Did you know that it takes experts, on average, 60 days to fix software vulnerabilities? That’s a shocking amount of time for anyone to break into your systems and steal valuable data.
So how can you best protect yourself in such situations? Well, let’s take a look at vulnerability scanning. And, we’ll look at why your business should use it to protect itself against bad actors.
What is Vulnerability Scanning?
Vulnerability scanners are a type of software used to find weak points in a system. The most common type of vulnerability scanner uses port scans. These scans identify open ports on the computers connected to your network.
It sends out packets with specific data at each port number. Or, it can do this by using automated scripts to scan all available ports at once.
Why You Need to Know About Vulnerabilities in Your Networks
There are many reasons why you should know about vulnerabilities in your networks. First off, suppose you don’t know what’s going on inside your computer system. Then how do you expect to protect yourself from cyber threats and attacks?
Also, knowing where there might be holes in your firewall allows you to take steps to close any security gaps. And, when you find a hole in your defenses, you need to understand what happened so you can fix it fast.
Finally, take time to understand what happens during a breach. In turn, this helps you prepare better for future incidents.
How Does Software Identify Vulnerabilities?
The software identifies vulnerabilities based on two main factors. First, the software must detect if a piece of code changed since its last version came out. The software also needs to determine whether the changes made to the code were malicious or not.
If the change were benign, then the software would flag the problem as such. Yet, suppose the change was malicious. Then the software would alert administrators that something had gone wrong.
Types Of Vulnerability Scanners Available Today
Today, there are three types of scanners used to search for vulnerabilities. These include web application firewalls and host-based intrusion detection or prevention systems. They also include vulnerability scanning tools.
Each one offers different benefits depending upon the situation. Let’s look at each of these options in more detail below.
Web Application Firewall
A Web application firewall works like a gatekeeper between users and server applications. A WAF monitors traffic entering and leaving the server and blocks access to known bad sites or pages. For example, suppose someone tries to visit www.badsite.com while browsing.
Their browser sends a request to the website asking for content. When the site receives the request, it checks whether the IP address belongs to a trusted source.
Suppose the IP address does belong to a trusted source. Then the site returns the requested information to the user’s browser. Otherwise, the site rejects the connection.
That’s because it knows that the visitor isn’t authorized to view the page. If the attacker doesn’t spoof his IP address, he won’t get past the WAF.
Host Intrusion Detection System
A HIDS looks for the suspicious activity taking place on a machine. The most common type of attack is a “Denial of Service.”
That involves sending large amounts of data requests to a target network device. It does so until it becomes overwhelmed with too much incoming traffic.
A HIDS will check all communications sent over the network. Once it detects anything unusual, it alerts security personnel who investigate further. Depending on the severity of the incident, the administrator blocks offending IP addresses.
Network Security Assessment Tools
These tools scan computers connected to a local area network for weaknesses. They help organizations identify potential problems. That way, they can fix the issues before hackers have time to exploit them.
Network assessment tools use port scans to search for open ports on hosts. Port scans involve sending packets containing specific strings of characters. These move through various TCP/IP protocols.
How Does A Portscan Work?
A port scan works by scanning every single TCP/IP port on a given host machine. When packets with a certain string arrive at the ports, the system sees them sent from elsewhere. If no response comes back within a specified time frame, the port’s closed.
Yet, suppose a response does come back. The IP address associated with that port gets recorded along with other details. It also records connections and the length of time taken to establish the connection.
These logs sit in a database called a log file. From here, you can look at logs later to determine what kind of traffic came across each port.
How to Resolve These Vulnerabilities
The first step towards resolving vulnerabilities is identifying which ones exist. To do so, you need to perform an audit of your systems. An audit should include both internal and external audits. Internal auditing focuses on checking how well your organization protects its assets.
External auditors look outside the company walls to ensure that everything is working. Both types of audits provide valuable insight into where improvements are possible.
Once you’ve identified areas of concern, you’ll want to take steps to resolve those issues. For example, you might choose to use firewalls to protect against buffer overflows.
Consider implementing intrusion detection software to detect malicious activities before they cause damage. Finally, you can read more about the benefits of outsourcing cybersecurity to maintain your IT infrastructure.
Perform Regular Vulnerability Scanning for Highest Security
As well as improving security, performing regular vulnerability scanning helps keep business up-to-date. When new exploits become available, you won’t be a victim because you already know about them.
Many companies now need employees to undergo periodic training sessions. That way, you can make sure everyone knows how to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime.
Keep reading for more top tips to prevent your business from suffering a data breach!