed part of the business.  The best way to help companies protect their assets is to stay ahead of their attacks. Penetration testing is most effective when it’s able to close entire types of vulnerabilities and weaknesses across a network, instead of specific issues.  And this is what determines whether you will be affected by the next ransomware attack or not, should something breach your network and compromise a few machines. Not to mention the fact that it gives companies the opportunity to prepare for the actual ‘incident response’ phase beforehand, typically to apply fixes, analyse findings etc.

Actively testing your company’s infrastructure is a “must do” these days. Whether you hire external consultants or skill up internally, companies should be orchestrating security checks on a quarterly basis. You can never be too careful when it comes to company intellectual property.

Why should you use the hackers of Hacker House?

There are so many tools out there for penetration testers to use, its often all to easy to become complacent on the job. Several security consultants get comfortable with a few scanners and tools they use to perform a penetration test and are more in tune with the procedure of reporting then they are actual attacking.

Hacker House is made up a team of professional hackers. The same individuals who were hired into industry, and quit when they found they weren’t able to continue to develop their skill. They were either forced to follow process or soon felt their skills were stifled within their job. Enabling hackers to continue skills development is the best way to stay cutting edge on your security. We encourage our hackers to think out of the box, and to constantly find new ways to build solutions.  Our hackers think of the next big threat because they are able to write their own code, develop their own exploits—and as they are trained to be attackers as well as professionals, know how to go above and beyond the range of work noted within a traditional consultants scope.

Hacker House team of hackers are the one’s who will find a way in, regardless of what the current company’s security posture is. And this isn’t because they do anything unlawful or illegal; its because the team of Hacker House are actively engaging in new ways to compromise networks, crack passwords and exploit software. Our team of professional hackers are what most corporations spend thousands of hours recruiting for, and paying top dollar consultancy’s for.

At Hacker House, we offer comprehensive and custom-tailored penetration testing services, and with decades of combined technical experience, our experts are always ready to discuss your needs and offer you the peace of mind that your organization is safe.  We do security from the point of view from the attacker with every intention to help our clients maintain cyber resiliency.