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Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) are two types of vulnerability testing. The tests have different strengths and are often combined to achieve a more complete vulnerability analysis. In short, Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessments perform two different tasks, usually with different results, within the same area of focus.

Vulnerability assessment tools discover which vulnerabilities are present, but they do not differentiate between flaws that can be exploited to cause damage and those that cannot. Vulnerability scanners alert companies to the preexisting flaws in their code and where they are located. Penetration tests attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities in a system to determine whether unauthorized access or other malicious activity is possible and identify which flaws pose a threat to the application. Penetration tests find exploitable flaws and measure the severity of each. A penetration test is meant to show how damaging a flaw could be in a real attack rather than find every flaw in a system. Together, penetration testing and vulnerability assessment tools provide a detailed picture of the flaws that exist in an application and the risks associated with those flaws.

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Web Application Security Testing.

Security Testing is a sub-type of software testing that involves identifying risks, threats, and vulnerabilities in an application. The purpose of this testing is to prevent cybercriminals from infiltrating applications and launching malicious attacks. To make this possible, testers must detect all potential loopholes and vulnerabilities in the application that might lead to a loss of reputation, information, and revenue. They must not only identify threats from external sources but also the danger of attacks by malicious elements that gain access to the application.

All efforts aim to ensure that all key features of the application function flawlessly in a production environment. Therefore, testers assess various elements of security such as the confidentiality, integrity, continuity, vulnerability, and authenticity of the web application. By testing on various layers across databases, networks, infrastructure, and access points like mobile, security testing identify all the risks a web application faces. After detecting these vulnerabilities, developers and security experts can plug in these gaps to make the applications secure.

Mobile Application Security Testing.

Penetration tests are a crucial security procedure for mobile app testing. While vulnerability scans aim to test known vulnerabilities, security analysts use penetration tests to find any potential weakness, whether it's poor security settings, unencrypted passwords, or an unknown flaw.

By imitating the habits of threat actors, analysts can anticipate the strategies of cyber criminals and create a security protocol that's one step ahead of the bad guys. Professionals should perform penetration tests at least once or twice a year since cybersecurity attack strategies are continually evolving.

Cloud Penetration Testing.

Cloud penetration testing is designed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a cloud system to improve its overall security posture. Cloud penetration testing helps to:


Network Penetration Testing.

Network penetration testing is a process of great importance, useful in detecting security misconfiguration, network vulnerabilities, and threats that can harm any organization’s networks, website servers, and other applications when exploited by hackers. It is one of the key processes for assessing your network’s security.

For easier reference, imagine it to be a mock drill against known cyber threats. So, as identify any security issues as they occur or after, to be worked on later for better strengthening. It is important to realize that an alternate scenario leaves systems unprotected and data ripe for picking by unlawful hands, making network pen testing a necessity.

Social Engineering.

Social engineering is the term used for a broad range of malicious activities accomplished through human interactions. It uses psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information. Social engineering attacks happen in one or more steps. A perpetrator first investigates the intended victim to gather necessary background information, such as potential points of entry and weak security protocols, needed to proceed with the attack. Then, the attacker moves to gain the victim’s trust and provide stimulation for subsequent actions that break security practices, such as revealing sensitive information or granting access to critical resources.

Identify risks, vulnerabilities, and gaps

Impact of exploitable vulnerabilities

Determine how to leverage any access obtained via exploitation

Deliver clear and actionable remediation information


Provide best practices in maintaining visibility.

How it works

Penetration Testing Approaches

There are a few different approaches cybersecurity experts can take when performing a penetration test. The key difference usually comes down to how much knowledge the theoretical attacker is assumed to have.

Gray Box Penetration Test

In this form of penetration testing, the tester possesses some baseline knowledge about the system. This could be lower-level credentials, a network infrastructure map, or application logic flow charts. The test will still produce very realistic results because many cyber attackers won’t even attempt to launch an attack without some information about the target environment. Since this approach essentially skips over the “reconnaissance” step and gets straight to the actual pen test, it can be performed more quickly and focus specifically on systems that are already known to be high-risk.

Black Box Penetration Test

This test is conducted without any knowledge of the targeted network or the systems running on it. The tester doesn’t know anything about the internal code or software and lacks any access credentials or sensitive information. This form of testing is realistic because it forces the tester to think like a potential hacker when searching for vulnerabilities. While it may seem like the most accurate form of testing, black box tests are constrained by time limits. The tester usually has a limited period of time to evaluate a system and try to gain access, whereas a hacker does not have similar constraints and could identify weaknesses that are not immediately obvious.

White Box Penetration Test

The final approach to penetration testing is less a simulated cyberattack than a thorough examination of a system at the source code level. Testers are granted the highest level of access privilege, allowing them to assess the system thoroughly for logic vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, poorly written code, and deficient security measures. While very comprehensive (and especially effective for preventing insider threats), it may not recognize gaps that an attacker would be able to exploit from the outside using unconventional tactics. For this reason, it’s often helpful to perform a white box test in conjunction with black or gray box testing.