4 min read  | Vulnerability testing

How to perform and manage cybersecurity vulnerability testing

Cybercrime is one of the most intrusive threats in Australia. It is also the most significant threat that impacts individuals and businesses. This fact was highlighted in the ACSC annual cyber threat report from July 2019 to June 2020.

Malicious cyber incidents are increasing in frequency, scale, and sophistication. Phishing and spear-phishing remain two of the most common ways in which hackers gain access to networks. Ransomware, too, has become a significant threat to business and government operations.

The severity of cyberattacks is increasing because of our growing dependence on technology. The evolving nature of cyberattacks and threat actors also add more weight to cybersecurity. As we transition into a digital economy, we need to update our safeguards against cyber threats.

No entity wants to expose themselves to cyber risks. The best way to protect against cyber risks is to invest in prevention. This is better than remediation. One way to achieve this is by conducting routine cybersecurity vulnerability testing.

Let’s find out how.

What is cybersecurity vulnerability testing?

Cybersecurity vulnerability testing is usually the first step in penetration testing. It is the process of evaluating security risks in software systems to reduce the probability of threats. 

The goal, here, is to reduce unauthorised access to systems and networks. It also identifies gaps or weaknesses in any internal security control that may violate the system’s security policy.

Cybersecurity vulnerability testing identifies and ranks the vulnerabilities in your system before someone can exploit them. Today, it is a useful way to detect and resolve security issues. 

In this process, operating systems, application software, and networks are scanned. This ensures that you identify vulnerabilities, including inappropriate software design and insecure authentication across your organisation.

How do you conduct a cybersecurity vulnerability testing?

There are a few steps to performing cybersecurity vulnerability testing. 

Step 1: Commit to risk identification and analysis

First, list out all assets that are a part of your company’s information system. This will allow you to assign risks to each asset to account for situations that may arise.

Step 2: Conduct vulnerability scanning 

Ensure all policies and procedures have an owner responsible for the content. In this process, you may have to make sure these are approved by senior management before they take effect.

Step 3: Identify the types of vulnerability scans that will be used

This depends on the software that is running on the system you need to scan and secure. Determine the type of scan you will use to achieve the most accurate results. These may include elements like networks and applications.

Step 4: Configure the scans

For this step, add a list of target IPs, define port ranges and protocols, and define targets. You must also set up the aggressiveness of the scans, the time, and the notifications.

Step 5: Perform the testing

The tool used for cybersecurity vulnerability testing will fingerprint the specified targets. This is to gather basic information. The tool will then itemise the targets for more detailed specifications, which include the ports and services that are running.

Step 6: Evaluate and consider possible risks

The risks associated with performing vulnerability testing depends on the availability of the target system. Sometimes, the links and connections cannot handle the traffic load generated by the testing. This can cause the remote target to shut down and become unavailable. 

Step 7: Interpret the results of the cybersecurity vulnerability testing

Prioritise a public exploit for any vulnerabilities found on your system. In comparison, other vulnerabilities may be exploitable with greater effort.

Step 8: Create a remediation and mitigation plan

Prioritise mitigating each vulnerability identified in your results. This is when IT and information security staff work closely with each other. This streamlines the resolution and remediation process.

Manage cybersecurity vulnerability testing with the support of a cybersecurity expert

Cybersecurity vulnerability testing is a complex and ongoing process. Seek the expertise of cybersecurity professionals to perform these scans for a successful vulnerability management strategy

Get in touch with our team at Triskele Labs and find out how we help you carry out vulnerability testing to contribute to the success of your company’s cybersecurity programme.