When hackers are after a company’s data, they can be a tremendous threat and challenging to counteract. When hackers are aligned with ethical practices, however, they can be corporate lifesavers, and organizations will turn to them to tease out critical vulnerabilities that might otherwise go undetected.
Penetration testers can take assessment practices far beyond the canned vulnerability scan. They follow real methods that cyber criminals employ, including social engineering and other creative tricks, to find ways into an organization’s data. And by beating the black-hat hackers to the punch, they help their clients understand how to enhance their protections.
As organizations engage in stronger cybersecurity practices, the distinction between ethical hackers and cybercriminals is more widely understood across sectors.
From a legal point of view, however, the difference is not so obvious.
The law largely sees any network breach as an unlawful action. There is really only one major factor that makes room for ethical hacking as a lawful pursuit, and that is the concept of “permission.”
Giving ethical hackers permission to breach your organization’s networks may sound simple enough. But in reality, navigating the specifics of what actions are allowed can be a legal minefield. Will testers, for example, be simulating social engineering attacks on employees? Will employees be made aware? Will these hackers have access to third-party data, and if so, how should those third parties be involved in the process?
Without the proper guidelines in which to operate and the proper documentation, penetration testing can spell legal trouble for both the customer and the pen tester’s organization. Fortunately, experienced testing partners know how to stay out of hot water by setting up the right framework and sticking to it.
Set Yourself Up for Penetration Testing Success
Every pen testing effort must begin with a clearly defined scope of work that testers and customers agree to, and it must involve written proof that penetration testing is permitted, in alignment with that scope of work. In some cases, other parties need to be involved in granting permission, particularly when cloud service providers are involved.
Finally, penetration testers must be disciplined and structured in their practice, making sure that their efforts stay in scope and follow ethical guidelines.
Lunarline is a longtime leader in the penetration testing discipline, and we offer the expertise and tools to get pen testing done effectively, without legal headaches. Our Lunarflare platform helps testers keep their efforts systematic and structured, and our pen testing team sets the industry standard for in-depth ethical hacking support.
For more information on our team and our solutions, contact us today.