Everybody Needs to be Scanning for IT Vulnerabilities

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Everybody Needs to be Scanning for IT Vulnerabilities

Cybersecurity Dive recently reported that the number of network-related vulnerabilities considered medium severity and above declined almost 10% last year, according to Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 Network Threat Trends report. In 2021, the industry recorded more than 11,800 Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs), down from 13,123 in 2020. 

However, the number of attacks targeting network-related CVEs in 2021 jumped 15% to 262 million, reflecting an all-time high and triple the number of attacks that occurred prior to the COVID-19 crisis. 

The majority of successful data breaches are the result of attacks against known vulnerabilities: security gaps in software code, packet construction anomalies and unsafe default configuration are all examples of the kinds of weaknesses that hackers look for to gain access and control over computers and networks. 

Different parts of an IT environment may need to be scanned from different vantage points to provide a complete risk assessment. 

Vulnerability Scans fall into the following categories: 

External Vulnerability Scans: Run from the outside to check a network’s firewall and other “perimeter” defenses, these scans target areas of an IT ecosystem exposed to the internet or not restricted to internal users and systems. 

Internal Vulnerability Scans: Testing every device on a network, these scans help identify vulnerabilities that leave a business susceptible to damage once a hacker or malware makes it inside. They help boost protection for applications and systems that aren’t typically exposed by external scans. 

Environmental Scans: These scans are based on the environment that a business technology operates in, such as cloud based, IoT devices, mobile devices, websites, etc. 

Intrusive Scans and Penetration Testing: While basic vulnerability scans are typically non-intrusive scans, “brute-force” scans attempt to exploit a vulnerability when it’s found. This type of scan can be supplemented by trusted individuals who attempt to gain authorized access. Note that while this type of “Pen Testing” is the most stringent, it also may disrupt operational systems and processes, and cause difficulty for employees or customers. 

Vulnerability scanning helps organizations detect security vulnerabilities in their networks, systems, and applications that could potentially be exploited by cybercriminals. Based on different configurations and scripts, vulnerability scanning tools run tests on assets that could be exploited. Overall, they bring to light information about the vulnerabilities in an IT environment, degrees of risk from each vulnerability and ways to mitigate a vulnerability. 

Vulnerability scanning helps organizations detect security vulnerabilities such as: 

  • Outdated and unpatched software 
  • Missing and poor data encryption 
  • Operating system and security misconfigurations 
  • Missing and broken authentication 
  • Poor cyber awareness and human error 

Vulnerability scanner software scans what it you configure it to scan. Depending on the type of scan, the tool scans specific interfaces to invoke a response from the targeted devices. Once it detects a device running on an outdated operating system, it will flag it as a vulnerability in the final scan report. Vulnerability scanning software also reviews a vulnerability against a database of vulnerabilities to classify it and assign a risk rating to it. In the end, the tool generates a report with all these details. 

If you’re looking for a vulnerability scanning solution that’s easy to use, but robust enough to address all your vulnerability scanning needs, you should consider VulScan. 

VulScan delivers all the features you need for both internal and external vulnerability management, and even includes an optional portable scanner that you can tote from one location to another for ad hoc scans without consuming additional licenses.  

For more information or to request a demo click here.