“Security is not a product, but a process.” – Bruce Schneier
When it comes to cybersecurity, no one appreciates data assets being exploited.
So how do you secure a system?
And what tools can help?
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) provides the answer.
It enables you to protect sensitive data from security breaches.
Let’s learn more about Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT), and its significance when applied.
What Is Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT)?
This is a term used to define cybersecurity testing, as well as addressing the issues involved.
It involves processes ranging from automated vulnerability assessment to human-led penetration testing for scaling red team-simulated cyber attacks.
VAPT enables you to perform security audits and develop solutions to address security disturbances.
You can use this methodology to discover potential system flaws, while suggesting possible measures to address them.
What Are The Benefits of Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT)?
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) helps you:
1. Protect application integrity
2. Avoid financial and reputational loss
3. Become secure against unauthorized access
4. Earn compliance certifications
5. Protect against malicious attacks
Let’s look at Vulnerability Assessment (VA) and Penetration Testing (PT) in more detail.
This refers to the methodical review of security weaknesses and system errors.
It involves evaluating suspected vulnerabilities, ranking them by order of severity, and suggesting ways for mitigation.
Examples of threats that may be detected during vulnerability assessment are cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and advances in privileges.
Vulnerability Assessment: The Security Scanning Process
Here’s how this works:
1. Vulnerability Identification/Testing: List application vulnerabilities after security analysts have tested the application, servers, and other systems. Use automated testing tools to scan vulnerabilities with reliance on vulnerability databases, asset management systems, and vendor vulnerability announcements.
2. Vulnerability Analysis: Identify and analyze the root cause of vulnerabilities in system components.
3. Risk Assessment: Rank vulnerabilities based on data that is at risk, potential damage that could be caused, as well as systems that could get affected.
4. Remediation: Fill in gaps and mitigate vulnerabilities by introducing security measures, making configurational amendments, as well as implementing vulnerability patches.
Also called pentesting, this is a security practice in which ethical hackers attempt breaching an organizational system.
This is done in a controlled manner and is referred to collectively as red team/blue team exercises.
Pentesting prepares you for effectively handling security breaches.
It includes testing the readiness of your security team in tackling vulnerabilities and gaps, developing coordination between in-house and outsourced security providers, and improving incident response processes.
The Stages of Penetration Testing
Here’s how penetration testing works:
1. Planning and Reconnaissance: Define the scope and goal of your test. Mention systems to be addressed and testing methods to be applied. Get an understanding of a target and potential vulnerabilities.
2. Scanning: Find out how the target application will counter intrusions. You can do this by using either static or dynamic analysis.
Static analysis refers to inspecting defects prior to running a program, while dynamic analysis involves inspecting a code while it’s running.
3. Gaining Access: Attempt web application attacks such as SQL injections and XSS on the code. Exploit these vulnerabilities in order to find out what damage could be caused to the application if the attacks were to happen in reality.
4. Maintaining Access: Find out if vulnerability can be used to achieve a persistent presence in the exploited application. Your objective is to examine how long a persistent threat can remain undiscoverable by hackers.
5. Analysis: Carry out a detailed analysis of the penetration testing that has been done.
i. Specific vulnerabilities that were exploited
ii. Sensitive data that was accessible
iii. The time span for which the identity of a pentester identity was unrevealed
Providing security to your application code/network as well as organizational assets can be daunting.
Invest in cybersecurity and keep your data safe.
The VAPT methodology can go a long way in safeguarding your data assets.
Perform it on your network code and other types of sensitive data before you declare it fit for use.
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