7 Devastating Cases That Could Have Been Prevented By Security Testing
5 minuten
8 Oktober 2021
7 Devastating Cases That Could Have Been Prevented By Security Testing

7 Devastating Cases That Could Have Been Prevented By Security Testing


Over the next five years, experts at Cybersecurity Magazine expect global cybercrime-related costs to rise annually by 15% and hit $10.5 trillion USD by 2025. The danger is looming, but there’s a way out of every situation, and you can prevent your individual costs. 

In order to create a clearer picture of cybercrime and to prove that there’s a solution, we’ve decided to draw some real-life examples. Our team prepared 7 cases where the lack of security testing has led to huge corporate losses and devastating data breaches. At the end of each story, we will explain how it could have been avoided.

Among the methods that will tell you how to prevent hacking: 

  1. Penetration Testing  
  2. Social Engineering
  3. Awareness Training 
  4. Network Penetration Testing 
  5. Red Teaming
  6. Vulnerability Scanning 
  7. Live Hacking
  8. Computer Forensic 

1.  Marriott

  • What Happened? 

On March 30, 2020, the hospitality industry giant Marriott announced a data breach for the second time in two years. The incident had exposed the personal data of about 5.2 million guests, which included phone numbers, emails, and even the names of the companies they work for. As it was later announced, the data leak was caused by hackers who gained access to the accounts of two franchise employees. 

  • How could it have been avoided?

Since the official version regarding how hackers broke into the system is still unknown, we have highlighted 3 ways of preventing such data breaches. 

  1. If the error was in the system - Penetration Testing 

Trained cybersecurity experts could have tried to penetrate the system as hackers and detect the vulnerability related to employee accounts. Its early detection would have resulted in subsequent elimination and prevention of the data breach. 

  1. If the problem was caused by employees - Social Engineering and Awareness Training 

It would be foolish to dismiss the option of the employees involved in the data leak. In that case, we know two cybersecurity services that could have saved the day. First, the company could have held an Awareness Training for its employees to familiarize them with the menacing cyberthreats and update the corporate security policy. Then, with the help of Social Engineering, test their employees by purposely provoking them to leak the corporate data. This will teach a team cybersecurity awareness and help determine the weakest link among them. 


2. TK Maxx

  • What Happened? 

This severe situation occurred in 2005, at a time when hacking wasn’t as regular as now. Hackers stole the credit card information of at least 47 million TK Maxx customers by breaking into the retail company's wireless LAN.

  • How could it have been avoided?

This case would not have occurred if they had done a Network Penetration Test. Through checking the safety of the corporate network, penetration testers can recommend ways to improve it. For example, fixing bugs and introducing new security policies or procedures.

3. My Fitness Pal

  • What Happened? 

In February 2018, MyFitnessPal, operated by UnderArmor, became a target of one of the gigantic knowledge dumps of 16 compromised pages that leaked 617 million user accounts on the Dream Market. 

  • How could it have been avoided?

The MyFitnessPal team's main problem was that they couldn’t react to the data breach properly. Their reaction could have been faster and much more effective if they implemented Red Teaming. Red Teaming is a process in which hacking experts try to penetrate your system in order to test your reaction time and ability to solve a problem quickly. This way, the My Fitness Pal team’s ability to detect, respond and prevent sophisticated threats can be assessed and improved.

4. Twitter

  • What Happened? 

In May 2018, 330 million Twitter users were forced to change their passwords due to network errors. Their accounts passwords were stored unmasked in an internal log, making all user passwords accessible to the internal network. 

  • How could it have been avoided?

A great solution to this kind of situation is Vulnerability Scanning. Vulnerability scanning is an automated method of identifying and classifying possible exploits in network equipment, operating systems, and applications. This is achieved by testing the same fields of attack used by both internal and external threat factors. By doing this, the company could automatically detect a possible problem with the network and secure it. 

5.  Adobe

  • What Happened? 

In October 2013 internal ID, username, email, encrypted password, and password hints of Adobe users were breached. Over 150 million people were affected by it. The problem was that the used script had flaws and was too simple to exploit. 

  • How could it have been avoided?

All of the security methods mentioned are relevant in this case. But the company could have understood the basic rules of security if it had attended a Live Hacking event. Attending a Live Hacking event means seeing the hacking process. If the company had seen how easy it is for hackers to hack a weakly protected script or participated as a target for white hat hackers, the company would clearly see its system flaws and improve quickly. 

6. Zynga

  • What Happened?

In September 2018, Farmville game creator Zynga was hacked. The database of more than 200 user accounts was stolen (including emails, phone numbers, and users’ Facebook IDs). 

  • How could it have been avoided?

Similar to the Adobe case, the cyberattack could have been avoided by several cybersecurity services. But this time we want to suggest a solution that can help you get back on your feet after an attack - Computer Forensics. Computer Forensics is an analysis of the cyberattack that already occurred. Experts research the exploited system, computers, networks, etc. in order to find the cause of the cybercrime and trace who was responsible for it. This investigation would be helpful as evidence in court. 

