Digital security vulnerabilities threaten critical business operations and assets. Vulnerabilities, also known as security flaws or weaknesses, affect servers, computers, mobile devices, networks, and digital data. Therefore, attackers exploit the security flaws to steal data and gain unauthorized access to digital assets after they done digital vulnerability Identification.
At the same time, new vulnerabilities emerge every day. For example, in 2020, 18,103 new digital vulnerabilities were identified, at a rate of at least 50 flaws daily. Additionally, hackers actively exploited not less than 31 vulnerabilities in Q1 2021.
Some of the common digital vulnerabilities include:
- Weak passwords
- Weak data encryption
- Malicious code injection in digital infrastructure
- Zero-day exploits
- Security weaknesses in web applications
Identifying Vulnerabilities in Your Digital Environment
Business owners can use different methods to uncover vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure. In essence, identifying security flaws enables cyber risk management. Therefore, it is vital to choose a suitable method to detect vulnerabilities that can impact digital assets. Some of the methods include acquiring cybersecurity software for in-house use.
However, in-house vulnerability scanning has several limitations. One of the primary challenges is the lack of qualified security experts. While anyone can run a vulnerability scan using off-the-shelf software, it takes an experienced professional to identify all vulnerabilities. Also, an inexperienced eye can miss some vulnerabilities that may cause severe attacks.
On the same note, vulnerability identification requires efficient remediation. Essentially, a security team must prioritize the security flaws to protect digital data and assets. Vulnerability prioritization may depend on several factors, such as the impact on digital infrastructure and the possibility of occurrence. In most cases, an in-house team may lack the knowledge needed to prioritize and mitigate security flaws appropriately.
On the other hand, outsourcing digital vulnerability identification to security providers has all the benefits. The primary advantage is access to a platform that provides full visibility of all digital assets. As a result, businesses can identify vulnerabilities in all their digital assets. Moreover, security firms offer the best cybersecurity talent there is to detect and mitigate digital vulnerabilities.
Top Digital Vulnerabilities Identification Every Business Should be Worried About
1. Hidden Backdoors
A hidden backdoor is an intentional security flaw. Specifically, software or hardware vendors may install a hidden code or software called a backdoor to enable remote access. In most cases, businesses or computer users are not aware of the hidden backdoor. As a result, it is a dangerous vulnerability since it allows anyone to access and compromise digital assets.
2. Admin Level Access
One of the essential considerations of digital vulnerability management is restricting employee access to digital data and infrastructure. The less access an employee has to digital products, the less the potential damage of an attack. Nevertheless, most businesses don’t have procedures for controlling user network access. For example, they often provide superuser or admin-level access to all employees. Such access implies that any employee can connect to any network part or access any digital resource. In addition, some security configurations may permit any user to have admin-level functions, such as creating new user accounts. However, unrestricted access is a severe vulnerability since it can expose a company to unwanted intrusions and data exfiltration.
3. Undetected Software/Hardware Bugs
Most enterprises find computer security to be complicated. More so, most businesses are unable to monitor each digital asset connected to their networks. One of the challenging digital security areas is to ensure all software programs are bug-free. Due to the rising demand for digital solutions, developers and vendors may release products with security flaws. A single software/hardware vulnerability can cause large data breaches and network intrusions. With undetected bugs being among the most popular vulnerabilities, hackers are always on the lookout.
4. Unencrypted Data
Data encryption is among the oldest and most reliable security practices. Encrypting data prevents unauthorized users or attackers from accessing stolen information. Therefore, data encryption does not necessarily stop an attack. Rather, encryption retains the data integrity and confidentiality if an attack leads to information leakage or theft.
5. Weak Password Security
Every organization requires employees to use passwords at some point. As a result, password security is the most widely used protection method to secure digital devices and data. That said, cybercriminals usually look for weak passwords before trying other attack methods, and for a good reason. More than 80% of data breaches occur due to the use of weak passwords. Besides, some individuals don’t password-protect their devices or digital information. As a result, anyone can access the digital and use them for malicious reasons.
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How Businesses Can Identify a Digital Vulnerability
1. Auditing Digital Assets
An up-to-date inventory is essential to identifying digital vulnerabilities. The inventory should include the software programs and operating systems running on the digital assets. Specifically, an accurate digital asset inventory assists companies in detecting security weaknesses ranging from outdated programs to security flaws in specific software and OS.
Lack of an updated inventory may cause a business owner to assume a network is secure. But, far from that, some vulnerable digital devices could be connected to the network, exposing the whole company to security threats. Furthermore, applying a security procedure or program may not protect digital solutions with security gaps. As such, the identification of all known and unknown assets is critical to detecting all security vulnerabilities.
2. Penetration Testing
Once a business has completed an audit of all its digital assets, penetration testing is vital. In the process, security teams use all their knowledge to try and compromise the security of the assets and the network. Essentially, the aim is to identify vulnerabilities that an attacker can exploit to steal network or elevate access permissions.
Therefore, the process allows an organization to mitigate the identified security weaknesses. More importantly, a penetration test identifies gaps in a company’s response to attacks. In some of the comprehensive penetration tests, a business can lead employees to believe they are under an actual attack. In the resulting response efforts, the company can establish if the response plans require to be modified.
3.Perform a Vulnerability Assessment
A vulnerability evaluation assists companies in defining, identify, classify, and prioritize digital vulnerabilities. It is a necessary process that includes network infrastructures, applications, and computer systems. In addition, a vulnerability evaluation enables an organization to understand its threat environment. In particular, vulnerability assessments provide the risk awareness and knowledge needed to eliminate digital vulnerabilities. To ensure all digital vulnerabilities are identified, a company consider the following types of vulnerability assessments:
- Wireless network scans: Reveal security flaws in wireless networks, including rogue access points.
- Network-based scans: Detect vulnerable digital assets connected to wired networks
- Application assessments: Essential in detecting inaccurate configurations and software vulnerabilities in digital devices
- Database scans: Identifies security weaknesses in a database that enable unauthorized data access.
Identify and Prevent Digital Vulnerabilities with Cynergy
As mentioned earlier, a company must first know its digital assets to ensure all vulnerabilities are detected. With Cynergy, organizations gain access to a risk-driven platform to identify vulnerabilities in current digital assets. You can discover all digital assets in real-time, including web-based assets, cloud services and interfaces, and websites with the platform. Also, the platform allows skilled security teams to ensure the assets and deployments are free of security weaknesses. Cynergy Security Experts then provide a prioritized action plan for managing the identified digital vulnerabilities.