AI and Penetration Testing

Twelve hours. That’s all the time a pro hacker needs to infiltrate a company. And, unlike what you’ve seen in the movies, this isn’t some hacker with extraordinary skills. Cybercrime statistics show us that 88% of pro hackers can boast the same level of efficiency.

When that countdown starts, your company runs out of time fast. Unless you have a lightning-fast response time, your company could face serious reputational risk. If you’re a small-to-medium enterprise, the penalties and lawsuits resulting from a breach could cripple you.

Naturally, it’s best all around if you can avoid the breach in the first place. But what’s the best way to do that? In this post, we’ll look at how AI and penetration testing could turn the tide on cybercriminals and keep them away from your data.

Why Penetration Testing is an Essential Part of Your Cybersecurity Strategy?

Businesses today understand the importance of protecting their databases. Most use several layers of security to do so. But what happens if they miss something?
That’s a question that Virgin Media executives probably wish they’d asked.
Why so?
Virgin Media is one of the latest large companies to suffer a breach. In all, only about 900,000 clients were exposed. What makes this particular incident scary is that the company wasn’t hacked at all. They were, however, very careless. They left one of their marketing databases unprotected. Anyone could access the page and all of the details on it. Could pen testing have alerted the company about the unprotected data? If properly conducted, penetration testing should’ve picked up the unprotected database.

Is Penetration Testing Effective?

Penetration testing is only as good as the person running it. There are a lot of variables to account for, and time is limited. The most useful tests combine vulnerability scanning, intelligence, and expertise.

Traditionally, this meant having a tester or team of testers scan the system and run simulated attacks. This process is slow and labor-intensive. Manual pen tests are, as a result, expensive to run. Some companies opt for a less rigorous testing process to save money. That, in turn, can mean that vulnerabilities are missed.


How Does Artificial Intelligence Improve Penetration Testing?

We’ve seen a sharp uptake in the business use of AI. Cybersecurity is another area where machine learning is a valuable tool. Why?

AI Makes Short Work of Tedious Tasks
AI can be used to run deep scans and analyze the data. This ability is being used by developers to make pen testing far less labor-intensive. You can automate scans and even get AI to simulate attacks.

More Accurate Results
The advantage of using AI for automating tedious tasks is that the machine seldom has a bad day. A human tester might miss something because they’re distracted. They might miss something because of a lack of knowledge. You can avoid both problems by using AI.

Saving Time
Another aspect to consider is that AI can process vast amounts of data fast. Manually checking each system takes a lot of time. With AI, system tests can run much quicker, without the need for human personnel. They can run 24/7 without taking a break. This can help to speed up the testing process. AI would scan the system and then report the results it got. This is useful in both preventing a breach and recovering from one. The faster you can shut down an attack, the better for the company.

More Objective Results
AI does as it’s trained to do. It doesn’t have preconceived notions to get in the way of data gathering and testing. The machine will run the tests and then tabulate the results, and that’s it. Human security experts will need to review those results and draw conclusions from them.

Final Notes

Pen testing is extremely important for all companies. Considering the strict privacy regulations that regulators are imposing, the cost is justified. That said, we can look forward to more effective and cost-effective solutions going forward.

AI’s ability to process large amounts of data is particularly useful here. This ability makes it possible for businesses to conduct tests quickly and more efficiently at lower costs. We’ll still need humans to draw the right conclusions, but AI can handle many of the most tedious tasks.


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About the Author


Toronto born, puppy-lover and passionate blogger. Traveling the world and proving people wrong is my specialty and hobby. Love reading up on the newest trends and have a passion for anything creative and trending.
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