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How Penetration Testing Can Uncover Hidden Security Risks

Cyber threats are always evolving, and cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout for new tactics and tools. Safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining operational continuity is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Sometimes, though, the best way to combat the threat of hackers is to fight fire with fire. In other words, to try and hack your own defences. Cyber security assessments and penetration testing are two of the most indispensable tools for modern businesses, helping them to strengthen their security and find vulnerabilities before criminals can exploit them.

The Importance of Penetration Testing

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre defines penetration testing as “A method for gaining assurance in the security of an IT system by attempting to breach some or all of that system’s security, using the same tools and techniques as an adversary might.” Penetration testing – and other cyber security assessments – are proactive measures designed to find and deal with any vulnerabilities in an organisation’ network. Unlike more conventional preventative measures, this method of testing puts cyber security experts in the shoes of a cyber attacker.

By simulating real-life cyber attacks, penetration testing gives businesses invaluable insights into the effectiveness of their existing cyber defences, and highlights any areas that require immediate attention. Not only does this approach help organisations to fortify their defences, but it also helps them to stay one step ahead of emerging threats and even compliance requirements.

The Dangers of Vulnerabilities

In recent years, a number of high-profile incidents have shown the importance of penetration testing. From data breaches to ransomware attacks, businesses of all sizes can fall victim to cyber attacks because of overlooked vulnerabilities. 

For example, one of the biggest cyber attacks in recent years was the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017. It affected 230,000 computers in 150 countries around the world. In the UK, thousands of hospitals were affected – the attack was estimated to cost the NHS £92 million. The effects of this attack could have been prevented with penetration testing. Cyber criminals were able to exploit a vulnerability in outdated versions of Windows. Microsoft had released a patch for this vulnerability two months earlier.

More recently, the security firm Salt Security found a number of vulnerabilities in ChatGPT plugins. These vulnerabilities could be exploited by cyber criminals. This would allow them to steal data, and even take over accounts on third-party websites like GitHub or Google Drive. Although these have already been patched, a vulnerability like this could have affected millions of people – according to recent data from Open AI, ChatGPT has over 180 million monthly users.

Examples like these showcase the potential consequences of neglecting cyber security assessments, as well as the need for proactive measures, to identify and remediate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

The Shift Towards Continuous Penetration Testing

Sometimes, however, penetration testing isn’t enough. In today’s cyber security landscape, periodic security assessments can no longer address the amount and scope of cyber threats. Many businesses are recognising the need for continuous monitoring and evaluation of their cyber defences, and embracing the concept of continuous testing.

This entails ongoing assessments and real-time analysis of security controls, enabling organisations to detect and respond to emerging threats swiftly. By integrating penetration testing into their cyber security strategy on a regular basis, businesses can stay vigilant against evolving threats and adapt their defences accordingly.

How Infosec K2K Can Help

Here at Infosec K2K, we specialise in Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions. These are complemented by comprehensive cyber security services. Our assessments include Risk Assessments, IAM Maturity Assessments, and a comprehensive IAM Health Check. As well as evaluating your defences, our experts will offer actionable recommendations. These services can be meticulously crafted to suit the unique needs of each client. With a team of security experts and an array of specialist partners including AT&T Cybersecurity and Picus Security we conduct exhaustive assessments of your security. This way, we can pinpoint any vulnerabilities in an organisation’s digital ecosystem.

Working with Infosec K2K offers businesses many advantages. Our team can identify security risks across diverse environments, or offer tailored solutions for your specific security requirements. We also provide continuous support, ensuring compliance with regulations and industry standards. With regular cyber security assessments, we can uncover risks and fortify businesses’ security posture over time. We help businesses defend themselves against new threats and address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

In an era defined by relentless cyber threats, the importance of proactive measures like assessments and penetration tests can’t be overstated. This way, businesses can safeguard their assets, maintain customer trust, and avoid the costly repercussions of data breaches and cyber attacks. At Infosec K2K, we’re committed to helping organisations navigate today’s complex threat landscape securely. By partnering with us and our network of partners, businesses can embrace a proactive approach to protecting their assets.

Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.

