Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Assessment

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


There seems to be a certain amount of confusion within the security industry about the difference between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment, they are often classified as the same thing when in fact they are not.

I know Penetration Testing sounds a lot more exciting, but most people actually want a VA not a pentest, many projects are labelled as pen tests when in fact they are 100% VA.

A Penetration Test mainly consists of a VA, but it goes one step further..

A penetration test is a method of evaluating the security of a computer system or network by simulating an attack by a malicious hacker. The process involves an active analysis of the system for any weaknesses, technical flaws or vulnerabilities. This analysis is carried out from the position of a potential attacker, and can involve active exploitation of security vulnerabilities. Any security issues that are found will be presented to the system owner together with an assessment of their impact and often with a proposal for mitigation or a technical solution.

A vulnerability assesment is what most companies generally do, as the systems they are testing are live production systems and can’t afford to be disrupted by active exploits which might crash the system.


Vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying and quantifying vulnerabilities in a system. The system being studied could be a physical facility like a nuclear power plant, a computer system, or a larger system (for example the communications infrastructure or water infrastructure of a region).

Vulnerability assessment has many things in common with risk assessment. Assessments are
typically performed according to the following steps:

1. Cataloging assets and capabilities (resources) in a system
2. Assigning quantifiable value and importance to the resources
3. Identifying the vulnerabilities or potential threats to each resource
4. Mitigating or eliminating the most serious vulnerabilities for the most valuable resources

This is generally what a security company is contracted to do, from a technical perspective, not to actually penetrate the systems, but to assess and document the possible vulnerabilities and recommend mitigation measures and improvements.

Sources: Wikipedia

Digg This Article

Posted in: Hacking News

, , , , ,


Latest Posts:


BootStomp - Find Bootloader Vulnerabilities BootStomp – Find Android Bootloader Vulnerabilities
BootStomp is a Python-based tool, with Docker support that helps you find two different classes of bootloader vulnerabilities and bugs.
Google Chrome Marking ALL Non-HTTPS Sites Insecure July 2018 Google Chrome Marking ALL Non-HTTPS Sites Insecure July 2018
Google is ramping up its campaign against HTTP only sites and is going to mark ALL Non-HTTPS sites insecure in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68.
altdns - Subdomain Recon Tool With Permutation Generation altdns – Subdomain Recon Tool With Permutation Generation
Altdns is a subdomain recon tool in Python that allows for the discovery of subdomains that conform to patterns. The tool takes in words that could be present in subdomains under a domain (such as test, dev, staging) as well as takes in a list of subdomains that you know of.
0-Day Flash Vulnerability Exploited In The Wild 0-Day Flash Vulnerability Exploited In The Wild
So another 0-Day Flash Vulnerability is being exploited in the Wild, a previously unknown flaw which has been labelled CVE-2018-4878 and it affects 28.0.0.137 and earlier versions
dorkbot - Command-Line Tool For Google Dorking dorkbot – Command-Line Tool For Google Dorking
dorkbot is a modular command-line tool for Google dorking, which is performing vulnerability scans against a set of web pages returned by Google search queries in a given Google Custom Search Engine.
USBPcap - USB Packet Capture For Windows USBPcap – USB Packet Capture For Windows
USBPcap is an open-source USB Packet Capture tool for Windows that can be used together with Wireshark in order to analyse USB traffic without using a Virtual Machine.


3 Responses to Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Assessment

  1. P.VENKATA RAMANAN November 21, 2006 at 10:23 am #

    This article gives broad difference between penetration test and vulnerability assessment. This was usefull for me since i am attending CISM 2006 exam on 9th dec 2006.
    Thank you

  2. saravanakumar January 18, 2007 at 1:24 pm #

    i need documents from vulnerabality and penetration

  3. Ganesh September 14, 2008 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi

    This is very sweet and simple discription to understand VA and PT