HIPAA eCommerce

Pen Testing HIPAA Websites, Servers, and Apps

Updated May 3, 2022  |  5 min read

Attacking yourself is an excellent way to boost data security. That might sound strange at first, but it’s important to know where your vulnerabilities are before a black-hat hacker does. After all, it’s better to simulate an attack on your HIPAA website than to suffer one.

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Pen testing, formally known as penetration testing, is a white-hat hacking technique that lets you—or someone working on your behalf—test the security of data storage devices to see if they’re protecting against the latest hacking attempts.

Detectify, a powerful mid- to-high-cost option, is one of the most popular pen testing tools. Let’s take a look at how it works and what you’ll need to do to keep your HIPAA portal and web hosting security up to date.

White-Hat Hacking

When you hear about hackers attacking a site and stealing information, that’s black-hat. They’re doing so with the intention of making a profit from what they find or destroying the information to disrupt a company’s workflow. They may also lock information in ransomware attacks.

White-hat hacking attacks information storage devices as well, but the process is beneficial instead of destructive. During white-hat hacking, the “good guys” simulate what “bad guys” might do. While heist movies try to tell us that this is done with lightning-fast typing (and exciting music), pen testing is mostly done with software that searches for vulnerabilities.

Detectify scans thousands of security concerns to let you know how hackers might compromised your HIPAA website compliance. Best of all, it addresses the newest vulnerabilities found and adds them to the list of problems to scan for.

Fun Fact

The idea of white and black hats comes from the Western movie genre, where the good guys wear white, and the bad guys wear black.

HIPAA Compliance and More

The page you’re reading right now is in the HIPAA section of our site, which means it’s likely you are most interested in protecting ePHI on your HIPAA-compliant portals, medical apps, Cloud hosting, and servers. Fortunately, Detectify will also help find and address vulnerabilities that could violate other applicable standards, depending on your business model and where your business is located.

  • PCI DSS Compliance (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) – PCI DSS is a security standard for protecting credit card transactions.
  • GDPR Compliance (General Data Protection Regulation) – GDPR was developed by the European Union (EU) to protect consumer information, including names, addresses, location, ethnicity, biometric data, religious beliefs, and much more. GDPR may apply outside the EU if a foreign business makes its services available to EU members.
  • CCPA Compliance (California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018) – Similar to GDPR, California created this law to protect consumer information collected by businesses.
  • NIST Compliance - (National Institute of Standards and Technology) – NIST is a security standard necessary to bid on many government contracts.
  • HIPAA Compliance (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) – HIPAA is an act of Congress passed in 1996 to protect patient medical information from being revealed without the patient’s consent.

Test For the Type of Attack You Expect

pen testing

There are thousands of ways that black-hat hackers can attack your website, and some are more targeted than others. A B2B eCommerce business is more likely to suffer a DDOS attack than a hospital, while a hospital is a primary target for stealing personal information that’s valuable on the black market. It’s important to start your defense against the attacks that your team expects, and some of this is based on your industry.

Most of the standards we mentioned above suggest following industry best practices to remain compliant. Unfortunately, those practices change constantly and are nebulous. There isn’t any set of rules saying, “Do X, Y, and Z and you’ll be 100% safe.” Using pen testing tools, as well as the SRA tool provided by the US government, is part of these industry best practices. Working with an experienced HIPAA developer can help you stay on top of these standards.

Using Detectify

Detectify isn’t the only pen testing tool, but it is one of the leaders for a reason. Here’s how it can help bolster your security.

Using Detectify

Identify Threats

The crowdsourced nature of Detectify means that IT professionals alert new security threats to the community daily. New detection methods are created to help easily identify these threats, which are then incorporated into the Detectify range of pen testing tools.

Fix Problems

It’s important to remember that pen testing does not fix the threats to your information. Pen testing identifies where your vulnerabilities are so that you can take steps to remediate them. Detectify is an excellent option because it will often advise how to fix the security hole, but it will not directly fix the problem.

Look to the Future

Once the security problems have been identified and fixed, the work is not done. Security is a perpetual task with no end, and steps must be taken to update it often.

  • Assign a person or team responsible for performing pen testing. This could be internal, external, or a combination of both.
  • Set a regular schedule to perform pen testing (and keep to it!) Clarity suggests most clients use a pen testing tool at least weekly.
  • Audit and review what has been done and if additional steps should be taken.

How Can Clarity Help?

As we mentioned, Detectify is an excellent tool...but it doesn’t fix your problems. Sure, it does a great job at finding your vulnerabilities, but the vulnerabilities are still there, waiting to be exploited by a bad agent.

It’s likely that many of the fixes will be simple. Others, however, will require specialists to beef up security. Clarity can help you discover and fix major security issues, whether or not your servers are storing and transferring HIPAA data or not.

We’d love to help you come up with a plan to protect your HIPAA information, whether you end up working with us or not. We offer a complimentary discovery session to get you on the right path to HIPAA-compliant websites, portals, apps, and more. Use this plan with us or take it to another vendor up to you. Of course, we also offer up our entire website of information to guide you on your HIPAA journey. Get in touch today to protect HIPAA data and more!


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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.