Penetration Testing (also known as pentesting or ethical hacking) is a simulation of an attack on a computer system, network, or web application to identify potential security vulnerabilities and gauge the effectiveness of existing security measures. Penetration tests are typically performed by cybersecurity professionals with specialised knowledge and experience in identifying and exploiting system vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing helps companies:
Vulnerability scanning is an automated security audit that identifies potential vulnerabilities in a system or network. Vulnerability scans can range from simple port scans to more advanced tests that use specific attack signatures or exploit known vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanning helps organisations identify weaknesses or misconfigurations in their systems, networks and applications before malicious actors can exploit them.
Vulnerability scans can help organisations:
The key difference between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning is that experienced professionals manually perform penetration tests, whereas vulnerability scans are automated. Penetration tests typically go beyond just checking for vulnerabilities to simulate a real-world attack scenario and test how effective the security measures are at defending against such an attack. Vulnerability scans, on the other hand, will identify potential vulnerabilities but do not attempt to exploit them.
Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning are essential components of an effective security strategy. Penetration tests can provide a deeper understanding of the system’s security posture and help identify any remaining weaknesses that malicious actors may exploit. Vulnerability scans can provide organisations with an understanding of the current security vulnerabilities present in their system and allow them to remediate any issues before they are exploited quickly.
Ultimately, both Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning can help organisations identify potential weaknesses in their systems, networks and applications and provide insights on how to secure them best.