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How Vulnerability Assessments May Keep Hackers at Bay

May 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 84

Many companies and individuals rely on computer networks to run their business. This encourages hackers to develop advanced techniques to break into networks and steal vital information. If your business has an internal network, one loophole in your system may put the entire network at risk. You need to do routine vulnerability assessments through ethical hacking to prevent this from happening.

You can identify and address flaws in your security before hackers can find them by assessing your network's vulnerability. Computer hardware and software developers perform vulnerability assessments to minimize or eliminate the possibility of unauthorized access.

These assessments do not just focus on making sure the security software is running. They need to determine how the software actually handles an aggressive attack by a hacker. You can do this through ethical hacking. This type of hacking focuses on simulating a real attack on your system. The reason they are called "ethical" hackers is because they perform hacks simply to test how effective your security software and hardware is, as opposed to real hackers who hack your system to steal information or destroy the network.

An ethical hacker usually knows how to perform two types of tests:

- White-Box Testing: This involves simulating an attack made by someone within the network. This kind of test checks if the network will remain secure if someone with some level of access (such as project managers or other mid-level employees) tries to access or steal data. White-box testing also determines how well your system holds up against someone with advanced knowledge of the security software you are using.

- Black Box Testing: This type of vulnerability assessment mimics an attack from a hacker outside the network, with little to no knowledge about your security software and network systems.

You need to conduct regular vulnerability tests to keep your business network secure. You should not neglect these tests even if you have the latest and most advanced anti-virus program. Hackers do not give up that easily. When new security software comes out, you can be sure there is a hacker out there working on new ways to crack the systems.

You need to do your tests at least once each year, and whenever you upgrade or replace your security systems. Keep detailed records of your observations as you conduct your tests. This will help you spot any recurring issues and see if there are other ways to fix it.

You can always hire someone else to do your tests for you if you have no experience dealing with security software. Just make sure you are hiring legitimate ethical hacking experts, as there are many software testers out there who are actually real hackers looking for an easy way to access your system. You need to be especially careful when hiring someone to do white-box testing for you, as it involves granting the hacker certain levels of access into your system.

Ami Watson works in an IT company providing vulnerability assessment and ethical hacking services.

Source: EzineArticles
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