Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Assessment
In this era of widespread internet usage, security has become the prime importance for all organizations. With the advent and increase in the use of mobile and Web-based online applications, the systems are more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Before deploying a system (online web portal, network system, etc), it should first go through a series of vulnerability assessments that will ensure that the build system is secure to public use and free from all the known security risks.
Vulnerability assessment intends to identify vulnerabilities in a network whereas A penetration test (PT) is a proof-of-concept approach to actually explore and exploit vulnerabilities.
Sometimes, these two terms, i.e, Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Assessment are used interchangeably by many people because of misunderstanding of the basic fundamentals. In many cases, these two terms are incorrectly used interchangeably by users also.
Using this post, We will target to clarify differences between vulnerability assessment (VA) and penetration testing (PT) and thereby demonstrate that both are crucial components of a well-organized vulnerability management program. Both these terms are different from each other in terms of their objectives and functions.
To better understand the fundamental difference between vulnerabilities assessment (VA) and penetration testing (PT), lets first understand the basic terms and their importance so that can easily help understand the importance of both.
Overview – Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Assessment
Vulnerability assessment: A comprehensive list of vulnerabilities, which may include false positives.
Penetration testing: A special type of security testing that uses the list of vulnerabilities to exploit the given system to ensure if listed vulnerabilities are genuine to harm the system.
What is Vulnerability Assessment (VA)?
- Vulnerability assessment is the process of finding and measuring the severity of vulnerabilities in a system.
- A vulnerability assessment is a process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing (or ranking) the vulnerabilities in a system.
- Vulnerability assessment report produces the lists of vulnerabilities, often referred to as security flaws/loopholes in the system
- The final outcome of VA The Vulnerability Assessment Report contains a list of vulnerabilities prioritized by severity and/or business criticality.
- Involves the use of Penetration Testing Tools to discover the vulnerabilities.
- Reveal the potential security threats.
- Adopts a scanning approach which is done both manually and performed by certain tools.
- This report is further used for the next step, which is penetration testing (PT).
- VA is usually a non-intrusive process.
In simple terms, A vulnerability assessment is a special type of security testing to discover and measure security vulnerabilities in a given environment. Ultimately, it identifies the potential weaknesses and provides the proper mitigation measures (remediation) to either remove those weaknesses or reduce below the risk level.
Unlike vulnerability assessment (VA), penetration testing (PT) involves identifying vulnerabilities in a particular network and attempting to exploit them to penetrate into the system.
What is penetration testing?
- Penetration testing (also called Pen Testing) is the process of testing a computer system, network or Web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.
- an authorized simulated attack on a web application, computer system or other resources, performed to evaluate the security of the system.
- Penetration Testing (PT) is a POC (proof-of-concept) approach to actually explore and exploit vulnerabilities.
- Purpose of penetration testing is to determine whether a detected vulnerability is genuine or not.
- Pen Tester manages to exploit a potentially vulnerable web application, network or given environment.
- Scanning the network or application
- Searching for security flaws
- Exploiting the security flaws
- Preparing the final report of the test.
This process confirms whether the vulnerability really exists and further proves that exploiting it can result in damage to the application or network. During the exploiting stage, a pen tester tries to harm the customer’s network (takes down a server or installs malicious software on it, gets unauthorized access to the system, etc.). Vulnerability assessment doesn’t include this step.
Difference between Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Assessment?
To some extent, the fundamental difference between vulnerability assessment and penetration testing is that vulnerability assessment (VA) is list-oriented and penetration testing is a goal-oriented approach. Vulnerability assessment intends to identify vulnerabilities in given web application, network system or environment. Basically, VA identifies network and application vulnerabilities before they turn into real threats to your corporate security. Whereas the purpose of penetration testing is to determine whether a detected vulnerability is practical a capable to harm the system. Vulnerability assessment: Uncovers a wide range of possible vulnerabilities. Penetration testing: A “call to action” document. It lists the vulnerabilities that were successfully exploited.
What is a vulnerability assessment report?
A vulnerability assessment process is intended to discover the potential security threats and the risks which involve the use of automated testing tools, such as network security scanners. The VAR vulnerability assessment report contains a list of vulnerabilities.
Email – techcluesblog.com.