Keep your software safe: get hacked by an ethical hacker

Using digital software always has security risks. Security bugs allow hackers to penetrate IT systems. If a hacker has wrong intentions, this can have major consequences for a person or company. You can get ahead of this by testing where the holes are in the software. This is called a penetration test, or a pen test. This test is also performed by a hacker, but one with good intentions: an ethical hacker.

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    Why bad hackers hack

    This is not meant to cause panic, but with vulnerable software, hackers can perform a lot of nasty actions with disastrous consequences. Many people are unaware of this. To identify what risks there are, it is important to look through the lens of a hacker. Why does a hacker want to hack someone?

    Hacking for money
    Many hackers have financial objectives. There are many ways to steal money. The most obvious is getting hold of account details and transferring money. In addition, hackers can also install something that completely blocks your system. This is called ransomware. Then the hackers can demand money to unblock it. They can also find other sensitive information that can be used as blackmail or can be sold to third parties. Something that has been happening more and more recently is taking advantage of someone else's server or computer for cryptomining. This is how hackers harness the power of your computer to make bitcoins. Without you knowing it!

    Hacking for attention
    Hacking is also often used to gain attention for a political message. A hacker then gains access to so many web pages, email addresses and social media accounts to share a political message on them. An example of this is a deface. This means that the front ends of multiple websites are changed by a hacker. This happened recently at Google Malaysia.

    Hackers can also add a computer or server in a botnet. This is a network of hacked systems that they can make do something with a simple command. They can deploy these to knock down digital infrastructures. So-called DDoS attacks. An example of this is the 'Mirai Botnet' that almost took down the entire internet.

    Hacking for fun

    Hacking is an exciting hobby and when it succeeds, it makes the hacker feel good. Many hackers get addicted to this feeling and become adrenaline junkies. They seek out random victims for their adrenaline rush. What is a fun hobby for the hacker may have major consequences for another.

    Do a penetration test

    For companies using IT systems responsibly, it is very important that security is good. Therefore, it is recommended to have a pentest do. The security of the software is then tested against real situations by an experienced ethical hacker. Security flaws, data breaches and bugs are identified and reported. With this valuable information, developers and system administrators can then ensure that the safety of the system waterproof can be made.

    There are three degrees of pen testing. White box, or hacking with all access to the software to possibly directly debugging. Grey Box, or pentest with restricted access and information. Finally, there is the Black Box where the hacker has to figure everything out for himself. At SevenLab, we perform this pen test in the following 7 steps.

    1. Information Gathering
      A hacker first starts by gathering information, both technical and non-technical.
    2. Enumeration
      This is the phase where the ethical hacker compiles a list of all security vulnerabilities. This is done by manual testing and automatic tools.
    3. Exploitation
      Here, the hacker looks at how to exploit security vulnerabilities to gain access or steal data.
    4. Privilege Escalation
      Inside the server, the ethical hacker re-executes the previous steps to see if he can hack administrative rights.
    5. Post Exploitation
      After a system has been completely taken over, a further check is made to see if any sensitive information can be stolen. This is also where we look at what else can be done with the computer or server.
    6. House Cleanup
      In this phase, the ethical hacker cleans everything up. By this we do not mean that he cleans up his desk and wipes away the leftover chips, but that he removes in the server, for example, any malware left behind or accounts created.
    7. Reporting
      All security risks are extensively reported so that they can be resolved by a programmer or system administrator.

    Software remains human work. Due to fatigue or tight deadlines, developers may drop a stitch here and there. Therefore, bugs are inevitable and every IT system has security risks. This applies even to large companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook or Linkedin. Therefore, do not leave anything to chance for your business. Keep your software safe: get hacked by our ethical hacker.

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