Incidents of ransomware attacks have exploded in the past year due to the rise of cryptocurrency and the increase of homeworking making computers more vulnerable.

In recent months we have seen major attacks on the Colonial Pipeline, JBS, and most recently a devastating supply chain attack combined with ransomware on Miami-based IT firm Kaseya. This attack is significant due to its trickledown effect from the managed service provider to the small business, so it has the potential to spread to any size or scale.

You may be wondering how you can reduce the risk of a ransomware attack on your organisation?

Does identifying gaps in your network security before they are found by a hacker sound ideal?

Then your organisation should be utilising routine network penetration testing.

Want to know the benefits? Keep Reading!


What is Penetration Testing?


Penetration testing (often referred to as ‘pentesting’) is an important part of an organisation’s security strategy, ensuring they identify vulnerabilities that cannot be seen.

It allows an organisation to gain assurance in the security of their IT system by using the same tools a hacker would. The organisation then receives a report in which weaknesses are identified and what steps they can take to remediate them.


The Increasing Threat of Ransomware 


At this year’s Annual Royal United Services Institute Lecture Lindy Cameron Chief Executive of The National Cyber Security Centre, warned that ransomware represents the biggest threat to online security for most people and businesses within the UK.

Ransomware has become increasingly professional as criminal hackers are making money from large profitable businesses that cannot afford to lose their data.

Lindy Cameron said that: “Ransomware has historically been the preserve of high-end cybercrime groups with access to advanced technical skills and capabilities based in jurisdictions who fail to act to pursue these groups.”

The ‘As a Service’ is a business model that is being increasingly used within Ransomware whereby software is leased to individuals. Individuals who use this service need limited technical knowledge but gain the ability to launch a ransomware attack by simply by subscribing or giving a one-off payment.

A recent Forbes article highlighted that the following industries have been heavily targeted:

  • Government
  • Manufacturing
  • Services
  • Education
  • Healthcare

Whether you are a large or small organisation the message is to take the ransomware threat seriously as no one is immune.




How Penetration Testing Can Help 


 By conducting regular penetration tests, you can reduce the extent of a potential ransomware attack, making a big difference in the size of ransom demanded and limit the amount of data stolen.

Penetration tests against an organisation’s network gives visibility into real-world threats that could potentially impact your network security.

Here are a few reasons why your organisation can benefit from routine network penetration testing which can help prevent the threat of ransomware.


Reducing Remediation Costs and Network Downtime 


According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 2021 the average cost of all the cyber security breaches businesses have experienced in the past 12 months is estimated to be £8,460. The medium and large firms have a higher average cost of £13,400.

If you are faced with ransomware, you probably will be dealing with the added costs and hassle, which may entail paying the ransom, remediation fees for the vulnerabilities that were exploited, tarnishing of the brand, and lost sales opportunities.

It will require substantial investment to get everything secured and back up and running, taking time for the systems to get back to where they were.

Conducting regular penetration tests will help your organisation flag the weaknesses of your IT systems, helping you work on how to remediate them, by taking this proactive stance protects your organisation from the financial and reputational damage that may be caused if your network had to have downtime.


Building a good defense posture 


Having a full picture of your network security health can help your organisation prioritise risks and the level of security that is required to protect your data, people, and assets from the potential threat of bad actors. By being proactive and running regular penetration tests you can fix vulnerabilities as and when they come up and build a strategy going forward which will contribute to building effective defense mechanisms within the organisation.


Achieve security maturity


Conducting a simulated attack in a safe and controlled manner will help the organisation build steps towards achieved security maturity. Infiltrating your systems after it has found vulnerabilities and repeating this process allows constant visibility that contributes to the comprehensive data security plan. Continuing to take a proactive approach towards maturing your security posture will demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that you are working towards and care about their data protection.


Comply with Industry Regulations and Standards 


Organisations across many industries are required to comply with various standards and regulations relating to information security.

Some of the main ones are ISO 27001 and PCI DSS both of which require regular penetration testing. Ensuring that organisations can state information about security vulnerabilities in a timely fashion and demonstrate that they can take appropriate measures to address the associated risks.

By conducting the penetration tests regularly, you avoid the risk of being non-compliant but also demonstrating a commitment to your organisation’s information security and network health.


Why choose iSTORM® Privacy – Security – Pentesting?


CREST penetration testing with iSTORM® helps prepare your business for the future. Our team of CREST-certified infrastructure testers deliver a full security assessment of your digital estate. We help you identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses before the hackers do!

iSTORM® Privacy – Security – Pentesting can review your security from an internal and external point of view, helping to ensure you can defend against attacks from outside your physical and logical perimeters and that you are protected from insider threats.

We offer a full range of penetration testing options click here to find out more.

For more information on how we can support your CREST penetration testing requirements or to arrange a no-obligation scoping review click here.