Security Testing: Who, What, Why and How?

Security Testing: Who, What, Why and How?
February 26 19:31 2011 Print This Article

Who really needs to have their network security tested? If a computer is used “online” and is used to store sensitive data, it should be tested for security. While it is tempting to rely on patches, updates or an application to secure the network, it is never that simple. Every company that has been hacked has thought their network was secure.

What might tempt hackers to attack a computer, a network or websites? There are a variety of reasons. First, hackers might be after personal customer information including credit card information. A hacker might also be looking for any proprietary software application, trade secrets or company tax information. In some cases a computer will be attacked and information destroyed for revenge if the attacker feels he was wronged by the company or any individual at the company that owns the computer. There are also some hackers who will compromise a computer to try extorting the company, “pay up or all company info will be destroyed or made public.”

Why else might security testing be important? Peace of mind. With proper security testing the company has less chance for loss of customer personal or credit information leading to identity or monetary theft for which the company could be held liable. Liability in these cases is a tricky thing, as it depends on an interpretation of liability based upon how well a company tried to protect their users information.

How does security testing work? In many cases testing your software applications, computer systems or network for vulnerabilities does not require physical access and can be done from off site. This can be advantageous as it keeps anyone, such as clients, employees or competitors from knowing anything is happening and allowing them to draw erroneous conclusions. The tester, working from off site, will connect to the network, with the client’s permission, then begin using various applications designed for penetration testing. Through the course of testing, the tester will check the network hardware and software for any known or theoretical vulnerabilities. The tester will then pass on all results, with possible recommendations, and known fixes to the hiring company.

So for the reasons listed above and others that are not listed here application security testing makes sense for all companies that have anything sensitive stored on the network computers. No matter how secure a system seems, there is no way to know for sure unless it has been through a thorough security assessment.

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about Application security, please visit http://www.plynt.com/.

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Nataliia Vasylyna
Nataliia Vasylyna

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