What is a vulnerability assessment?
A vulnerability assessment is the process of defining, identifying, classifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities in computer systems, applications and network infrastructures.
Vulnerability assessments also provide an organization with the necessary knowledge, awareness and risk backgrounds to understand and react to threats to its environment.
A vulnerability assessment process is intended to identify threats and the risks they pose. They typically involve the use of automated testing tools, such as networks, systems, and application security scanners, whose results are listed in a vulnerability assessment report.
Organizations of any size, or even individuals who face an increased risk of cyber-attacks, can benefit from some form of vulnerability assessment, but large enterprises and other types of organizations that are subject to ongoing attacks will benefit most from vulnerability analysis.
Because security vulnerabilities can enable hackers to access IT systems and applications, it is essential for enterprises to identify and remediate weaknesses before they can be exploited. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment, along with a management program, can help companies improve the security of their systems.
Importance of vulnerability assessments
A vulnerability assessment provides an organization with details on any security weaknesses in its environment. It also provides direction on how to assess the risks associated with those weaknesses. This process offers the organization a better understanding of its assets, security flaws and overall risk, reducing the likelihood that a cybercriminal will breach its systems and catch the business off guard.
Some of the different types of vulnerability assessment scans include the following:
- Network-based scans are used to identify possible network security attacks. This type of scan can also detect vulnerable systems on wired or wireless networks.
- Host-based scans are used to locate and identify vulnerabilities in servers, workstations or other network hosts. This type of scan usually examines ports and services that may also be visible to network-based scans. However, it offers greater visibility into the configuration settings and patch history of scanned systems, even legacy systems.
- Wireless network scans of an organization's Wi-Fi networks usually focus on points of attack in the wireless network infrastructure. In addition to identifying rogue access points, a wireless network scan can also validate that a company's network is securely configured.
- Application scans test websites to detect known software vulnerabilities and incorrect configurations in network or web applications.
- Database scans can identify weak points in a database to prevent malicious attacks, such as SQL injection attacks.
Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing
A vulnerability assessment often includes a penetration testing component to identify vulnerabilities in an organization's personnel, procedures or processes. These vulnerabilities might not normally be detectable with network or system scans. The process is sometimes referred to as vulnerability assessment/penetration testing, or VAPT.
A vulnerability assessment uses automated scanning and manual. The results are listed in the vulnerability assessment report, which focuses on providing enterprises with a list of vulnerabilities that need to be fixed. However, it does so without evaluating specific attack goals or scenarios.
Organizations should employ vulnerability testing on a regular basis to ensure the security of their networks, particularly when changes are made. For example, testing should be done when services are added, new equipment is installed or ports are opened.
In contrast, penetration testing involves identifying vulnerabilities in a network, and it attempts to exploit them to attack the system. Although sometimes carried out in concert with vulnerability assessments, the primary aim of penetration testing is to check whether a vulnerability really exists. In addition, penetration testing tries to prove that exploiting a vulnerability can damage the application or network.
While a vulnerability assessment is usually automated to cover a wide variety of unpatched vulnerabilities, penetration testing generally combines automated and manual techniques to help testers delve further into the vulnerabilities and exploit them to gain access to the network in a controlled environment.
What is penetration testing?
Penetration testing, or pen testing, is a form of ethical cyber security assessment that seeks to identify, safely exploit and help to remediate vulnerabilities across computer systems, applications and websites. By utilizing the same tools and techniques used by cyber adversaries, pen testing replicates the conditions of a genuine attack.
Commissioning a penetration test enables organizations to reduce security risk and provide assurance into the security of their IT estates, by mitigating weaknesses before they can be maliciously exploited.
- Fixes vulnerabilities before they are exploited by cyber criminals
- Provides independent assurance of security controls
- Improves awareness and understanding of cyber security risks
- Supports PCI DSS, ISO 27001 and GDPR compliance
- Demonstrates a continuous commitment to security
- Supplies the insight needed to priorities future security investments
Why your organization needs a pen test
With threats constantly evolving, it’s recommended that every organization commission penetration testing at least once a year, but more frequently when:
- Making significant changes to infrastructure
- Preparing for compliance with security standards
- Launching new products and services
- Bidding for large commercial contracts
- Undergoing a business merger or acquisition
- Utilizing and/or developing custom applications
Types of Penetration Testing
- Network Infrastructure Testing Aamrapro rigorously investigates your network to identify and exploit a wide range of security vulnerabilities. This enables us to establish if assets such as data can be compromised, classify the risks posed to your overall cyber security, prioritise vulnerabilities to be addressed, and recommend actions to mitigate risks identified.
- Web Application Testing Web applications play a vital role in business success and are an attractive target for cybercriminals. Aamrapro’s ethical hacking services include website and web app penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities including SQL injection and cross-site scripting problems plus flaws in application logic and session management flows.
- Cloud Penetration Testing With specific rules of engagement set by each provider, cloud penetration testing is not straightforward. Our range of custom cloud security assessments can help your organization overcome these challenges by uncovering and addressing vulnerabilities that could leave critical assets exposed.
- Wireless Testing Unsecured wireless networks can enable attackers to enter your network and steal valuable data. Wireless penetration testing identifies vulnerabilities, quantifies the damage these could cause and determines how they should be remediated.
- Social Engineering People continue to be one of the weakest links in an organization’s cyber security. Aamrapro’s social engineering pen test service includes a range of email phishing engagements designed to assess the ability of your systems and personnel to detect and respond to a simulated attack exercise.
- Mobile Security Testing Mobile app usage is on the rise, with more and more companies enabling customers to conveniently access their services via tablets and smartphones. Aamrapro carries out in-depth mobile application assessments based on the latest development frameworks and security testing tools.
Common security vulnerabilities
Some vulnerabilities just can’t be detected by automated software tools. By identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities that evade automated online scanning assessments, and providing clear help and advice to remediate issues, Aamrapro’s ethical hacking and security penetration testing services enable you to understand and significantly reduce your organization’s cyber security risk.
Aamrapro is an award-winning provider of penetration testing services. Our range of penetration testing engagements helps organizations to effectively manage cyber security risk by identifying, safely exploiting, and helping to remediate vulnerabilities that could otherwise lead to data and assets being compromised by malicious attackers. All our pen testing engagements are confidential and unlike real cyber-attacks, are designed to cause no damage or disruption. The Aamrapro pentest will help identify vulnerabilities including:
- Insecure configurations unsafe user privileges, as well as deep configuration issues, can be exploited to achieve network access.
- Flaws in encryption We check that the encryption methods being used to protect and transmit data are secure enough to prevent tampering and eavesdropping.
- Insecure configurations We examine software source code to identify code injection and memory flaws that could lead to the exposure of data.
- Session management flaws We test whether cookies and tokens used by software applications can be exploited to hijack sessions and escalate privileges.