Have you ever had to pay for something? Services for penetration testing You can get a 100-page “penetration testing report” listing all vulnerabilities found by vulnerability scanning software. You’re not the only one. This is a common problem, since many vendors offer vulnerability assessment as well as penetration testing. This article will help you find a vendor that offers high-quality vulnerability assessment and penetration testing.
Assessment of vulnerability
Vulnerability assessment is used to identify vulnerabilities within a network. This technique is used for estimating the vulnerability of a network to various vulnerabilities. Vulnerability assessment is done using automated network security scanner tools. The report contains the results. Some of the vulnerabilities assessment reports may not be supported by attempts to exploit them.
The lifehack for potential customers is that a solid vulnerability assessment report should include the title, description, and severity (high, moderate, or low) of every vulnerability found. It would be difficult to identify which security weakness you should patch first if there were too many.
Testing for penetration
Contrary to vulnerability assessment, penetration testing involves identifying weaknesses in a network and trying to exploitthem for entry into the system.
Penetration testing is used to verify that a vulnerability has been found. If a pentester is able to exploit a potential vulnerability, he/she considers it authentic and includes it in the report. Unexploitable vulnerabilities can also be reported in the report as theoretical findings. These theoretical findings should not be confused with false-positives. Although the network may be at risk from theoretical vulnerabilities, it is not a good idea to exploit them. This could lead to DoS.
A life hack for potential customers is that a reliable provider of penetration testing services will not use automation at the initial stage. Practical experience shows that comprehensive penetration testing should be done mostly manually.
A pentester attempts to damage the customer’s network by installing malicious software or taking down servers. This step is not part of vulnerability assessment.
Vulnerability assessment vs. vulnerability testing
1. Breadth vs. depth
The main difference between vulnerability assessment, penetration testing and vulnerability assessment is the vulnerability coverage. This refers to the breadthand depth.
Vulnerability assessment focuses on identifying as many security vulnerabilities as possible (breadth-over-depth approach). This should be done on a regular basis in order to maintain a network’s security status. It is also useful for organizations that aren’t security-savvy and wish to learn about all security vulnerabilities.
Penetration Testing is a preferred option when the customer claims that his network security defenses are strong but wants to verify if they are hackproof (depth over breadth).
2. The degree of automation
Another distinction, related to the above difference is what degree of automation. Automation allows for greater vulnerability coverage. Penetration testing is a mix of manual and automated techniques that helps dig deeper into weaknesses.
The third distinction lies in whether professionals choose to use both security assurance techniques. Automated testing is a common method of vulnerability assessment. It doesn’t require much skill so can be done by members of your security team. The company’s security personnel might find vulnerabilities that they are unable to patch, and may not include them in their report. A third-party vendor that does vulnerability assessments might be more useful. Penetration testing, on the other hand, requires much more expertise because it is manual-intensive. This should be outsourced to a penetration test services provider.
At a glance: Penetration testing and vulnerability assessment
A quick questionnaire reveals the differences between these two methods.
What frequency should the service be performed?
Vulnerability assessment: Every other month. Additional testing is available after network changes.
Penetration testing Once a year.
What’s the report about?
Vulnerability assessment An exhaustive list of vulnerabilities that may contain false positives.
Penetration testing A document that calls for action. It lists all vulnerabilities that have been successfully exploited.
Who is responsible for the service?
Vulnerability assessment In-house security personnel or a third party vendor
Penetration Testing: Provider of penetration testing services.
What is the service’s value?
Vulnerability assessment Uncovers many possible vulnerabilities
Penetration testing: Shows exploitable vulnerabilities.
The selection of a vendor
Both vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are different, so both services should be considered when protecting network security. While vulnerability assessment can be used for security maintenance, penetration testing can identify security vulnerabilities.
You can only get both services if you hire a vendor who is knowledgeable about vulnerability assessment and penetration testing. A good vendor will combine automation and manual work, giving preference to the former, and not provide false positives in a penetration test report. The vendor also uncovers possible network vulnerabilities, and then reports these to the customer according to severity.