Today’s hackers and cyber-criminals are always on the prowl looking for potential vulnerabilities in the systems and applications. To combat this, very organization needs to periodically scan their IT assets for the security loopholes and potential vulnerabilities before a hacker tries to exploit them. This is done with the help of Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration testing (VAPT). VAPT is the process to ensure that all the vulnerabilities in a system or application are identified and reported on time with the help of open-sourced and commercial VAPT tools.
A VAPT can be more complex and time-consuming to conduct. With so much information available in the market about different VAPT products or service offerings, selecting the right VAPT tool or solution for your organization can be challenging.
In this blog, we’ll discuss all about the VAPT tools, what does they do, and things to check before buying them. And at the end, we’ll mention the top 7 VAPT tools you can use to conduct a vulnerability assessment and penetration testing for your IT hardware, software, networks, and applications.
Understanding VAPT (Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing)
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT), or VAPT for short, is a security testing method used by organizations to test their applications, software, or IT networks. It’s a method that combines the two main approaches to security testing:
VAPT uses vulnerability assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities in an IT infrastructure and penetration testing to exploit those vulnerabilities. It’s a risk-focused approach that looks for a weakness in a system and tries to exploit it.
This, in turn, helps discover and mitigate vulnerabilities in a system before a cyber-attack occurs. VAPT is a very effective method of testing used by organizations that want to assess their security and effectiveness of their existing security measures.
A VAPT shows how vulnerable a business is to hacking attempts, and it allows a business to prioritize the order in which it fixes the vulnerabilities. It is a very useful method for a business to ensure that its systems are as secure as possible.
What is a Vulnerability Assessment?
A vulnerability assessment (or vulnerability scan) is an information security process used to identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities in a computer system or network.
A vulnerability assessment can be performed as a standalone activity or as a step in a more comprehensive risk management program. Vulnerability assessment is commonly used to gauge the security of a network, system, or organization.
The vulnerability assessment process includes scanning and enumeration of the target and is followed by determining the risk level of the vulnerabilities. This information is then reported to the client, who can decide to remediate or accept the risk.
The purpose of a vulnerability assessment is to provide a security professional with a prioritized list of security issues that require immediate correction.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing or pen testing is an authorized simulated attack on a computer system to evaluate the system’s security. Penetration testing is an important security assessment technique for validating the security posture of an organization.
Penetration tests are normally carried out by security professionals called penetration testers who are certified and experienced in the art of discovering security vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing will typically try to find security holes in the following areas: Access controls, Firewalls, Intrusion detection systems, Patch management, Web application security, and Cloud security.
Why is performing VAPT important?
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) is a must regardless of any type of industry your organization belongs to. This is because the number of cyberattacks against organizations of all sizes across all industries are rising.
The attackers that cause these cyberattacks can target virtually any device, application, or network that supports online activities. These include workstations, servers, databases, Wi-Fi networks, mobile devices, etc.
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) is an important exercise conducted to check the security posture of the organization and its information assets.
A VAPT allows a company to discover vulnerabilities within the company’s network and deliver a full report on those vulnerabilities that will allow companies to prioritize what needs to be fixed immediately and those that can be fixed later.
VAPT also confirms whether or not a company’s current security protocols are providing adequate protection. If a company is not performing VAPT, then the company is not aware of all the potential problems and holes in the company’s software/network and cannot fix them.
Organizations are required to follow compliance standards to secure their systems and data. VAPT helps in discovering vulnerabilities and helps in achieving compliance standards such as PCI-DSS, NIST, HIPAA, SOX, and FISMA.
It is one of the most important exercises anyone can conduct, ranging from a skilled ethical hacker to a security professional. The only thing that is needed for this procedure to conduct effectively is a strong and reliable set of VAPT tools.
What are VAPT Tools?
A VAPT tool (vulnerability assessment and penetration tool) is a automated tool that is used to scan for vulnerabilities by performing a vulnerability assessment and then leveraging those vulnerabilities to gain access to a network.
A VAPT tool can help you save time on your pentest by combining the two processes into one and save you money by buying a one-off tool rather than a separate vulnerability assessment and penetration testing. VAPT tools are designed to be used by security professionals to demonstrate the security posture of an organization.
Automated VAPT tools are designed to automate the process of conducting a VA and PT. Manual VAPT tools help security professionals quickly perform vulnerability assessments and penetration tests within their organizations.
5 things to check before buying a commercial VAPT Tool / Solution
Commercial VAPT tools are becoming increasingly popular among businesses looking to protect their sensitive data. With so many vendors offering solutions, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for your business. So, before you go ahead and buy a commercial VAPT tool/solution, make sure you check the following five things:
1. Easy to use
Simply put, the VAPT tool should be easy to use. If it isn’t, it’s not going to be work efficiently for you and your dev teams. This means that it should be easy to install, easy to navigate, and other easy to use features it offers the business.
The VAPT tool should be able to be used by anyone in the company, including those who are not very familiar with computers or do not have much knowledge about it. The VAPT tool should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. It should be easy for the user to figure out what they need to do and accomplish it.
2. Updated with latest vulnerabilities
The VAPT tool should have the updated vulnerabilities database or tests so that the VAPT tool doesn’t miss any serious security risk or any zero-day vulnerability.
The tool should be designed so that it can easily detect most of the security risks on the given target or scope.
3. On-time support
People buy VAPT tools because they want them to do the job they are intended to do. After that, whenever they face issues, they want the vendor to help them do that job. If they don’t get that help, they may stop using the services.
Without good support, the experience of using the product is reduced. One really can’t offer great service without great support. The quality of your VAPT tool or services is no better than your support systems.
