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Vulnerability assessment

Vulnerability assessment

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.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security