A vulnerability assessment is designed to identify technical vulnerabilities in computers and networks, as well as weaknesses in policies and practices related to the operation of these systems. Often a vulnerability assessment is in support of regulatory compliance or compliance with a standard.
Vulnerability assessments are also required for many compliances such as PCI DSS and enable penetration tests to be smarter and more targeted compared to using simple port scans. Most importantly, vulnerability assessments are the foundation of creating a proactive information security program, moving beyond reactive measures like firewalls to start actively identifying your gaps and mitigating your company’s risk exposure.
In almost every case where software vulnerabilities have been exploited by threat actors, the vendor had released security patches for those vulnerabilities’ months beforehand. Our vulnerability assessments are more than just a scan. The vulnerability assessment looks for missing patches and existing vulnerabilities for each system. Our team uses authenticated scans wherever possible to reduce false positives and improve accuracy, analyse scan results with intelligence-driven context, defining key areas of risk and delivering actionable customised reporting, with clear remediation recommendations.
What Is A Vulnerability?
A vulnerability can be defined in two ways:
- A bug or misconfiguration in code, or a flaw in software design that can be exploited to cause harm. Exploitation may occur via an authenticated or unauthenticated threat actor.
- A gap in security procedures or a weakness in internal controls that when exploited results in a security breach.
In the world of cybersecurity, vulnerabilities are unintended flaws found in software programs or operating systems. Vulnerabilities can be the result of improper computer or security configurations and programming errors. If left unaddressed, vulnerabilities create security holes that cybercriminals can exploit.
What Makes a Vulnerability a Zero-Day?
The term “zero-day vulnerability” refers to a newly discovered software vulnerability. This often happens because the vendor or developer of the software has only just learned of the flaw, which is often discovered by external parties. It also means that an official patch or update to fix the issue has not yet been released.
Once the vulnerability becomes publicly known, threat actors will immediately seek to expose the vulnerability prior to a patch being released by the vendor or developer with resulting attacks then referred to as a “zero-day attack”.
What are the Other Key Benefits of Vulnerability Testing?
A Vulnerability Assessment will assist your businesses in understanding and identifying risk across your network. Vulnerability assessments are a core part a company’s security strategy and are often the most efficient way to gain insight into how exposed your company’s network is to an attack.
Other benefits could include:
Added support for maintaining regulatory compliance: If your business operates within a regulated industry and needs to comply with regulations such as PCI DSS, “rigorous vulnerability management practices” are basically mandated to maintain compliance. Network vulnerability assessments are also key to achieving and retaining cybersecurity certifications such as ISO27001.
Visibility of your assets: By analysing your network to identify and classify systems, applications and data, CAT’s vulnerability assessment assists your company in identifying gaps, areas of risk or non-compliance.
Understand effectiveness of defensive controls: A CAT vulnerability assessment reviews the capability of your internal and external defences to detect, limit and withstand the latest cyber-threats. By thoroughly reviewing current technology, processes and procedures, we enable key stakeholders to clearly understand your organisation’s security posture.
Enhance cybersecurity planning: CAT prioritises your organisation’s cybersecurity risks to highlight those requiring the greatest attention. This supports a better allocation of defence resources and allows you to focus on areas of most concern.
Assistance in mitigating vulnerabilities: By providing support to help remediate any identified risks, CAT’s vulnerability assessment helps your organisation to reduce its attack surface, therefore preventing or limiting the damage a cyber breach could inflict.