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Vulnerability assessment in cybersecurity



Vulnerability assessment is a structured review of security fragilities in a data system. It examines if the system is allowed to have any familiar vulnerabilities, assigns serious levels to those vulnerabilities, and endorses remediation or mitigation whenever needed.


Vulnerability assessment has several benefits for an organization:

  1. Timely and consistent identification of threats and weaknesses in IT security.
  2. Remediation actions to shut any gaps and protect sensitive systems and data.
  3. Meeting cybersecurity compliance and regulatory needs for areas like HIPAA and PCI DSS.
  4. Protection against data breaches and other unauthorized access.

The 5 steps of vulnerability assessments

There are five general steps to follow for system vulnerability assessments:

  1. Identify the risks.
  2. Determine what or who could endanger the system.
  3. Develop control measures and calculate the hazards.
  4. Record the results.
  5. Review and update the risk assessment on a daily basis.

Types of vulnerability assessments

  1. Host assessment: A process in which security professionals check for illegal system permissions, backdoors, Trojan horse installations, and application-level bugs.
  2. Network & wireless assessment: The assessment of policies and practices to prevent unauthorized approaches to private or public networks and network-accessible resources.
  3. Wireless scans of an organization’s Wi-Fi network: To identify wretch access points and also validate a company’s network as securely configured.
  4. Database assessment: The evaluating assessment of any databases or substantial data systems for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, identifying rogue databases or unsecured dev/test domains, and classifying tactful data over a corporation’s infrastructure.
  5. Application scans: To identify the security risks in web applications and their source code through mechanized scans on the interface or static/steady analysis of source code.

Vulnerability assessment: security scanning process

This security scanning process consists of four steps:

  1. Testing/vulnerability identification
  2. Analysis
  3. Risk assessment
  4. Remediation

Difference between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scans.


Vulnerability Scans vs. Penetration Testing

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1. Vulnerability identification (testing)

At this stage, a summarized view of an application’s weaknesses is drafted. A scan is done by using automated tools, and security analysts manually check the security status of applications, servers, and other systems to evaluate. They depend on vulnerability databases, victim’s vulnerability chances, asset management structure, and threat intelligence catered to find security weaknesses.

2. Vulnerability analysis

This step is used to find the origin explanation for the vulnerabilities exploited in the first step. The system parts liable for each vulnerability are identified, and therefore the root explanation for the vulnerability is found.

3. Risk assessment

This step is to prioritize vulnerabilities. Security analysts assign a score to every vulnerability based on the following factors:

  1. Which systems are damaged?
  2. What data is in danger?
  3. Which business functions are at risk?
  4. What is the ease of attack?
  5. What is the intensity of an attack?
  6. What is the possible harm as a result of the vulnerability?

4. Remediation

This step is to close security gaps. These are efforts by security development and operations teams who decide the most accurate path for mitigation of vulnerabilities. Specific remediation steps might include:

  1. Introduction of modern security policies, measures, or tools.
  2. The recondition of functioning or configuration changes.
  3. Expansion and implementation of a vulnerability patch.

Vulnerability assessment tools

Vulnerability assessment tools automatically scan new and existing threats that can target your application. These tools include:

  1. Web application scanners that assess for and imitate familiar attack patterns.
  2. Protocol scanners that find risky protocols, ports, and network services.
  3. Network scanners that help visualize networks and locate warning signals like stray IP addresses, spoofed packets, and suspicious packet generation from an exclusive IP address.

Vulnerability scanning tools are an important part of this process. They should be able to carry out various types of scans:

  1. Credentialed and non-credentialed scans
  2. External vulnerability scans
  3. Internal vulnerability scans
  4. Environmental scans


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