4. Perfect VAPT report
The ideal commercial vulnerability assessment and penetration testing tool must be able to provide a comprehensive penetration testing report.
A good VAPT report contains all the findings of the penetration testing exercise, including the observations, proof of concept, proof of vulnerability, recommendations, remediation checklist, etc.
5. ROI vs. Cost of Tool
Today’s security conscious companies use VAPT tools to understand the risks associated with the different vulnerabilities in their system. However, most companies avoid using VAPT tools because of the cost factors, but they underestimate the fact that it will help them secure their systems from hackers.
The cost of implementing a VAPT tool or solution can be quite high in some cases, but the return on investment is way much higher than that. A perfect VAPT tool or solution will help you find security risks and help you achieve compliance, generate powerful reports, etc.
Top 7 VAPT Tools
Astra’s VAPT tool is a tool based on Astra’s extensive experience in the application security field. It is a great tool for any application to help you keep your data secure to focus on your users and your business.
Astra’s VAPT scan analyzes the entire application and its underlying infrastructure, including all network devices, management systems, and other components. It’s a deep analysis that helps you find security weaknesses, so you can fix them before a hacker does.
Features of Astra’s VAPT Tool:
- 3000+ tests to keep your infrastructure secure from hackers.
- Easy, accessible reports that you can interpret at a glance with the dashboard.
- Collaborate with developers from within the dashboard.
- Offers Astra Login Recorder to do vulnerability scans behind website login.
- Get detailed steps on bug fixing tailored to your issues and know exactly how to reproduce vulnerabilities with video Proof of Concepts (PoCs).
- Why keep your security status private? Showcase Astra’s Publicly verifiable certificate.
- Post pentest, Astra shows a potential loss in $$$ for each vulnerability, making it easier for everyone to understand the impact.
- For each vulnerability, Astra gives an intelligently calculated risk score.
- Pocket-friendly pricing.
2. OWASP Zap
ZAP is a versatile tool used by developers and security professionals to test the security of web applications. It automates the process of detecting and exploiting security vulnerabilities in web applications.
The ZAP project started in mid-2012 as a fork of the popular OWASP JBroFuzz project and has become a mature, fast, and feature-rich open-source tool. ZAP is a mature tool with a very active development community, and it is used by a large number of companies and individuals.
It works by starting a web server and then interacting with the application through a proxy. This allows it to automatically and dynamically discover and scan hidden parameters and cookies, and other content that is not otherwise visible. The resulting data is then displayed in a clear and concise format so that you can see what you should be protecting. ZAP works on any platform and any technology.
Features of OWASP Zap:
- Free and Open-Source software by OWASP
- Active and Passive scanning (both can be achieved)
- Acts as a proxy tool to intercept requests
Nmap (Network Mapper) is a free and open-source (license) utility for network exploration or security auditing. Many systems and network administrators also find it useful for network inventory, managing service upgrade schedules, and monitoring host or service uptime.
Nmap uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics. It was designed to scan large networks but works fine against single hosts rapidly.
Features of Nmap:
- Nmap runs on all major computer operating systems, and official binary packages are available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
- Nmap suite includes an advanced GUI and results viewer (Zenmap),
- It offers a flexible data transfer, redirection, and debugging tool (Ncat), a utility for comparing scan results (Ndiff), and a packet generation and response analysis tool (Nping).
The Metasploit Project is a computer security project that provides information about security vulnerabilities and aids in penetration testing and IDS signature development. It is open-source, free, and available to the public.
HD Moore created the Metasploit Project to provide the security community with a public resource for information on security vulnerabilities. The project provides information about security vulnerabilities used by penetration testers during security audits and network administrators to ensure the correct configuration of the network’s devices.
Features of Metasploit:
- Free to use and Open Source
- User-friendly GUI environment
- Supports all major protocols such as DNS, FTP, HTTP, ICMP, IMAP, IRC, TCP, UDP
- Supports a variety of encodings, including Unicode, ASCII, binary, hex, and several others.
5. Burp Suite
Burp Suite is an integrated platform for performing security testing of web applications. The software comprises multiple tools which are used to test applications for security vulnerabilities.
The tools include an intercepting proxy, spider, repeater, sequencer, decoder, scanner, and comparer. Burp Suite bundles these tools together in a single package that offers a complete web security testing solution.
Features of Burp Suite:
- Easy to use and user friendly
- Numerous extensibility points that allow you to tailor Burp to specific needs
- Over 1000 plugins that enable you to find and exploit specific vulnerabilities
Wireshark is a network traffic analyzer, monitoring software that allows you to see what traffic flows through your system network. It is open-source and is the most popular network analyzer in the world. Network administrators and professionals mainly use it to troubleshoot network and system performance issues and monitor and filter different network protocols.
Features of Wireshark:
- Supports both protocols, TCP and UDP
- Multiple platforms availability, Windows & UNIX
- Detailed packet information
- Extensive community support
Nikto is a free command-line vulnerability scanner that scans web servers for dangerous files/CGIs, outdated server software, and other problems.
Nikto is a web server scanner that performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including over 3300 potentially dangerous files/CGIs, checks for outdated server versions, and version-specific problems on over 270 server-side applications.
Nikto also checks for server configuration items such as multiple index files, HTTP server options and will attempt to identify installed web servers and software.
Benefits of Nikto:
- Scans for most dangerous files on a webserver
- Free and Open Source
- Easy to use and setup
A Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) tool is a special scanner that automatically detects and helps fix security vulnerabilities that hackers and malicious programs can take advantage of. Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) tools are different from other types of security scanners in that they also show you how and where a hacker could break into your system and steal your data. With Astra’s pocket-friendly VAPT solution, you don’t need to worry about anything. Astra’s VAPT solution is one go-to place for all your security needs.