Post Menu and Details.
- Vulnerability Management
- Having a Threat Model Document
- Usage of the Best Tools
- Having a Dedicated Team to Manage These Tools and Information Dissemination
- Updating the Team on OWASP's Top 10
- The different types of vulnerability assessments
- Assessment of networks
- Assessment of databases
- Evaluation of web applications
- Assessment of the host
- Assessment of the wireless network
- In summary
Reading time: ~4 minutes
Stolen identities, data breaches, unauthorized money transfers, and a lot of other mishaps are a result of vulnerabilities exploited by hackers. Application users become more fearful each year for their money, data, and privacy because of the increasing sophistication of such attacks.
Companies and application developers need to strengthen the walls of protection against such attacks. However, this arena is still filled with unchartered waters. New security flaws appear as soon as the last big one is fixed.
Engineers and executives alike are responsible for ensuring the application are secure. Policymakers are pushing for more rules and penalties to security incidents caused by poor vulnerability management by companies.
Here, we list four useful practices that are simple to implement but will ensure that your organization and team win at vulnerability management.
Having a Threat Model Document
A threat model document outlines all the possible attack surfaces. Such attacks and vulnerabilities are dependent on the type of business and other factors unique to the organization.
Threat model documents should provide information on how to replicate an attack, possible risks to the organization and its customers, and how severe such a vulnerability is.
It’s important to note that this threat model document should always be updated since new vulnerabilities come out each year (see discussion on OWASP Top 10 in this article).
Developers can write more secure code through the guidance of this document. DevOps engineers are more aware of real vulnerabilities and can avoid false positives.
Usage of the Best Tools
Vulnerability management cannot be effective without using state-of-the-art tools that automatically scan the codebase. These tools are often integrated as part of the organization’s CI/CD Pipeline. It prevents any vulnerable code (custom or from a third-party library) from being pushed into the main branch and deployed to production.
These tools can easily be installed and should be quick to configure. Developers and DevOps engineers can comfortably navigate their interfaces and gather relevant information. Usually, it halts any builds when there are vulnerabilities detected. It also provides suggested remediation steps that the engineers can implement to succeed with the build.
Having a Dedicated Team to Manage These Tools and Information Dissemination
Every member of the organization should be involved in security in one way or another. However, as far as managing vulnerabilities is concerned, it’s always good to have a dedicated team to manage the database of all the vulnerabilities in the codebase and monitor their severity. This team will be the go-to source whenever engineers need some support in overriding false positives (or when the scanning tools halt the build process for something that isn’t really a vulnerability).
On top of these tasks, this team should make sure all other teams are well aware of vulnerabilities arising out of their respective areas and that they execute the remediation steps if necessary. Having this dedicated vulnerabilities management team makes everyone else’s job easier as far as security is concerned.
Updating the Team on OWASP’s Top 10
Every year, OWASP releases a Top 10 list: a list of the ten most common (critical) vulnerabilities based on a survey of major companies. This list provides details about the vulnerabilities themselves, how they can be exploited, and remediation strategies. It also provides prevention techniques that can be implemented in the organization.
The different types of vulnerability assessments
Your organization’s reputation can be protected through vulnerability assessments, which can help you discover potential exploits before hackers start snooping, keep your systems patched and up-to-date, create a proactive focus on information security, and ultimately find ways to cut costs.
Vulnerability assessments can take many forms. Examples are:
Assessment of networks
Known as a network flaw scan, it helps to identify potential flaws on wired and wireless networks.
Assessment of databases
In this assessment, we pinpoint security weaknesses in databases to help prevent malicious attacks, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), SQL injection, brute force attacks, and other vulnerabilities.
Evaluation of web applications
We carefully examine web applications and their source code to find security holes. Both manual and automated methods can be used.
Assessment of the host
In this type of assessment, server workstations and other network hosts are examined for weaknesses or threats. Services and ports are also examined meticulously.
Assessment of the wireless network
The purpose of this scan is to verify whether the wireless infrastructure of an organization is configured securely to prevent unauthorized access.
More and more industries are migrating their businesses online, which means bigger and bigger attack surfaces in general. Unfortunately, this also means vulnerability management will become a discipline in itself, as malicious entities will keep looking for ways to do their damage in terms of exploiting insecure aspects of applications. Therefore, security’s importance will increase over the coming years.
How vulnerability assessments differ from penetration tests
The topic of vulnerability assessments cannot be discussed without mentioning penetration testing. However, there is a difference between the two approaches to protecting a network. Incorrectly combining the two terms is common.
Vulnerabilities are identified and remedied during vulnerability assessments. In most cases, the unpatched vulnerabilities are covered through an automated process.
On the other hand, penetration testing simulates the effects of a real-life attack to understand how a hacker can crack defenses. During penetration testing, a human and automated tool are both used to simulate a hacker.
Even the tiniest security flaws, like an unencrypted password or insufficient security settings, can be detected by penetration testing. Penetrating tests are also vulnerability tests. Thus they should be conducted regularly to ensure consistent network and IT security management.
What does vulnerability management mean?
Systems and software that run on them can develop security vulnerabilities that must be identified, analyzed, treated, and reported. This, along with other security tactics, is crucial for companies to prioritize possible threats and minimize their “attack surface.”
Is vulnerability management part of SOC?
In invulnerability management, you discover, confirm, classify, prioritize, assign, remediate, and track vulnerabilities. Security operations centers (SOC) focus on managing vulnerabilities introduced in software and firmware.
Thank you for reading!