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Doom and Gloom: Is your website about to be hacked?

by  David Dwyer on  30/07/2015

Web Penetration Testing Infographic  

What's the implication of getting it wrong?
Your site being hacked can damage your reputation, which could be catastrophic for your business. Your loyal and potential clients, as well as your partners, will question your professionalism if your website is altered, or taken down for any length of time.  It seems harsh for something that ‘wasn’t your fault’, but the sad reality is that many of our clients first involvement with us was when they needed help desperately following an attack on their site.

Naturally the prime motivation for our clients is to get back online as quickly as possible, and so they turn to our Developer SOS services to help get them back on track. Our Save our Site service says what it does on the tin, to borrow from a well-known TV ad. We help them regain control of their site and return it to being an asset to their business.

We know only too well though that simply fixing the site isn’t enough. There could well be a host of other security vulnerabilities with the site that could have a long-lasting impact on your business. Hackers could, for example, take control of your mail server and use it to send spam email, if that goes undetected for long enough there is a good chance that your domain will be blacklisted.  The result? Your recipients email servers reject emails you send.

That’s why we perform a Penetration Test because simply fixing the issue simply isn’t enough.

The Importance of Pen Testing
Penetration testing has long been a practice adopted by software development companies to make sure that hackers can't gain unauthorised access to the software they produce. With the development of the Internet, everyone can build  & launch web applications. Instead of having thousands of applications to target, hackers now have billions of opportunities to target websites across the World.

It's worth noting that hackers aren't necessarily hacking for financial gain, for most it is a sport, an opportunity to showcase their ability to gain access to places where they shouldn't be. Some use it as a means of embarrassing an organisation by displaying alternative versions of their logo, or changing the copy on the site. While for others, such as ISIS, the motives are political or ideological in nature. The FBI recently warned that the terror group instigated numerous attacks on sites created on the Wordpress content management system (CMS) platform. Wordpress isn’t the only Open Source CMS’s to be targeted by hackers. In late 2014 the Drupal CMS was aggressively targeted, with as many as 12 million sites being impacted.

There is another group of hackers that just want to learn how to hack better. Even developers with little or no experience of coding can accelerate their learning through the ‘dark web’. Here the rookie hacker can download detailed instructions and tools to help them hack better. 

Regardless of the content on your site, and how worthless you consider it to be, you could find yourself in the unlucky position of simply being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. 

What is Web Penetration Testing?
Web penetration testing; also known as 'pen testing' for short, is the practice of testing a website or web application to identify potential security issues. The aim of the penetration testing process is to highlight likely threats and make the necessary changes to the websites code to ensure that the threat is dealt with before the site or application goes live. 

Penetration tests explore all vulnerabilities, from Server Side Operating System weaknesses to fundamental TCP/IP flaws such as the notorious Heartbleed bug.

At Inspire, we believe passionately in protecting our clients’ sites, web applications and business. Web penetration testing should be part of our clients business continuity process. 

What Web Penetration Testing Delivers
Applying even the most basic of penetration tests to your web project gives you the peace of mind that you have locked down any security gaps your site may have. It allows you to launch, and run your website with confidence. 

The most significant benefit though is that it protects your reputation and your bank balance. Adding penetration testing to your development will cost significantly less than trying to repair an attack after the event. 

Web Penetration Testing at Inspire IT Services
We believe that web penetration testing shouldn't be seen as a nice to have - instead it should be a necessity and a worthwhile cost of doing business online. We combine manual with automated software testing to ensure that we deliver a complete and robust web penetration testing service. Here are the steps we take - 

  1. We prepare a Web Pen Testing Plan for the site.
  2. We perform a manual review of the code of your site for vulnerabilities.
  3. We run the website or web application through a series of the latest web pen testing tools we've invested in over the last 18 months.
  4. We produce a report, identifying the issues.
  5. We apply the fixes before the site launches.

Are you interested in performing a penetration test on your site? Get in touch with Frazer for a no obligation, informal chat on 01738 700 006 or via our Developer SOS contact us form


David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.


Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos

CMS, Content Management Systems, Cyber Crime, Cyber Security, Developer SOS, Drupal, Heartbleed Bug, Inspire Web Development, Joomla, Outsourced Web Development, Security, The Evolving Web, The Ghost Vulnerability, Web Consultancy, Web Design, Website Support, Website Vulnerabilities, Wordpress
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