A vulnerability assessment is the process of defining, identifying, classifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities in computer systems, applications and network infrastructures and providing the organization doing the assessment with the necessary knowledge, awareness and risk background to understand the threats to its environment and react appropriately.
A vulnerability assessment process that is intended to identify threats and the risks they pose typically involves the use of automated testing tools, such as network security scanners, whose results are listed in a vulnerability assessment report.
Organizations of any size, or even individuals who face an increased risk of cyberattacks, 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.
It is an in-depth evaluation of your information security posture, indicating weaknesses as well as providing the appropriate mitigation procedures required to either eliminate those weaknesses or reduce them to an acceptable level of risk. Vulnerability Assessment identifies any flaw in your internal or external system. If these flaws are exposed to outside threats, it may lead to an attack from any unauthorized party. This situation may lead to loss of important data, system closures and attack on devices.
Types of vulnerability assessments
- 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, but it offers greater visibility into the configuration settings and patch history of scanned 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 can be used to test websites in order to detect known software vulnerabilities and erroneous configurations in network or web applications.
- Database scans can be used to identify the weak points in a database so as to prevent malicious attacks, such as SQL injection attacks.