Is Your Website Safe from a Hacker Attack?

by Anya Jennings on May 20, 2010

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Despite numerous security applications, firewalls and encryption practices used by small and large companies to protect their data, today’s web sites provide thousands of targets for hackers who are interested in obtaining backend data to sell. Is your company’s online data open and easily available for hackers to steal? According to a recent study by Acunetix a website application security company, as many as 70% of the 3200 corporate and non-corporate companies who took part in the study were at risk of becoming hacked. Utilizing its vulnerability scanning software for the survey, Acunetix found at least 66 hacker vulnerabilities per web site. If you even think that your company’s system might be a member of that 70% possible hacker attack association you may want to try using a Web Vulnerability Scanning software package.


Website Vulnerability Scanning Software

Accunetix’s Web Security Scanner is just one software product (Nessus, X-Scan and GFI LANguard are a few others), that utilizes the hackers own software procedures against them.

Before hackers can get into networks they need to know the most vulnerable spots of a system’s security. They use scanning tools to search for such things as open network ports or poorly secured applications and operating systems. Using the same logic, vulnerability scanning software packages search networks for vulnerabilities and plug them up before they can be hacked. Given the amount of sensitive data currently being processed by web based applications the need to protect that information cannot be understated. Utilizing vulnerability scanning software is an effective means of providing that protection. Basic vulnerability software scans ports to determine which ones are open and easy targets for hackers. More complex vulnerability software scanners are able to detect the operating system and application currently being run, what firewalls are being used and anything else that may make it easy for a hacker to attack your system.

According to Gartner, one of the world’s largest Information Technology research companies:

Vulnerability scanners allow a company to stay ahead of the “bad guys”, the hackers who make money by procuring system data illegally. Vulnerability scanners test such things as scripting issues, functionality of input data, cookies, penetration attempts and session handling/fixation.

You would think that most “good guys”, system administrators, would use some kind of vulnerability scanning software as protection against those “bad guys”, hackers, not so. Sunbelt Software did a poll last year that indicated that only (55%) of companies they surveyed used vulnerability scanning software. Apparently many IT personnel don’t fully understand the role that this special security application software can play in network system administration.

There are hundreds of vulnerability scanning software products on the market today. For those companies with a limited budget there are free scanning software packages available on the Internet. There are also scanning services that are available that can be contracted to reduce the cost of implementing this important software in-house. Companies shouldn’t wait until they read about another company’s data theft in the headlines. They should investigate the use of vulnerability scanning software and keep the “bad guys” away from their data.

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