Vulnerability Assessment

What is Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability assessment is a review of any possible security weakness in an IT system. Also known as vulnerability analysis and vulnerability testing, the assessment has three main goals, including:

  • Evaluate a system for any exploitable flaws
  • Assign specific risk levels to individual vulnerability
  • Recommend best actions to bar hackers from taking advantage of the weakness
  • Vulnerability assessment can prevent the following threats:
  • System misconfigurations
  • SQL injection attacks
  • Account privileges flaw
  • Weak passwords
  • A bug in programming interfaces or software
  • Policy non-compliance errors

Types of Vulnerability Assessments

There are different types of vulnerability assessments, including:

Host assessment

This is the assessment of critical servers of an IT system that may be susceptible to attacks if they are not generated from a tested machine image or adequately tested.

Database assessment

This is the assessment of big data systems or databases. It aims to discover vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, know insecure test environments or rogue databases, and group sensitive data on the organization’s infrastructure.

Network and wireless assessment

This analyzes practices and policies that prevent unauthorized access to a network, private or public and other network-accessible resources.

Application scans

It identifies security vulnerabilities in all web applications and their source code through automated front-end scans or static/dynamic assessment of source code.

How Does Vulnerability Assessment Work

The vulnerability assessment works in different ways to scan the security of a system. Reputed companies offer exclusive security services to help you have the desired peace of mind. These are the main steps:

Step 1: Testing (Vulnerability identification)

This step aims to compile an all-inclusive list of the application’s vulnerabilities. Here, analysts test the security health of servers, applications, or other systems by conducting thorough scans using automated tools or manual tests and evaluations.

Security analysts also rely on vendor vulnerability announcements, vulnerability databases, threat intelligence, and asset management systems feeds to know more about security problems.

Step 2: Vulnerability analysis

This step usually aims to identify the root cause and source of a vulnerability identified in the first step. Here, the analysts unravel the system components responsible for individual responsibility and the root cause for the specific vulnerability.

For example, the root cause for a vulnerability can be an old open-source library version. This gives a clear path for the remediation stage: upgrading the library.

Step 3: Risk assessment

It aims at prioritizing vulnerabilities. Security analysts assign severity score or a rank to individual vulnerability based on factors like:

  • Which system is most affected
  • Ease of compromise or attack
  • The amount of data at risk
  • Potential damage because of the vulnerability
  • The business functions exposed to the most risks
  • The severity of the attack

Step 4: Remediation

This stage’s main aim is to close the security gaps. This step is a joint effort among security staff, development, and operations teams, who identify the best path for mitigating or remediating each vulnerability.

  • The remediation steps can include:
  • Introducing new security measures, procedures, or tools
  • Updating of configuration or operational changes
  • Developing and implementing a vulnerability patch