Vulnerability assessment definition
Vulnerability assessment is the practice of identifying weaknesses in computer systems, networks, apps, and hardware. Typically, confirmed weaknesses are given a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score based on their impact to help prioritize security patches. Vulnerability assessment is an integral part of IT risk management.
Types of vulnerability assessments
- Network-based assessment: Searches for security holes that let unauthorized entry into or data flow out of the organization’s network.
- Wireless network assessment: Analyzes wireless network infrastructure for possible threats, rogue access points, and faulty configuration settings to prevent anyone from connecting to the organization’s Wi-Fi without authorization.
- Host-based assessment: Detects security holes in network hosts, such as servers and workstations, examining open ports, configuration settings, and patch management.
- Database assessment: Identifies database security flaws, faulty configurations, rogue systems, insecure development and testing environments.
- Application assessment: Examines web applications using automated vulnerability scanning tools and performs static or dynamic analysis of application source code.
Real benefits of vulnerability assessment
- Makes the organization more resilient to cyber threats like data breaches, saving money and time in the long run.
- Helps identify critical problems and prioritize the work of cybersecurity professionals, saving time and money.
- Helps prevent direct cyberattacks against the individual or organization, such as privilege escalation attacks, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and SQL injections.
- Detects security oversights that can be exploited by criminals, such as default settings on hardware and improper network access configuration.