Vulnerability Assessment: Guide For Beginners


Vulnerability scanning is a security technique used by organizations to find the flaws in a targeted system.
This means that the organization can discover any holes in the web application and system before the
malicious user does. This activity is generally executed before deploying web applications on the internet
. Web application security is the method of defending websites and online services against different
security threats that exploit vulnerabilities in an application’s code. Nowadays web applications are more
attractive for cyber attacks as the complexity and integration of different software with web applications
provide a great attack surface for attackers. Integrally web applications are much harder to protect versus
traditional applications that have the advantage from the security infrastructure that has already been
deployed. To detect and appropriately protect against web application threats, organizations must first
have the capacity to identify these vulnerabilities. This includes performing web application vulnerability
assessment scanning.



A vulnerability assessment is the process of defining, identifying, classifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities
in computer systems, applications and network infrastructures and providing the organization doing the
assessment with the necessary knowledge, awareness and risk background to understand the threats to
its environment and react appropriately.
Some of the vulnerability assessment scans consist of the following:
• Network-based vulnerability scanning can help an organization identify weaknesses in their network
security before the bad guys can mount an attack. The goal of running a vulnerability scanner or
conducting external vulnerability assessments is to identify devices on your network that are open to
known vulnerabilities without actually compromising your systems.
• Host-based scans are secondary to understand the vulnerabilities in servers, workstations, and different
network hosts. It scans the host or system in order to diagnose the security weaknesses in the wireless
network. The wireless network scans of an enterprise’s wifi networks are required to bring to attention
the points of attack in the wireless network infrastructure. Apart from discovering rogue access points,
a wireless network scan can also validate that an organization’s network is securely configured.
• Application scans are imperative to web sites to discover recognized software vulnerabilities and
unwarranted configurations in the network or web application.
• Database scans can detect the susceptible factors in a database, that can cause malicious attacks,
such as a SQL injection attack.



A vulnerability assessment informs companies of the weaknesses in their digital infrastructure and points
them in the direction to reduce the threat that the weaknesses can cause/have caused. Vulnerability
scanning enables an organization to reduce the chances of an attacker breaching the network/system. For
businesses looking to decrease their security threat, a VA is a process to identify and quantify the security
vulnerabilities in an organization’s environment. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment program
provides organizations with the knowledge, awareness, and risk background necessary to understand
threats to their environment and react accordingly.



An plethora of tools is available to software testers to help detect software vulnerabilities. However, some
tools are more powerful than others.
• Open Source tools are easily available
• They identify almost all vulnerabilities
• Automated for scanning
• Easy to run on a regular basis

A. OWASP ZEB Attack Proxy
The OWASP zed attack proxy (zap) is one of the globe’s most famous free security tool and is actively used
by masses around the world. It helps find security vulnerabilities on applications. It is used by penetration
testers while conducting manual tests.

B. Paros Web Proxy Tool
Paros is a free of cost web proxy tool that is written solely in Java. Through Paros’ proxy nature, all http and
https data among server and client, along with cookies and form fields, can be intercepted and modified.

C. Vega Tool
Vega is a platform for testing the security of web applications. It is GUI based, written in Java, and runs on
Linux, OS X, and Windows. It can be easily extended with modules written in Javascript.

D. Netsparker Web Security Scanner
Netsparker Desktop is an easy-to-use, yet powerful web application security scanner that scans websites,
web applications, and web services automatically identifying vulnerabilities and security flaws in them.