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Penetration Testing (Pen Testing) vs Vulnerability Scanning
A great number of people often confuse penetration testing with vulnerability scanning, whereas both are actually miles different. For starters, whenever reports are made, many people create reports that are more than 300 pages long, and just detail penetration testing. For those who do not know, if your report is going beyond 10 pages, then it is very likely to be a vulnerability scan. Usually, both penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are carried out by financial institutions, because they have to make sure that they protect their networks from outward intrusions. In order to give a clearer idea about the difference between the two, here are a few paragraphs:
A vulnerability scan, usually carried out by a vulnerability scanning tool, is basically a thorough scan that searches for known vulnerabilities that exist within your system, and then reports potential entries in to the system. Basically, in order to carry out a vulnerability scan, you have to make sure that you first get a proper vulnerability scanning tool designed. Commonly, there are companies that provide services related to vulnerability scanning; these companies will design a vulnerability scanning tool based upon the network infrastructure that your company is using, and will carry out a thorough scan in order to get an idea of the potential entry points that exist within the system. This will allow you to figure out where your network is the most exposed, ultimately ensuring that you are able to protect it from there on. Usually, vulnerability scans are automatic procedures (they don’t require supervision while running), and a technician can easily perform it once they are given the right tools. It is one of the most necessary parts of maintaining and securing information on the internet, and is used quite often in the financial field to ensure that the networks are protected.
Penetration testing on the other hand is a different procedure altogether. For starters, penetration testing is carried out by a professional hacker, who after taking the network off the grid, uses a number of different hacking tools in order to gain access to the network. It is by no means an easy task, and usually requires a certain level of expertise on the part of the hacker before it can be carried out. Importantly, penetration testing is able to point out vulnerabilities on the system that exist, making it easier for the network owner to understand how secure their network really is. Moreover, once the vulnerabilities are found, network administrators can hire security professionals in order to properly protect the network. The tools that are used for carrying out penetration testing are usually dynamic, but the focus in penetration testing does not lie on the tools that are used, it lies upon the tester. A good penetration tester would be one who has had decent experience within the industry and is capable of thinking outside the box to gain access to your network, hence allowing for more ingenuity.
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