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Marching Towards Better Security: The IAM Trends to Watch in 2024

With technology always evolving, and new threats emerging almost every day, it’s important to stay on top of the latest cyber security trends. The world of Identity and Access Management (IAM) is constantly adapting, and in this blog post we’re delving into some of the key IAM trends set to shape the sector this year, and explore how businesses can use these IAM trends to bolster their own cyber defences.

AI’s Growing Influence

The rise (and the increasing sophistication) of AI in recent years is already transforming cyber security strategies, and reshaping how many people think of IAM. Thanks to AI’s rapid evolution, businesses face escalating threats, from sophisticated phishing schemes to AI-generated content. Last year, many malicious actors used tools like ChatGPT to write BEC and phishing emails. In January, the NCSC warned ransomware attacks will increase because of AI.

However, it’s not all bad news. Integrating AI into your security strategies is a key IAM trend, helping businesses boost their cyber defences and stay ahead of evolving cyber threats. In fact, AI promises to become one of the major IAM trends over the coming years. By automating tasks like user provisioning and analysing users’ behaviour, AI enhances efficiency and precision while bolstering security, and AI’s predictive capabilities can also enable proactive defence measures, by helping cyber security teams to anticipate and deal with potential threats before they can do any damage.

More Advanced Biometrics

Biometric authentication is set to become more widespread, offering businesses a robust defence against the likes of data breaches and unauthorised access. As traditional password-based methods falter against phishing attacks, biometrics have emerged as a secure alternative. Leveraging unique physical traits like fingerprints, facial recognition, and even iris recognition, biometric authentication can strengthen security while also making the user experience more efficient and more seamless. A growing number of businesses are turning to biometrics – recent research by FICO revealed 87% of businesses said biometrics were a favourite authentication choice.

With advances in technology such as AI and machine learning, biometric systems have become even more accurate and reliable, helping to stave off insider threats and cyber attacks. In 2024, biometrics could also include users’ behavioural analytics rather than just their physical attributes. By analysing their signature, how they type on a keyboard, or even how they walk, authentication processes could become even more stringent, and protect businesses’ assets. There are some downsides to the use of biometrics, however. With biometrics improving and securing authentication measures, criminals may start targeting the hardware and software they use instead. They may also try to steal the biometric data itself, raising concerns about the privacy and security of this data. It’s crucial businesses meet these challenges and stay ahead of potential threats.

Stricter Data Privacy Regulations

When it comes to IAM and cyber security, regulatory compliance is crucial. That’s why here at Infosec K2K, as part of our security assurance services, we offer our clients IAM Audit & Compliance Services. Different industries and sectors have different regulations related to data security, from GDPR to HIPAA, and failing to comply with these can lead to costly fines and even damage your firm’s reputation.

IAM solutions can help your business to meet these regulations, as audit trails and user activity monitoring can help with regulatory audits. The number of regulations faced by today’s businesses are on the rise, and this trend is likely to increase even more in 2024. For example, the EU’s NIS2 directive came into effect last year, and businesses must comply with it by October this year. Companies are facing mounting compliance challenges, and staying updated is essential. Businesses that prioritise regulatory compliance save money, but also build trust with customers and stakeholders – and Infosec K2K’s thorough compliance audits can ensure long-term success.

Zero Trust Architecture

Recently, zero trust has gained traction and is on the rise, with more and more organisations opting for this IAM trend. Last year, the global zero trust security market was estimated to be worth $21,673.9 million, and is set to grow at a rate of 19.5% from 2024 to 2030. Even governments are turning to it – President Biden signed an Executive Order mandating US federal agencies adopt zero trust architecture.

When it comes to zero trust, businesses must assume that there are malicious actors trying to access their network at all times – and that all devices, users, and applications are a potential threat. In order to get into your network, users must have to keep proving their identity. Zero trust architecture focuses on authenticating and authorising every user and device accessing the network, regardless of their location or network environment. At Infosec K2K, we recognise the importance of zero trust principles in reducing the risk of data breaches and insider threats. Our IAM solutions incorporate zero trust principles to ensure only authenticated and authorised users are able to access your most critical resources.

By embracing the latest IAM trends and strategies, businesses can adapt to the evolving threat landscape and stay one step ahead of malicious actors. At Infosec K2K, we’re committed to empowering organisations with cutting-edge IAM solutions, and helping them to navigate the complexities of modern cyber security with confidence.

Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.