Discover How Web Scanning Tools Can Help You Find Vulnerabilities

Web scanning tools find attackable weaknesses in your network. Discover how web scanning tools weed out vulnerabilities in your system today.

Your company network includes financial, employee, customer and client data. Running regular scans on your software applications, servers and network is therefore essential to ensuring the security of all data for which you are responsible. Web scanning tools reveal the flaws in your network and applications, which make them susceptible to hacks and other cyber crimes. Discover how web scanning tools help you find vulnerabilities in your system today.

What Is Web Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability scanning is widely considered the most effective method of examining your network, company website, software applications and databases for attackable weaknesses and flaws. Vulnerability scanning works in both standalone mode and when integrated into an overall continuous security assessment process. Essentially, web vulnerability scanning is a roaming virtual security team deployed to scout, protect and perform reconnaissance on your network and anything in your company to which it is connected.

Vulnerability scanning is utilized by business enterprises around the world. Certain aspects of vulnerability scanning are protocol, regulated by both industry and government mandates. Each vulnerability scanning platform has its own features but the outlined primary purpose of vulnerability scanning across-the-board is to:

  • Identify risks and threats.

  • Classify risks and threats based on type, severity and imminence of attack(s). 

  • Mitigate or eliminate all current and potential threats and weaknesses.

Is Web Vulnerability Scanning Enough?

Before purchasing a web vulnerability scanning program business owners want to know if web vulnerability scanning on its own is enough to protect their network. Some pundits of web security and cybersecurity express concerns about the full-scale efficacy of web vulnerability scanning programs for businesses. Consensus in certain circles most scanners are incapable to discovering every flaw and weakness inside your network. In fact, web application scanners are excellent for discovering technical vulnerabilities but many are incapable of rooting out logical vulnerabilities.

Technical vs Logical Web Vulnerabilities (and what they mean for your vulnerability scanner)

Technical and logical web vulnerabilities are dangerous and damaging. Each yields its result using different methods, however. Knowing how each one functions and understanding their differences helps you make intelligent decisions about the exact type of vulnerability protection you need for your company.

Technical Vulnerabilities

Technical vulnerabilities arise from the technical content used to build and maintain a website. For example, the structure and type of database used affects exposure to technical vulnerabilities. Development practices and implemented developing languages also present risks for technical vulnerabilities. Coding also has a major impact on exposure to technical vulnerabilities. General coding mistakes, poor coding practices and coding insecurities all expose a website to technical vulnerabilities.

Several types of technical vulnerabilities are possible. Structured query language injection (SQLi), also referred to as an SQL injection, injects malicious data or statements, which take control over the database server connected to a web application. The result is the modification or corruption of database records or security protocols for whatever purpose the attack is intended. Cross-site scripting (XSS) originates from the client side, injecting malicious code into the victim’s web browser from an otherwise safe website. Review sites, message boards and forums are common sources for XSS attacks. Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) is another common type of technical vulnerability. These attacks make the victim think he or she caused the issue. Victims are convinced to click on appealing links, which lead to malicious actions such as financial theft or fraud. CSRF attacks only work when a victim is already logged into an account and simultaneously engages the malicious link.

Logical Vulnerabilities

Logical vulnerabilities are flaws in the logic of a particular web application and are not reliant on code to wreak their havoc. Logical vulnerabilities have equally damaging potential as technical vulnerabilities and are much easier to take advantage of than one might think. An advanced cybercriminal mind is not required to prey upon a logical vulnerability, as even otherwise benign web surfers can commit these acts.

Note: The following URLs used herein are fabricated as examples of logical vulnerabilities only and are not real URLs. In these examples a person is about to purchase plane tickets for a four-person vacation. At checkout but before credit card information is entered, the URL (where xxxx = http) reads as follows:

xxxx://planetickets/final.asp?airlineID=9&quantity=4&price=150.00.

The “final.asp?” portion indicates three input parameters are accepted and an automated scanner is about to search for technical vulnerabilities. The “flightID=9” portion refers to the airline. The rest means four (4) tickets are about be purchased for $600 ($150 each). 

In this example the automated scanner is incapable of detecting logical vulnerabilities. Determining if threats to the logic of the web application are not in its programming. Altering the URL to: “xxxx://planetickets/final.asp?airlineID=9&quantity=4&price=50.00” results in the price of each ticket resetting to $50 and the customer defrauding the airline of $400.

How Does a Web Vulnerability Scanner Work?

Essentially a web vulnerability scanner crawls a network or website to search for security weaknesses. The type of scanner and vulnerability for which it is scanning impact scanner tactical functionality and performance techniques. Responses are elicited within a range of parameters as defined by a target scope. For example, when a person receives a flu shot, dead viruses are injected into his or her bloodstream to trigger immune system responses and bolster immunity to the flu. A vulnerability scanner not only scans, but also sends out faux threats. The scanner then analyzes the network and system response to these faux threats and assesses risks and weaknesses based on this data. Network ports, password security and breaches, suspicious applications and activities and coding flaws are all scanned, assessed and reported.

Common Vulnerabilities Detected by Automated Scanning

Internal vulnerabilities are originated from the internal enterprise network. External vulnerabilities are found in segments of the company IT ecosystem not restricted to internal use and therefore exposed to the internet. Attacks on anything to which external customers or other users have access are common. Environmental vulnerabilities are found in mobile devices, cloud services, websites and IoT devices. SQL, XSS and CSRF attacks are all perpetrated to create a gain for the attacker and loss for the victim, usually financially-based. Password thefts, account data, medical records, accessing open accounts and manipulative or malicious statements are all common vulnerabilities today.

Best Vulnerability Scanners Available Today

The best vulnerability scanners offer a combination of reliability, efficacy and strong customer support. You need to know your company network and data are protected by a top scanner platform. The best vulnerability scanners available today are: