Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vulnerability Assessments

When studying for the SY0-201 Security+ exam, you may come across the following objective:
4.2 Carry out vulnerability assessments using common tools.

• Vulnerability scanners

Vulnerabiltiy scanners are used to perform vulnerability assessments.  Vulnerabilties are weakenesses.

Vulnerability assessments are performed to determine if systems or networks are vulnerable to any known issues. The goal is to identify weaknesses so that they can be resolved before they are detected and exploited by attackers.

Most vulnerabilities tools including the following features.
  • Can check for weak passwords with a password cracking tool
  • Can check for open ports with port scanner
  • Can check for sensitive data (such as social security numbers or any desired matching pattern) being released on the network, or sent through the firewall
  • Can check for security policy settings 
  • Can check for the deployment of updates
Nessus is one of the popular vulnerability assessment tools in use today but many more exist.

After a vulnerability assessment identifies weaknesses, it's important to plug the holes.  If the deficiencies are not corrected the vulnerabilities remain.

Good luck with your studies.

Darril Gibson
CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-201 Study Guide