VM - Vulnerability management
Vulnerability management is the "cyclical practice of identifying, classifying, prioritizing, remediating and mitigating" software vulnerabilities. Vulnerability management is integral to computer security and network security, and must not be confused with a Vulnerability assessment.
Vulnerability management is an ongoing process that includes proactive asset discovery, continuous monitoring, mitigation, remediation and defense tactics to protect your organization's modern IT attack surface from Cyber Exposure.
Vulnerabilities can be discovered with a vulnerability scanner, which analyzes a computer system in search of known vulnerabilities, such as open ports, insecure software configurations, and susceptibility to malware infections. They may also be identified by consulting public sources, such as NVD, or subscribing to a commercial vulnerability alerting services. Unknown vulnerabilities, such as a zero-day, may be found with fuzz testing, which can identify certain kinds of vulnerabilities, such as a buffer overflow with relevant test cases. Such analysis can be facilitated by test automation. In addition, antivirus software capable of heuristic analysis may discover undocumented malware if it finds software behaving suspiciously (such as attempting to overwrite a system file).
Correcting vulnerabilities may variously involve the installation of a patch, a change in network security policy, reconfiguration of software, or educating users about social engineering.
Network vulnerabilities represent security gaps that could be abused by attackers to damage network assets, trigger a denial of service, and/or steal potentially sensitive information. Attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit — and taking advantage of old vulnerabilities that may have gone unpatched.
Having a vulnerability management framework in place that regularly checks for new vulnerabilities is crucial for preventing cybersecurity breaches. Without a vulnerability testing and patch management system, old security gaps may be left on the network for extended periods of time. This gives attackers more of an opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities and carry out their attacks.
One statistic that highlights how crucial vulnerability management was featured in an Infosecurity Magazine article. According to survey data cited in the article, of the organizations that “suffered a breach, almost 60% were due to an unpatched vulnerability.” In other words, nearly 60% of the data breaches suffered by survey respondents could have been easily prevented simply by having a vulnerability management plan that would apply critical patches before attackers leveraged the vulnerability.
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F.A.Q about VM - Vulnerability management
What is vulnerability management?
Vulnerability management is a pro-active approach to managing network security by reducing the likelihood that flaws in code or design compromise the security of an endpoint or network.
What processes does vulnerability management include?
Vulnerability management processes include:
- Checking for vulnerabilities: This process should include regular network scanning, firewall logging, penetration testing or use of an automated tool like a vulnerability scanner.
- Identifying vulnerabilities: This involves analyzing network scans and pen test results, firewall logs or vulnerability scan results to find anomalies that suggest a malware attack or other malicious event has taken advantage of a security vulnerability, or could possibly do so.
- Verifying vulnerabilities: This process includes ascertaining whether the identified vulnerabilities could actually be exploited on servers, applications, networks or other systems. This also includes classifying the severity of a vulnerability and the level of risk it presents to the organization.
- Mitigating vulnerabilities: This is the process of figuring out how to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited before a patch is available, or in the event that there is no patch. It can involve taking the affected part of the system off-line (if it's non-critical), or various other workarounds.
- Patching vulnerabilities: This is the process of getting patches -- usually from the vendors of the affected software or hardware -- and applying them to all the affected areas in a timely way. This is sometimes an automated process, done with patch management tools. This step also includes patch testing.