In the interconnected world of today, organizations face an ever-growing array of cybersecurity challenges, especially on their public networks. The Internet vulnerability assessment serves as a crucial mechanism to identify and document vulnerabilities present in an organization’s public-facing infrastructure.
This article explores into the intricacies of the Internet vulnerability assessment process, outlining the key steps involved in fortifying digital defenses against potential threats originating from the expansive realm of the internet.
The Internet Vulnerability Assessment Process
1. Planning, Scheduling, and Notification of Penetration Testing
Executing the data collection phase for Internet vulnerability assessment requires meticulous planning. Large organizations often allocate an entire month for this process, leveraging nights and weekends while avoiding change control blackout windows.
The vast amount of results generated during scanning necessitates thorough analysis, with a rule of thumb indicating that every hour of scanning results in two to three hours of analysis.
Detailed plans are communicated to technical support communities, facilitating easier diagnosis and recovery from disruptions caused by invasive penetration testing.
2. Target Selection
Network characterization elements stored in the risk, threat, and attack database guide organizations in selecting penetration targets. Typically, organizations choose to test every device exposed to the Internet, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of potential vulnerabilities.
3. Test Selection
External monitoring intelligence is employed to configure a test engine, such as Nessus, for the planned tests. Test selection evolves over time to match the evolving threat environment. Given the public-facing nature of devices, tests must be able to withstand aggressive penetration test scripts, leaving little room for debate on risk levels.
The penetration test engine is unleashed according to the scheduled plan, targeting devices identified in the test selection. The scanning process is monitored to report disruptions immediately and initiate recovery activities. Log files generated during scanning are treated as highly confidential.
A knowledgeable vulnerability analyst screens test results for potential vulnerabilities, undertaking three critical tasks:
- Classifying the risk level, differentiating between those needing attention and acceptable risks.
- Validating significant risks through manual testing and human judgment, with discretion to minimize disruption.
- Documenting results, including saving a trophy (e.g., a screenshot) to convince administrators of the reality of identified vulnerabilities.
6. Record Keeping
Documented vulnerabilities are recorded in the vulnerability database, detailing logical and physical characteristics. Response risk levels are assigned to prioritize urgent vulnerabilities. Coupled with criticality levels from the risk, threat, and attack database, these records guide systems administrators in determining remediation priorities.
The Internet vulnerability assessment process is a critical aspect of cybersecurity, safeguarding organizations from threats emanating from the expansive digital frontier. By following a systematic approach, organizations can identify, validate, and document vulnerabilities, paving the way for effective remediation.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, a proactive stance in vulnerability assessments remains paramount to fortify digital defenses and ensure the resilience of public-facing networks against potential cyber threats.You may also like:
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