Discover the strength and weakness of Vulnerability Scanning
For any company that runs its own network, going for vulnerability scanning is a very important task. Before we talk about the strengths and weaknesses of vulnerability scanning, it is important to understand what vulnerability scanning actually is. Simply put, this is an automated process that proactively identifies any security vulnerabilities that computing systems might have within a network. This allows a company to figure out how and when a network can be exploited or threatened. Even though public servers are vitally important to allow for the easy access to data transfer over the internet, they also increase the level of threats that a company might face in the form of security breaches and other malicious penetrations, such as those done by hackers.
Software program to discover flaws
Vulnerability scanning basically makes use of a software program that seeks out any type of flaws in the security system of a network, based upon a preset data base of all the flaws currently known. The scanner then tests the system by sending out remote threats in order to ensure that the system is capable of holding its own against major security threats. A report is generated at the end of the vulnerability scanning, which allows the network administrators to note down any flaws that might be present in the security system and then fix them.
False positives with vulnerability scanning
However, as positive as vulnerability scanning sounds, and it is an integral part of network maintenance, there are several weaknesses that it suffers from. Here are some of the most blatant weaknesses that vulnerability scanning suffers from:
The first and foremost weakness of vulnerability scanning is that it provides no protection whatsoever against malicious attacks. Because it is not able to detect the vulnerabilities of your network in a proactive manner, any net threats go undiscovered. A vulnerability scanner only discovers threats that have been previously detected. Hence, unless you have updated your scanner to highlight virtually every weakness, which is nigh impossible, it is not exactly capable of preventing any new attacks.
The second weakness that you should know about vulnerability scanners is that a fix takes a long time coming. Let's assume that you've just run a vulnerability scan on your network and have discovered an exploitable weakness. Your next step would be to inform the vendor of your scanner regarding the weakness in your system. Then, it will take anywhere from a month to three months in order to get a patch readied for the network. As a result, even if you are able to discover any sort of problems or impending threats to your network, your network is going to remain unprotected until a patch has been created and put in place.
Another very major issue that most vulnerability scanners face is that they are quite inaccurate. A lot of security experts have revealed that these scanners are only accurate around 30 percent of the time, which means they produce a lot more false alarms than actually providing results that can be used.