The speed of development in the cyber world has been dazzling over the past century. New online services, software programs, businesses, and websites are developed every day, providing for more than 4.5 billion users of the Internet. But in this Area, the threats and dangers are rising as fast as the opportunities. In 2016, every 40 seconds, a business was targeted by a malicious cyberattack. This window will reduce to 11 seconds by 2021. More than half of the medium-sized local businesses can’t make it to the first six months on an online platform only because of the dangers of cybercrime.
Consequently, in this vicious environment, the need for sufficient tools and security approaches is urgent to compete against this army of robbers and racketeers. Penetration tests and Bug Bounties are among the best approaches in cybersecurity. These cyber defense programs enable companies to protect their platforms against any vulnerability or flaw.
In this brief, we will talk about pen-testing and compare it to crowdsourced defense approaches such as Bug Bounties. And in the end, we will suggest a comprehensive approach to defend your company against any possible malicious intent in the most efficient way.
What is Penetration Test?
Pen-testing is referred to any simulated cyberattack on a platform, authorized by the developer to evaluate the security status of their business. IN this program, an ethical hacker mimics all the tools and techniques used by malicious black-hats to gain and maintain access to the system and exploit the system’s vulnerabilities. The exploited data will be protected against any misuse and will be reported to the provider later to be fixed. This comprehensive assessment usually takes days to complete and is offered by a cybersecurity platform contractor, providing you with skilled white-hat hackers
First, the company’s cybersecurity team provides the hacker with a virtual or physical assessment environment to run scans and attacks on the system. Then, the hacker may use a variety of techniques such as backdoors, SQL injections, and Phishing to find any deficiency in the system’s security perimeter. After gathering data on the vulnerabilities, the hacker gives a detailed report on all the exploited bugs as well as suggested response to the provider. Then the provider’s cybersecurity team can use this data to take care of any vulnerability in their system before a malicious hacker can reach them.
Penetration Test Methods
There is a variety of Pen-testing methods that can be used by a cybersecurity specialist to assess your platform.
In an external penetration test, the visible assets of the company like web applications, websites, emails, and domains are targeted. Meanwhile, in an internal assessment, the threats behind the company’s firewall are simulated; like a rogue insider or an employee with stolen credentials.
In addition to that, a penetration test can be categorized under the terms of white, grey, or black box pen-testing. In a white box pen-test, the hacker has access to every aspect of system background and data. However, in a black-box approach, the name of the company is the hacker’s only lead to simulate a real-life malicious attack. Furthermore, a grey box pen-test takes place with limited information provided to the hacker.
Penetration test vs. Crowdsourced defense
The comparison between “vulnerability assessment” approaches like Pen-test and “crowdsourced” methods such as Bug Bounty has been an ongoing debate in the cybersecurity community. Here is a comprehensive comparison of these two approaches for you to find the best cyberdefense solution for your company.
Pen-testing and bug bounties can be compared in several features:
1. Specialty range
In a single penetration test assessment, one cybersecurity specialist with limited specialty and set of skills is in charge of your security scan. Meanwhile, in a crowdsourced VRP (Vulnerability Reward Program) like Bug Bounty, an unlimited number of specialists from all over the world with a vast range of skills and expertise are used as your security perimeter.
2. Service cost
From the aspect of cost-efficiency, your cybersecurity budget is spent more wisely using the crowdsourced defense. the average cost of a full penetration test is around $30,000. The Pen-tester receives this money, regardless of the number and importance of the bugs found. However, in a bug bounty program, the money is only paid for real, found vulnerabilities, and the amount of reward depends on how crucial the bug is.
Moreover, increasing the number of specialists can lead to a reduction in the average price of the service, as the competition is higher with crowdsourced programs. Additionally, the total cost of a crowdsourced program is spread over time as you will pay for the bounties on different dates of their discovery; instead of all in one place, as happens in Pen-test.
A penetration test is a one-time assessment in which the hacker has a limited time to evaluate your security. As a result, some complex vulnerabilities and flaws are not usually found in a pen-test while the low-hanging-fruit creates most of the results. On the other hand, with a crowdsourced defense, you have an unlimited 24/7 assessment of your system every day of the year, and a variety of flaws are usually found by the bug bounty specialists.
In addition to that, for websites, applications, and platforms with more frequent updates, using bug bounties is very more sufficient than running a new Pen-test assessment every time a major update is released.
4. Pen-tester syndrome
Penetration tester syndrome is a common phenomenon in this type of assessment. Usually, a Pen-tester, with limited time and resources, faces the provider company’s commitment to at least reach a defined number of vulnerabilities for marketing purposes. As a result, many unimportant vulnerability reports such as missing HTTP headers find their way to the list of results, even though it can’t help the customer to stop real attacks.
5. Assessment Range
The most important benefit of a penetration test, however, is the range of the assessment. A penetration test is a full assessment of your platform and is completely suitable for testing a prototype of your product before releasing it. On the contrary, a bug bounty works per-vulnerability, and the flaws are reported one by one without any particular time frame. In this situation, the crowdsourced defense is not a suitable solution considering the more flexible schedule.
What is the best approach in Cyberdefense?
As mentioned above, there are many differences between Penetration tests and Crowdsourced methods. Both of them have their pros and cons, but none of them is completely sufficient on its own for creating a completely safe platform for you.
The best approach a company can pursue in order to have the most comprehensive assessment of its security is to use a combination of the two approaches. Our suggestion for making the most of these methods to reach the best protection is as follows.
In the first steps of creating the platform, you need to have a comprehensive assessment of any kind of complex or basic vulnerability on your system. As a result, you better run a full Penetration test on your platform to be safe to release it within the time frame you desire. Then, after your program is safely released, you can use Crowdsourced VRPs like bug bounties and threat hunting tools to have a continuous observance over your system.
One of the most recent platforms in the cybersecurity world is the next-generation penetration test. Using this platform, you can have the full assessment feature of a penetration test combined with the crowdsourced characteristic of a bug bounty. In the next-generation pen-test, you run a full diagnosis on your platform like a regular pen-test, only this time it’s not just one single specialist who does the job.
In these programs, the service provider connects you to thousands of trustable ethical hackers around the world that will do your pen-testing for you. It’s a viable solution for companies who are not willing to take any risks in their cybersecurity and want the best assessment for their program.
SecureMind is proud to announce that it’s months away from implementing the SecureBug platform as the first “Next-generation Penetration test” platform in the Scandinavian countries and a great help to cybersecurity in this region.
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