Security Audit

A Complete Guide to Automated Vulnerability Scanning

Updated on: August 23, 2022

A Complete Guide to Automated Vulnerability Scanning

While vulnerability scanning tools are invaluable for pentesting, you might be wondering how to use them for auditing your application and network for vulnerabilities. This is when automated vulnerability scanners come into play. They are quite powerful tools but require a bit of configuration work. This blog will look at what automated vulnerability scanning is, why it is useful, and why you need an automated vulnerability scanning tool to detect and fix security vulnerabilities.

What is Vulnerability Scanning?

Any weakness in the information system, internal control, and system processes that cybercriminals can exploit is known as vulnerability. Vulnerability scanning is performed to detect and remediate these vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanning can be done either by the team or by automated software to manage different types of vulnerabilities. 

Automated vulnerability scanning is different from manual vulnerability scanning, in which a human examines an application or system and searches for vulnerabilities.

What is Automated Vulnerability Scanning?

Automated vulnerability scanning is a type of vulnerability scanning in which systems or applications are scanned using automated tools. This process is usually performed by vulnerability management software or vulnerability management services. 

Automated Vulnerability Scanning tools have the forte of auditing, logging, threat modeling, reporting, and remediation. Using an automated web vulnerability Scanner can have many advantages like:

1. Risk Assessment

Consistent scanning can help the cybersecurity team know the efficiency of the security controls over the organization’s system. But if there is a constant need to fix the bugs, the security team should be scrutinized.

2. Pro-active security

If all the applications are scanned beforehand for all the bugs, it can prevent cybercriminals from attacking the system.

3. Time management

The scanning, which should not be facile, needs to be turned to automation. This can help reduce the workload and the human hours required.

One small security loophole vs your entire web application. The risk is high!

Get your web app audited & strengthen your defenses!
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Starting from $99/month

Also Read: 10 Best Cyber Security Audit Companies [Features and Services Explained]

How does Automated Vulnerability Scanning Works?

Automated Vulnerability Scanning works in four different steps. Let us understand them one by one: 

1. Identifying the vulnerabilities

A web application security scanner or a vulnerability scanning tool uses a vulnerability database to detect security vulnerabilities in the target system. The tool probes into different areas of the target system, based on pre-defined rules, and looks for response patterns that indicate potential web application vulnerabilities.

2. Risk evaluation

The vulnerability identified should be weighed using a scoring system to check its severity and the impacts on the system. This is usually done by using the CVSS score combined with the potential damage caused by a certain vulnerability.

3. Remediation

The treatment of the security breach should start with prioritization. The vulnerabilities should be classified according to their score, and thereby an inventory should be created to remediate them. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment results in specific guidelines for fixing the vulnerabilities.

4. Reporting

Any breach found, tested, and treated should be reported in an impeccable way for creating future awareness. The vulnerability scanning report should contain the details of the test cases, an executive summary for common understanding, suggestions against each vulnerability, etc.

Also Read: What is Network Vulnerability Scanning? The Ultimate Guide

Key components of vulnerability scanning report
Image: Key Components of Vulnerability Scanning Report

See this Sample Vulnerability Scanning Report: Link

What is Continuous Vulnerability Scanning?

The security industry recommends frequently scanning the vulnerabilities rather than quarterly or yearly. This could make sure to act for the blind spots otherwise left in not so frequent scanning. Some vendors also offer passive scanning, which continuously monitors the network for new systems or applications. This allows the team to treat the vulnerabilities if any.

Types of Automated Vulnerability Scanning

1. External vs. Internal Vulnerability Scanning

The scanning can be performed either inside or outside the system or even for the system which is being evaluated now. 

The internal network provides access to the parts of the system. The ease of access depends on the configuration and segmentation of the system. This management classifies the threats based on the data that is provided by the network.

External scanning determines the exposure of attacks to the applications which are easily accessible from the internet. 

2. Authenticated vs. Non-Authenticated Scanning

A vulnerability assessment can be authenticated or non-authenticated based on the requirements. Authenticated scanning uses login credentials to get detailed and accurate information about the application and scan all the authenticated endpoints (along with authenticated).

Non-authenticated automated vulnerability scanning finds the services that are open on the internet. Non-authenticated scanning is a high-level scan that excludes all the authenticated routes of the application.

Factors to Consider While Choosing Automated Vulnerability Scanning Tool

Several factors can help us decide on the appropriate scanners. Some of the essential points to remember are:

  1. The tool should contain a broad number of tests so that the effective cost of scanning can be cut down to the minimum.
  2. The tool should be easy to use for everyone. Vulnerability testing is a niche process, it is not known by everyone besides the basics. So the tool should be such that every team member can use it.
  3. The tool should detect the threat in the minimum time to resolve it earliest, and the team can focus on the value-adding services.
  4. Ensure it can compile all the data as per the regulations and standards relevant to the organization.
  5. Most vulnerability scanners begin by viewing the complete web application page. The right vulnerability tool should also identify these things. 

Top 5 Open Source Automated Vulnerability Scanning Tools

Open-source automated vulnerability scanning tools are one of the best ways to reduce the cost of vulnerability scanning and improve efficiency. While there are several free and paid options available, discovering the best ones can be a challenge, which is why we have a curated list of the best free, open-source tools.

1. NMAP

2. Metasploit

3. OWASP Zap

4. Sqlmap

5. OpenVAS

Why Choose Astra for Automated Vulnerability Scanning?

Astra is the best solution for automated vulnerability scanning, as it comes with more than 4000 vulnerability scan rules. As the best vulnerability scanner, Astra can find and help you fix critical vulnerabilities in your web applications. Finding vulnerabilities in your website is the first step towards improved security.

Astra's vulnerability scanning tool

It is one small security loophole v/s your entire website / web app

Get your web app audited & strengthen your defenses!
See Pricing
Starting from $99/month

Astra’s scanner is able to cover the most popular application and website vulnerabilities. This makes Astra’s scanner the best automated vulnerability scanner in the market.

Why Choose Astra for Automated Vulnerability Scanning?
Image: Why Choose Astra for Automated Vulnerability Scanning?

Conclusion

Vulnerability scanning plays a vital role in the enterprise’s security. Make sure to pick up the right tool for your company before it’s too late. If implemented correctly, the tool can assess the modern security risks and provide the security team with all the essential information required to treat that security breach.

Want to know more or have a quick question? Talk with our engineers!

We are always online! 😊

FAQ’s

1. What is Automated Vulnerability Scanning?

Automated vulnerability scanning is a type of vulnerability scanning in which systems or applications are scanned using automated tools.

2. What is Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability Scanning is a term used to describe a practice where a system is scanned for different vulnerabilities and there is a list that is created based on this scanning.

3. Is Astra’s Vulnerability Scanner a trusted solution?

The answer is YES. Astra’s vulnerability scanner is a trusted solution. The product was created by a team of IT experts and developers. The solution is used by a numb

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Keshav Malik

Keshav is a hacker by heart. He loves playing with fire (code) and loves discovering bugs. Not only in web applications but in all kinds of software. His first introduction to the world of Cyber Security was through bug bounty programs. He quickly made a name for himself as a bug hunter and now actively participates in bug bounty programs. Other than Infosec, he loves creating full stack web applications using cutting edge technologies.
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