Penetration testing your Help Desk?

Finn Jensen

Finn Jensen | Founder, FastPasscorp

In today’s cybersecurity landscape, service desks play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive corporate information. To illustrate, notable breaches at major companies have been traced back to service desk vulnerabilities:

The MGM case:  LinkedIn was used as a Trojan horse MGM

Twitter hack:  Britton Pleads Guilty: Twitter Vishing Attack

To effectively deter attacks, it's crucial to maintain high alertness, implement robust verification methods, and ensure these procedures are consistently adhered to—or better yet, enforce their compliance automatically for end user verification.

However, they are vulnerable points where social engineering attacks can be particularly effective. To see how a hack can be made from a just a single innocent call, take a look at this reproduction of a hack video:

How to Hack the Service Desk

Reconstruction of a Data Breach Video

Regular penetration tests, which simulate attacks to evaluate security, are one factor to mitigate these attacks. These tests challenge your service desk's preparedness and reveal potential weaknesses in user identity verification processes.

Why Penetration Test Your Help Desk?

Penetration testing your help desk can uncover how well your personnel adhere to security protocols, particularly regarding identity verification and information disclosure. It is an eye-opener for organizations relying heavily on their help desks to manage sensitive user data and support requests.

FastPass Penetration Test Report

See: FastPass Penetration Test

Three Ways to Self-Test Your Service Desk Security:

3 ways to self-test your service desk security infographic

Pretexting Scenarios:

Create scenarios where a tester uses a fabricated scenario or identity to obtain sensitive information from help desk personnel. For example, the tester could impersonate an executive requiring urgent access to specific data or systems. This test checks how well staff adhere to protocol under pressure and whether they can effectively identify and handle suspicious requests.

Phishing Attacks:

Simulate phishing emails or calls that aim to extract login credentials or personal information from service desk agents. This kind of testing assesses the vulnerability of your help desk to one of the most common social engineering tactics, providing insights into the need for improved training or more robust verification technologies.

Choosing a Third-Party for Penetration Testing:

Consider the following:

  • Expertise and Reputation: Choose a company known for its expertise in cybersecurity and has a solid track record of conducting penetration tests.
  • Methodology: Ensure their testing methods are comprehensive and adhere to the latest industry standards.
  • Confidentiality and Security: The service should guarantee the confidentiality and security of your data during testing.
  • Detailed Reporting: Opt for services that provide detailed insights and actionable recommendations rather than just a list of vulnerabilities.

Benefits of Integrating FastPass IVM as a Mandatory Component of Service Desk Identity Proofing

Implementing Identity verification software solutions such as FastPass Identity Verification Manager (IVM) is great for getting a secure service desk. Secure Identity Verification as a forced component of these processes can significantly bolster security.

FastPass IVM employs a multifaceted approach to identity verification, combining various identity verification methods that can include biometrics, security tokens, personal tokens, security questions. Profiles in IVM can be highly customized to fit the users and customers. By mandating its use, organizations ensure a consistent and high level of security that significantly reduces the potential for identity theft and fraud.  The system's ability to integrate seamlessly with existing IT infrastructure means that it can quickly flag inconsistencies or suspicious activities, thereby preventing potential breaches before they occur.


Penetration testing is a good component in a robust security strategy, especially for areas as critical as the service desk.

While technology like FastPass IVM significantly enhances security, it's important to maintain a balance between automated solutions and human vigilance. Regularly testing your systems and staff readiness through controlled scenarios will ensure your defenses remain effective against evolving social engineering threats.

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