Vulnerability Scan 101: What You Need to Know

Posted on September 29, 2021 Backups & DR

Did you know that every 39 seconds on average, hackers target computers with an Internet connection? This impacts one in three Americans every year, according to a University of Maryland Clark School research.

CyberSecurity is all about safeguarding Data from Malicious Attacks and Unauthorized disclosure. This is why having a vulnerability scan completed is so essential.

Data Protection focuses on ways to protect data from Malicious Attacks and Unauthorized disclosure.

Do you want to learn more about vulnerability scanning, how it works, and its importance? Learn more here.

What Are the Potential Cybersecurity Risks to Your Business?

Rather than being a technological issue, cyber security is much more than that. It brings Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability to the fore. It’s said that data is the coin; on the ‘heads’ side, there is CyberSecurity, and ‘tails’ is Data Protection.

Let’s look at some potential cybersecurity risks to your business.

Changing Threats

Historically, cyber-crime was limited to organized criminal groups targeting companies. Today, these businesses are susceptible to cyber-attacks by significant political or social groups seeking to disrupt particular industries or events. Also, some people hack companies only to show off their sophisticated hacking skills and see how much harm they can do.

Technology Threats

Companies today continually seek new technology answers to their problems. Therefore, cyber-criminals have further chances to penetrate and harm businesses.

In addition, businesses want to do even greater things with the tech and data at their disposal.

The cloud, automation, and other comparable digital advances offer many advantages. However, they have also created new risks that companies must address to protect themselves.

Increased Regulatory Compliance

New pieces of legislation are imposing more stringent compliance monitoring on businesses. These measures are in respect of the steps they need to take to ensure the security of the data they hold.

Is there anything a company can do to protect itself from cyber-attacks, and what measures should they take? 

There are four main layers within an organization where cyber security measures need to be taken:

Email Addresses and Mailing

A significant amount of information will most likely be sent to the company through email. When launching a cyber-attack, cyber-criminals will often hack into or impersonate legitimate email accounts.

Endpoint Devices

Endpoints are devices people use to access a company’s network, such as laptops and cell phones. Each endpoint allows a hacker to obtain unauthorized system access.

Network Communication

A network is what connects all the companies, enabling employees to interact and share resources. If a cybercriminal installs malware on a company’s systems, the company loses access to its resources.

Server Protection

In the business world, servers are large computers that utilize software and hardware to save all of the company’s important information assets. However, it is debatable whether or not servers should be the most secure component of any computer system.

When evaluating ways to enhance security, businesses should consider the following practices:

Install security software on each endpoint. This is to ensure that employees do not use personal devices to access the business’s systems.

Back up business systems are the first step. This is to restore data quickly in the event of a cyber-attack. It’s recommended to have multiple back-ups, with one stored outside the business network.

It is vital to keep your patches up to date in order to reduce the danger of hackers using insecure and out-of-date software. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that Carphone Warehouse was incredibly guilty of this.

Install security software on each endpoint. This makes sure workers don’t use personal devices to access the company’s systems. This may involve using firewalls or passwords.

Implement a security system on the companies’ servers. This could include the use of firewalls or passwords. This limits access to business-critical data and keeps the location of your servers secret.

Numerous businesses provide cyber security solutions that may be tailored to a specific company.

Staff should get frequent cyber security training to increase awareness and train them on best practices. This is to avoid deception from email phishing. Businesses may also want to do simulation testing to observe how workers react to a cyber-attack.

Vulnerability Scan Analysis

This method involves searching for and exploiting vulnerabilities in systems and applications. Attackers can easily manipulate a system or app if there are no regular scans. These failures may be caused by improper security settings or security flaws in the app’s development.

When analyzing the vulnerabilities of a system, you make a design and suitability of the test. This takes into account the applicable reach in order to meet the targets and objectives. Reach values may include the location of an assessment tool, authentication requirements, and more.

Let’s look at amplitude values. These include, among others:

  • Your networks
  • Data segments
  • Your hosts
  • All your applications
  • All inventories

It would be best if you validated the amplitude of a test to ensure that you achieve the desired scope of the analysis.
Active testing involves direct interaction with the components that are being tested for their security risks. These components can be low-level, such as IP packets on network devices, or high-level, like a web page. 

In this way, there are two distinct methods to interact with the system: automated and manual.

In automated tests, you use the software to examine the results and outcomes. You will then determine the possible existence of vulnerabilities. This is robotic process automation; it allows the tester to focus attention on the processes and execution of manual tests. All vulnerabilities found automatically are subsequently manually checked.

Port Scan

A port scan is one of the first steps in an intrusion test, as it allows for an overview of what may be available under analysis. In addition, this type of scanning determines whether a port is capable of receiving a connection.

A scanner can also display three states. Open, in case the port accepts communication. Closed, in opposite cases, or filtered if it is impossible to determine one of the other states accurately.


A vulnerability scan relies on service detection through specific protocols. This communicates with open doors on a remote device. This type of scanner is more accurate than the port scanner because it doesn’t just depend on the state of the port to determine which service is running.

Banner Grabbing

The banner collection is the process of communicating with a specific port. This is where you perform an analysis of data taken from the host to identify a linked service or application to that port.

That process may allow for the withdrawal of information. For example, this information could be the application’s name or information about the specific version that is running.

Application Performance Monitoring

The operation of these application web scanners and monitoring starts with the address of the web application. That is then swept through crawlers, which follow the found links.

After the recognition of the following, which can be found in the application, tests are performed:

  • Pages
  • Resources
  • Services
  • Media

You perform these tests to check and categorize the results of Crawler. For example, when you find forms in the web app pages, injections of SQL or cross-site scripting commands are made.

That is to get a different response than expected. It is also, through this, to have access to sensitive information.

Brute Force Attacks

This type of scan tries to find standard directories with the help of lists that contain more common keyword variants. For example, an assertive list may help discover the web application’s administration platform that is most helpful if it poses concerns.

This type of mechanism can also be used to perform user enumeration and even successive authentication attempts. The main disadvantage of this test is that it floods the service with instructions. This potentially can cause interruptions to the tests.

Appropriate preventive measures should be taken in the use of brute force attacks. In this case, the condition of the service shall be monitored especially if it is in production.

Once a risk is reported through the use of scans, it is necessary to determine the accuracy of the problem identified. In addition, it is also necessary to investigate the potential exploitation of the risk within the defined scope of the penetration test.

This validation can be performed automatically, through specific software for the task, or manually. Generally, CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identifiers are used for a particular vulnerability that can be used to gain access to vulnerability information.

Vaccinate Against Vulnerability!

The advantages of doing a vulnerability scan regularly are considerable.

Vulnerability assessments help you maintain a strong security position. It also contributes to the success of your company’s cyber security program. It assists in the procedure of system design to be an essential rule of most compliance requirements.

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