7. Heartland Payment System  

  • What Happened?

A hacker made a SQL injection into the Heartland Payment System and stole100 million card transactions per month. Everything was refunded thanks to Visa and Mastercard in January 2009. 

  • How could it have been avoided?

The breaches were made by an SQL injection. This can be prevented with Web Application Penetration Testing. Web framework penetration testing helps an organization build good authentication and session management capabilities, strengthen access security, and determine the most vulnerable route an attack could take.


We recommend entrepreneurs lowering their risk of being a target of a cyberattack. A cybersecurity test for businesses should be conducted at least 2 times a year to prevent possible cases like those above. But as you have read above, your system isn’t the only place that may contain errors. Make sure to train your whole team in order to eliminate human error. 

Take your first step towards a secure digital presence with our special offer - Free Scanning of Your Website. Contact us and be safe straight away! 


Teile diesen Beitrag:
8 Oktober, 2021
4 minuten
5 Februar 2023
Double Penetration Testing Benefits with Grey Box Testing

Double Penetration Testing Benefits with Grey Box Testing


The current digital environment is known for its menacing cybercrime. Being targeted by a hacker is getting more and more common. Concerningly, businesses seem to neglect it. Considering the threats, the fact that almost 50% of company networks can be breached by a hacker in just one step doesn’t surprise. 

That’s why we want to raise your awareness and suggest the ultimate solution: Grey Box penetration testing. Penetration testing is an extremely effective way to find breaches. It can be done in two ways: Black Box and White Box methods. The Grey Box methodology collects the best of both and grants you security on a whole new level. 

What is Grey Box testing?

Grey box pentesting

Grey Box testing is a combination of the Black Box and White Box methods. Grey Box puts both back- and front-end security to the test. It’s the best fit for web applications. This methodology expects the client to provide some information from the system database to establish the real reason behind the penetration outcome.

Looking at the average of 20 000 attacks aimed at web applications throughout the first two months of 2020, we strongly suggest opting in on your system security.

Regarding the information required for the Grey Box testing, pentest specialists usually ask for the following:

  1. Your domains, services, and IP addresses in the form of a list
  2. The prioritization of services and most valuable data
  3. The temporary whitelist administration rights 
  4. In the case of testing digital exchanges, the minimum necessary funds
  5. Some extra questions regarding the system architecture may rise up during the call with our experts

Grey Box testing benefits rundown

Although we’ve been describing Grey Box as the ultimate way to secure your system, by combining the two radically different penetration testing methods, you are bound to lose some beneficial qualities.

Rounding up the positive effects of the Grey Box methodology:

  • Features all the benefits from the two other methods
  • Unbiased execution of malicious attacks, due to a tester having a different viewpoint than the developer
  • Both effective and time-efficient
  • The pentester is well informed about the tested system
  • A targeted approach of testing specific systems and services
  • Deeper system analysis due to additional access rights

And the inevitable drawbacks:

  • Inability to cover the entire system
  • Some functional elements of the system are not suitable for the Grey Box method
  • Distributed applications are troublesome for identifying system flaws

The remaining penetration testing methods

Why is Grey Box testing the middle ground between Black and White Box testing? It’s because of the way a hacking attack was imitated. To get a deeper understanding of the 3 pentesting methodologies, let’s get through the remaining ones.

Black Box penetration testing

black box pentesting


Black Box penetration testing is the kind of penetration that is most relevant to what is going to happen if your system becomes a target of a cyberattack. But don’t worry, it won’t harm your system due to its guidelines and restrictions being discussed during the negotiation with the client. It may be elaborated by social engineering attacks (for example, phishing) if needed.

The name of the methodology comes from the fact that the ethical hacker won’t have any insider information. Therefore, the system will appear to be “pitch black” for the intruder.

Its main benefits are the agility in regards to the efforts put to the test and the legitimacy of the penetration scenario due to the imitation of a real cyberattack. It has its own limits, though. Among these limits are: the inability to test the entire system due to the lack of information and besides the found vulnerabilities are tested only in the most simple vector, which makes the test not fully comprehensive.

White Box penetration testing

White box pentesting

As you might have guessed, White Box is the complete opposite of the Black Box testing methodology. While executing this method, the tester must have full access to the information about the tested system including the source code, server, specific configuration, full detailed white paper, and a connection to the developer team. 

The White Box method has a wide range of benefits including much more comprehensive outcomes, locating system flaws at the architecture level, and being able to test during the development stage. But, it’s considered much more expensive and time-consuming. On top of that, it lacks the viewpoint of a malicious hacker.

Are you ready to choose the methodology to find your system's vulnerabilities?

Understanding the nature of the three dominating penetration testing methods, you can now choose for yourself what fits the needs of your organization most. Although Grey Box is gaining popularity, it might not fit the most sophisticated systems.

If you’re confused about this topic, or you have questions, then feel free to give us a call. We are dedicated to helping you to find the best security solution for your organization!


Teile diesen Beitrag:
5 Februar, 2023