Common Security Gaps Uncovered Through Vulnerability Assessment Testing

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Vulnerability assessments help organizations find vulnerabilities in their systems before cybercriminals exploit them. When combined with a robust management program, vulnerability assessments can significantly reduce an organization’s threat exposure.

But some things that teams need to correct can diminish the effectiveness of their assessment programs. 


Misconfiguration is a common cause of breaches, leading to over 20% of data breaches in 2022. These misconfigurations can be easy to exploit, and they can expose your systems and networks to attackers.

For example, if you haven’t changed the default password on your router or other device, attackers can use it to gain entry into your network. Additionally, you might have a sensitive file or directory exposed to the internet or a vulnerability in your firewall that can be used to attack other devices within your network.

Security misconfigurations often occur when you rely on out-of-the-box code or services and need to update them to reflect the latest best practices and threats. This can include using outdated signature files on your anti-malware tool, leaving you vulnerable to new malware they’re not yet detecting.

Other security misconfigurations could be more obvious. For example, attackers can intercept messages sent between you and your team members if you don’t configure your project management system to encrypt data. This type of misconfiguration can be a major risk to privacy and could result in legal consequences. The good news is that these misconfigurations are usually preventable by following best practices and conducting frequent close security gaps with vulnerability assessment testing.

Insecure Software

Software security is a complex problem. Even well-established programs have bugs that can be exploited. The more complex a system is, the more lines of code there are, which increases the likelihood of a programming error. These errors, known as vulnerabilities, can be fixed or remediated to improve operational security.

Vulnerability assessment testing uses automated tools to find weaknesses that hackers can exploit. The process can help businesses understand and prioritize their vulnerabilities, which is key to reducing their cyber threat exposure.

The gap analysis process can also help organizations develop a plan to close the vulnerabilities found. This may involve introducing new security procedures, measures or tools and updating existing ones. It can include combining these or other techniques, such as retraining employees to recognize and respond to threats better.

Conducting vulnerability assessments and remediating them for large enterprises is a continuous process. It’s important to take a proactive approach and not wait until a threat actor finds an unpatched vulnerability. To make the most of this process, it’s essential to follow cybersecurity best practices and consider taking a hybrid approach to vulnerability assessment – using both manual and automated tools — to find more vulnerabilities in your network infrastructure and computer systems. This will improve your business’s ability to detect and mitigate cyber risks and secure your critical real-time assets.

Misconfigured Network

A misconfigured network exposes your business to many different types of cyberattacks. Hackers can gain unauthorized access, steal sensitive data, or disrupt business operations. These attacks are often the result of misconfigured systems, applications, and devices. According to Titania’s research, these mistakes cost companies an average of 9% of annual revenues.

Security managers must protect the organization’s assets and allow critical applications to function normally. This means they must set appropriate permissions, ensure that users have the proper tools to do their jobs and update these tools frequently. Unfortunately, the number of tasks requiring attention can make it easy for security managers to miss warning signs such as password resets and multiple login attempts.

Another common gap is the failure to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). This protects your critical accounts and can stop unauthorized access even if someone obtains a user’s password.

It’s also important to encrypt your data. This reduces the risk of a breach and can help prevent unauthorized data mining. In addition, it’s important to test backup and recovery procedures regularly. This will allow you to recover data during a cyberattack or power outage. A vulnerability assessment testing program can help you identify these and other gaps.

Insecure Storage

When an app stores sensitive data unsecured, it exposes the information to hackers or other malicious actors. Sensitive data may include passwords, personal identification information, credit card numbers and other financial data. While most mobile apps encrypt data points while in transit, companies sometimes fail to use industry-standard encryption algorithms when the data is stored at rest. This allows hackers to decipher the encrypted data and get access to user accounts, personal information, bank account numbers and other important pieces of information that could be used for unauthorized transactions, identity theft or other cybercrimes.

This common vulnerability is found in the Top 10 OWASP vulnerabilities for mobile applications and is surprisingly easy to exploit. The adversary can either gain physical access to the device and hook it up to a computer or, as is more common, they’ll construct malware or hack into an existing app that uses this storage method and then executes it on the victim’s device.

Vulnerability assessment testing tools can be used to identify insecure storage in Android apps. These tools can disassemble and analyze an app’s code and resources to detect sensitive information stored in unsecured locations, such as the example Tinder used when it stored the GPS coordinates of users on their devices.

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