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Understanding Bug Bounties and Penetration Testing
Like learning how to fight, you can never fully know how prepared you are until the real thing. Just like putting on gloves and sparring, penetration tests and bug bounties force your system defenses to prove themselves against someone trying to get in. A good set of tests can help you find issues and flaws across your systems and hardware. And who knows, it might turn out you were a better fighter than you ever knew.
With an ‘ethical hacker’ you can quickly secure your code or pre-test a system prior to release. This allows you to minimize the number of bugs and exploits in your software or systems prior to them being able to be accessed by the public. This reduces embarrassing and costly outcomes from bug-riddled or vulnerable software.
You need to know where your vulnerabilities are before a malicious actor does. This also can prevent lawsuits and embarrassing news stories.
While it can be impossible to get out ahead of every possible exploit, especially with hacker markets offering huge sums in many cases, doing what you can to seal the majority of them up early can prevent a wide array of unforeseeable issues.
- Personal and business information can sell for a lot on black markets. You must ensure those you hire are incredibly trustworthy. Landon Technologies, a local Queens IT service, has a fantastic track record keeping client machine safe. It is often about the skill of the users, not the size of the organization in these cases.
- Ensuring that you constantly check security, and quickly disclose breaches is key to gaining and maintaining customer trust in your industry.
- A fault in your system can be discovered and announced without warning. Staying ahead of these events and providing honest dialogue will prevent your company from undue embarrassment.
- Nothing is ever 100% secure and it will always require constant vigilance in today’s environment. Bounty and penetration programs give you the tools and know how to fight breaches and to respond quickly and effectively.
The methods that are constantly employed to pressure test systems are bug bounties and general penetration testing. These are what we will be exploring further.
What are Bug Bounties?
The first bug bounty program was launched in 1983 by Hunter & Ready for one of their operating systems. They put it out that if anyone discovered a bug they would get a Volkswagen Beetle as a reward. A bug for a bug so to speak.
Today a bug bounty program can take many shapes but they all revolve around giving some form of compensation for outside contractors hunting down and noting bugs in a system. These bugs can range from exploitable hiccups in the code to vulnerabilities that allow hackers access to personal data. Sometimes they are humorous and sometimes they reveal a huge underlying issue.
Landon Technologies and other Queens IT services will often employ similar services to test client machines. Both big and small companies need to employ some method like this at some point -especially if they are handling customer information.
By offering a bounty for these bugs they are both able to become aware of the bug while simultaneously keep the knowledge of them out of the public while they fix them. This is a common practice for the military and other government organizations as well as large social networks that contain large amounts of sensitive data.
The worst security breaches aren’t really the largest ones; they are the ones no one discovers for months or even years.
It used to be that “white hat” hackers, or benevolent hackers, were still prosecuted by the Department of Defense. Once they realized the benefits of using these experts for their own benefit, the tune quickly changed to one of support and collaboration – generally speaking.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing has much the same purpose as bug bounties. It is a method for testing the security apparatus of your digital sit and content. While a bug bounty offers a reward for those who can find bugs and is generally done on an independent contractor basis, penetration testing is more organized and centralized.
Penetration testing launches a full mock “attack” on your systems that mimic real-life attacks done by hackers, criminals, and foreign nationals.
Often these attacks are run by a company that looks to hire former intelligence agency personnel who have deep insights into these sorts of events. Like our boxing analogy earlier, this really is the equivalent of gloving up and having someone take swings at you. Sometimes it is impossible to find security weaknesses without these sorts of tests.
Queens IT services that run these tests take the time to see what sorts of threats are occurring today and appearing on the horizon and can walk you through both an attack and what your business should be doing about it. These are the ultimate tools for preventing and fixing malicious digital intent.
The parameters of a penetration test will depend on your industry, the likely goals of perpetrators and the focus of that event.
Are My Systems Secure?
With the constant updating of systems and machines and the ever-evolving landscape of software, apps and other downloads, no system hooked up to the internet will ever be totally secure -at least not for long. It requires constant vigilance and effort to keep your machines secure. The more important your data, the more effort it will take to keep it safe.
This may seem overwhelming or like it takes up too much time to really be done correctly, but there are many avenues from which to approach security. Even local Queens IT services are available that can thwart international hackers – it just takes the time to set it up and keep it updated.
Landon Technologies employs sophisticated firewalls and other software that can keep your data safe from 99% of what’s trying to get in. Low cost and highly effective, it is time to keep your data safe. Get your free quote today for all of your IT Support needs.