Data thieves are becoming more and more ingenious so you may want to consider penetration testing.
This is where an individual will hack into your systems to find those vulnerable spots before someone with more malicious intent does.
Sure, intrusion detection systems and even firewalls can protect most systems, yet they do not offer complete protection.
Such security can come apart at the seams and the best hackers may be able to find a way in.
Before the damage becomes irrevocable, get a hacker to test your security to the max and identify those vulnerabilities so they can be fixed in good time.
In this guide, we will look at how to find a hacker, particularly the right one.
This will include looking for the right certifications, using word of mouth, choosing between white, black, and gray-box testing, and working out your budget.
How To Find A Hacker
External testing is now seen as essential to make sure that your system and applications are ready to be used properly in the real digital world.
That typically means finding someone to test the intricacies of your security, it means finding a hacker to perform some penetration testing.
If anything, the hacker will show your organization where the vulnerabilities lie, which ones you should prioritize, and how to fix them.
Look For The Right Certifications
Several organizations like the SANS Institute will provide training in cybersecurity so look out for one of their certifications.
For a more specific certification, look towards the Penetration Testing Execution Standard. This accreditation looks at a network test and goes all the way up to a full-on red team engagement.
There is also the EC-Council which has its own certification known as the Certified Ethical Hacker accreditation.
Word Of Mouth
Sometimes, the best people may be found off the beaten track and you may need to network to find them.
Put the word out there with other, similar organizations to your own that you are looking to use a hacker.
Trusted peers can provide references and word of mouth can be a surefire way to find the most skilled hackers simply because they have proven themselves already.
As penetration testing can be classed as a skill, even an art form, it helps to find those individuals who opt to use creative methods and their own curiosity rather than rely on certifications.
To find a collection of relevant cybersecurity (see also: How To Become A Cybersecurity Analyst)companies, try to attend a cybersecurity conference and get talking.
Choose Between White, Black, Or Gray-Box Testing
There is a range of testing out there so you may want to limit yourselves to a specific one.
A lot of organizations go for white or gray-box tests, simply because it remains too easy for hackers to find even the most basic information.
While a black-box penetration test may seem tempting, it is largely irrelevant as hackers can find the information about their environment relatively easily.
Also, with a white or gray-box penetration test, you can allow your developers to sit with the test team so they can fix the code while preventing future vulnerabilities at the same time.
Work Out Your Budget
While your security should be prioritized, you can still determine how much of your organization’s budget gets spent on it.
Finding a hacker to perform penetration testing comes with a cost and some have a higher price range than others. Then there is the length of the job and the size of the testing environment to consider.
What could be of interest is a commoditized engagement where a hacker receives a higher payment based on the quality of their work.
That could be the number of documented attacks with evidence including sample code and screenshots of the attack.
You may want to pay more for their ‘prioritized remediation plan’ too as it can prove relatively straightforward to set your protection on a more secure footing.
The biggest organizations will opt for the more expensive option. This will likely be an open-ended contract that commits a hacker to continually scan every part of the organization.
For that contract, you can expect an organization to commit millions of dollars towards such continual protection.
However, you may simply before an effort for one to two weeks that provides a balance of attacks from inside and outside the company.
Once the penetration testing has been completed, you should be provided with a report with the hacker’s findings.
To make the most out of finding the right hacker, ensure that you execute a plan to act upon those findings.
If various areas of your security come up all too often on the report then that’s a clear signal that you need to prioritize those areas.
Invest responsibly to fix those areas and ensure that those vulnerabilities are protected as prevention should be cheaper than the cure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is It Important To Find Hackers With Different Skill Sets?
It may be an option to not just find one hacker but several, each with their own skill set.
That could equate to one hacker who tests the software stack, another that goes for the physical hardware, and one more who looks towards the business processes located in the cloud.
Some organizations even look at using different testers for each particular round of tests for a more rounded approach.
This rotation between hackers may find different vulnerabilities and weaknesses as each uses their own specific methods.
What Penetration Testing Can An Organization Perform Themselves?
Before you find a hacker, try to perform some penetration testing yourselves.
Open-source tools are available to perform some truly basic scanning and that can help discover the most obvious of vulnerabilities.
These penetration testing toolkits can perform network traffic analysis and identify vulnerabilities in WordPress and SQL.
While they may not be as adept or thorough as a hacker, it will give a short overview of the basic vulnerabilities that can be easily spotted that you should be able to fix.