Vulnerability Assessment



What is a Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability assessment refers to a testing process that is used to identify and assign severity levels to a number of security vulnerabilities within a specific period of time. This evaluation process could include manual and automated techniques with varying degrees of consistency and a focus on comprehensive coverage. Using a risk-based approach, vulnerability assessments could also be able to target different layers of infrastructure, the most common being evaluations of network, server, and application layers.

Server Vulnerability Assessment and Network Vulnerability Assessment

There is also a parallel spread of numerous hacking attacks, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with the continuing growth in technology. We should regard this as a warning sign for organizations worried about their health. Thus, these organizations should apply the best safety practices for their web applications to safeguard their brand and reputation and also to prevent data loss and even financial loss.

In addition to focusing on security, when thinking about developing a web application, a company should also consistently evaluate the security levels of its web applications using two key methods:

  • Assessment of Web Vulnerability
  • Penetration testing on web application

With web vulnerability assessments, you will be able to determine deficiencies automatically by crawling the website to discover potential vulnerabilities and then report those results. There are several open source and commercial vulnerability testing tools available to assist in the execution of this mission. While a thorough vulnerability assessment has much of the same procedures as those used in a penetration test, there is also a significant difference in the results that they produce.

Web application penetration testing is carried out more rigorously using both automated and manual methods such as interactive tools and scripts as well as an established approach. Vulnerabilities are naturally found in a penetration test and an attempt is made to manipulate them too.

A penetration check includes the process of finding, tracking, discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities accordingly. As discussed above, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests are basically following the same method, as both start with:


This process involves the collection of web application information by indirect and direct means, such as the review of web search results, DNS records and other available information.


This phase deals with installing the website and finding flaws present in the configuration of the webserver and program.


This phase identifies vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) and Information Leakage. At this point, an evaluation of vulnerability is complete but the penetration test takes the cycle to one more step.


At this point, attempts are being made to exploit the vulnerabilities identified to simulate real-world attacks.

Dangerous Vulnerabilities

A list of the most dangerous vulnerabilities that one could encounter is given below:

Remote File Inclusion

An inclusion of remote files occurs when a file from a remote server is inserted into a web page. This may be done purposefully to display content from a remote website on a website. This attack can, however, occur accidentally due to a misconfiguration of the respective programming language or during an attack execution.

ASP Code Injection

This vulnerability allows an attacker to insert custom code into server side scripting engine. This attack occurs when an attacker is able to control part or all of an input string that is fed into an eval) (statement ending in code execution.

SQL Injection

This assault would try to use application code to manipulate or access information in the database. This is done by means of a web request where the Web user input is incorrectly filtered for string literal escape characters that can be embedded in your SQL statements or not properly sanitized or typed, and are thus suddenly interpreted and executed as SQL.

Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

In an XSS attack , malicious HTML or client-side scripts are injected into web pages viewed by other users, thus bypassing the access controls that browsers use to ensure requests originate from the same domain. In this way, an attacker gains access to session cookies, sensitive page content and various client-side artifacts through XSS attacks.

Full Path Disclosure (FPD)

This vulnerability lets the attacker show the webroot / file path. For example:: /home / omg / htdocs / file/. Some vulnerabilities, such as using the load file) (query (inside a SQL Injection) to view the source page, will require the attacker to have full path to the file they want to view.

Directory Traversal

This is a type of HTTP exploit that attackers employ to gain unauthorized access to limited files and directories. Directory traversal attacks, also referred to as path traversal, use web server software to circumvent inadequate security measures and access files and directories that are stored outside the web root folder.

Tools for vulnerability scanning

  • Acunetix WVS
  • AppSpider
  • Grabber
  • Nikto

Some of the vulnerability assessment tools commonly employed include:

Acunetix WVS

SQL injection and XSS black box scanning technology are available on this vulnerability assessment scanner. It will automatically crawl websites and perform black box and grey box hacking techniques that detect hazardous bugs that could compromise the website and confidential data.


This vulnerability scanner helps to collect all the details needed to check all the applications so you won’t be left with gaping device risks. AppSpider lets you search all of the newest applications and get you ready for whatever comes next.


This web application scanner identifies particular vulnerabilities on your website. This basic software was designed to search small websites such as forums, people etc.


This is an Open Source (GPL) web server scanner that conducts extensive testing for various items against web servers, and also tests for obsolete server versions. It can also check for server configuration items such as multiple index files, and HTTP server options.