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Finding Security Vulnerabilities Your IT Person Missed

By admin on October 25th 2016

The biggest cybersecurity threats are the ones you don’t notice. Hyper-focused on familiar patterns, your team misses unexpected threats. The problem is called inattentional blindness and is why people in a famous experiment missed the gorilla walking across the screen as they tried to count basketballs being passed. And that blindness prevents businesses from finding IT vulnerabilities when they vary from the expected.

In an increasingly complex world, new and unexpected cybersecurity threats emerge all the time. Preventing hacks and data breaches requires IT security professionals to spot the gorilla when it crosses their path and take action before it’s too late. Here’s what often gets overlooked.

Which Application Vulnerabilities Are Most Overlooked?

Each aspect of the IT ecosystem is going to have its own share of problems, but there are certain trends more exclusive to applications. Vericode found IT security vulnerabilities that over 50 percent of businesses have left open to cybercriminals. Here are four that appear to be the most problematic:  

  • Information Leakage – In these instances, applications have flaws that allow sensitive data about the application, environment, or users to be easily picked like fruit from low hanging branches. At least 72% of applications are affected by this. 
  • Cryptographic Issues – These instances are a combination of faulty and inadequate encryption strength. Typically, it’s seen through broken crypto algorithms, improperly validating certificates, and the storage of sensitive information in cleartext. At least 65% of applications have these problems.
  • Code Quality – Everything comes back to coding finesse. Slipshod development practices or a lackluster quality assurance process contributes to this pervasive problem. Leftover bugs and improper shutdowns are just the tip of the iceberg for these problems, which afflict at least 62% of applications.
  • Cross-Site Scripting – At least 50% of applications have IT vulnerabilities that leave open doors for hackers to inject client-side scripts into the applications. More often than not, it happens through unfamiliarity with leverage points or weak cybersecurity strategies.

In these instances, the importance of running applications through a rigorous test is indispensable. Often, reaching out to security experts to review your existing applications helps to mitigate challenges. But there are even more threats on the network technology side.

Which Systems Vulnerabilities Get Missed?

Are databases open to attacks? Are network components clashing with one another? Is there hardware accessing the system without your knowledge? The variety of networking threats is complicated, making it difficult to spot certain issues in advance. Here are a few issues that open systems up to attacks:

  • Incomplete Data Center Decommissioning – When businesses are transitioning from physical on-site servers, an incomplete transition puts data at risk. Retired assets need to be cleaned and disposed of in the right way. At least 40% of businesses fail to do a data audit before or after the cloud transition.   
  • Unsecured Devices - The growth of the BYOD model and the ability provided by cloud solutions for employees to access databases from home creates IT vulnerabilities that most companies don’t notice until breaches occur. And unless employees are directly addressed, these surreptitious threats go unnoticed.
  • Misconfigured IT Security – Constant evolution of hacker strategies make vigilance a central point of IT security. If a system is misconfigured or even noncompliant with the latest practices, it is only a matter of time before hackers make their intrusion. 

Though all of these challenges require comprehensive responses, every single one needs to begin with a thorough IT security audit. That involves evaluation of the current equipment, the totality of devices accessing the system, and the preexisting security implementations. Yet fixing the technology only goes so far to address IT vulnerabilities if your IT team does nothing to communicate with the larger team.

Do Bad User Practices Contribute to IT Vulnerabilities?

Surprisingly, one of the greatest factors that can impact IT vulnerabilities is your people. Their awareness of security threats and their contributions to those threats makes or breaks IT security planning. In fact, studies show that when employees are aware of IT vulnerabilities, the security risk is reduced by 45% to 70%.

Yet businesses cannot look over the shoulders of employees all the time. Without monitoring employers to an Orwellian level, there will always be a blind spot here. Weak passwords, susceptibility to social engineering, and accessing company files using unencrypted devices are not apparent in every instance.

Rather than policing employees, education is the best solution. Arrange for regular sessions to talk about evolving threats and the value of taking security best practices to heart. Provide employees with the warning signs of social engineering. Notify them when attacks happen, even if they’re small, to convey the importance of reporting any activity that appears suspicious and deleting messages that appear dubious. Make security a cultural cornerstone and you avoid many threats outright.

Staying Aware of IT Vulnerabilities

The work of establishing and maintaining IT security is never done. The way in which cyber threats evolve means that companies need to keep expanding their knowledge, increasing the chance they will recognize a threat when it occurs.

IMP Solutions stays current with all of the latest IT vulnerabilities and threats to better provide clients with insights into their greatest security risk.

Download our guide How to Fight the Biggest Cybersecurity Threats to Your Business and Win to learn how to further avoid costly breaches and cyberattacks.