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How pen testing will be impacted by emerging technologies in 2022

Harold de Vries


Businesses must contend with an unprecedented threat landscape in an environment of hybrid working and fast-evolving ransomware. If businesses are to uphold their responsibilities to their clients and other stakeholders, they must manage their security resources with more care and attention than ever before.

That is where penetration testing plays a vital role. As a discipline, it is a cornerstone of an effective cybersecurity strategy. Pen testing is dependent on technology.

With the first quarter of 2022 just behind us, it’s the perfect time to look ahead and evaluate technologies currently shaping the future of pen testing.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) will become the norm

Business system are often most vulnerable at the point of access and weak passwords remain a leading cause of data breaches in multiple sectors.

To counter this threat, businesses are rolling out multi-factor authentication. This adds a much-needed layer of security to critical assets and an extra safeguard against poor password management.

For pen testing this creates both an opportunity and complexity. It’s essential that you put all new MFA tools through the wringer and test them in-depth. You must probe for imperfections and oversights in both the tools themselves and their implementation. For example, consider how you can prevent exposure through a stolen device or spoofed authentication message.

Even in situations where businesses have successfully deployed Single-Sign-On (SSO), designed to remove the requirement of passwords. However, threat actors respond to this through trying to hack the active directory / office 365 db. If one gets hold of the active directory, then they can pose as a legitimate employee, and log into any corporate service without passwords or MFA.

That is why, MFA and SSO implementations should be rigorously and continuously tested thoroughly to maintain optimum levels of cyber security.

Blockchain-based tech will raise the stakes for security

In recent years crypto has gone on a trajectory towards becoming mainstream and it’s not likely that this will stop anytime soon.

Although blockchain technology, which forms the foundation of crypto, is built around the principles of security and decentralisation. Although there are a myriad applications for blockchain in cyber security, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean it’s immune to being hacked.

Take the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as an example. They’re set to be adopted by a raft of global corporations and brands this year and beyond. However, they are also susceptible to theft and could become the next focus area for cyber criminals.

For pen testing, an understanding of the core technology will become exponentially more important in the coming months and years. This is applicable to businesses that adopt crypto for customers or leverage blockchain to protect assets and data.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will create more disruption

For some years now, businesses have been offloading all sorts of work and tasks to AI-driven technologies. We expect this trend will not only continue, but also accelerate in 2022.

AI solutions are appealing for businesses because of the opportunity to cut staffing costs and improving productivity. Yet many businesses forget that machine learning provides the best results when it’s supported by human intelligence and oversight.

Pen testers and pen testing solutions must get used to the idea of catering to businesses that are falling deeper and deeper down the AI rabbit hole and how this influences cyber security systems and strategies

If AI resources are compromised the biggest issue is likely to be detection. Businesses must be empowered to know when malicious third parties are subverting AI, or else it could go on indefinitely.

And despite AI can greatly empower your cyber security, forming a ‘digital immune system’ around critical assets, it’s important to remember you’re not the only one with access to AI. Cyber criminals can leverage it too.

Remote work remains relevant

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the world to adapt to a new landscape. Two years later, businesses have grown used to policies and systems they originally rushed to implement in 2020. However, this doesn’t eliminate the real security risks of remote working, nor the significant challenges for pen testing.

For IT Security Managers working from home work poses a major risk. Employees’ personal networks are prone to router attacks. Most people are content with the router their Internet Service Provider supplied. More than 90% of the time, these are routers without software updates and running on outdated, off-the-shelf, dhcp.

Pen testers and pen testing solutions therefore must contend with vastly increased attack surfaces, while also ensuring that systems through which remote employees access business assets cannot be used by threat actors. Client-side penetration tests may be necessary and testing must remain constantly vigilant against the dangers of unsecured home networks.

How hackurity.io can protect your business

We have developed fully automated pen testing solutions for our customers, allowing our customers to be on the offensive against threat actors. Working 24/7/365 with up to 10k deployment to production per day, it’s designed to find and resolve vulnerabilities faster than human pen testers can.

Our pen testing solutions are acting as red teams, attacking your domain and systems. However, our solutions don’t have any blind spots. Implemented in the financial services industry, these solutions have made several red teams obsolete.

Running on AWS Lambda, our solutions work with all cloud solutions and providers. Using this platform, we can go into the depth of single nodes within your cloud to find any vulnerability in your systems.


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