If companies want to protect their systems from a hacker, they have to think like one. Nothing puts a company’s IT infrastructure to the test more intensively than a simulated attack. Find vulnerabilities, fix them, launch an attack, and repeat. It’s the learning curve for basically every existing IT infrastructure today.
One example is Google, which sponsors an annual hacking contest called Pwn2Own. Those who can exploit vulnerabilities in Google Chrome stand to win hundreds of thousands in cash. At the same time, Google also wins by being aware of these vulnerabilities and getting the knowledge to develop a more secure version of the program.
Google’s approach to cybersecurity testing is unique, but it all points to a common method for protecting its systems: penetration testing. In a nutshell, penetration testing allows an attack at the program to detect vulnerabilities. Penetration testing is usually done with automated software testing tools.
However, detecting vulnerabilities isn’t the only thing that penetration testing can do. As a simulated attack, penetration testing also sets up real-world scenarios in cybersecurity systems to warn parties of the possibility of certain attacks. It always asks: “How far can your current security protocol go before it’s rendered ineffective?”