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Course Spotlight: Fundamentals of Vulnerability Management

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By: Vijayashree Krishnaraj

August 12, 2020

As cyber-attacks are increasing day by day, the organization's responsibility to safeguard itself increases as well. One of the important things to consider to maintain the required risk score, which indicates the extremity of a risk due to some factors and to reduce the susceptibility to cyber-attacks is Vulnerability Assessment and Management. Throughout three modules, with on-demand learning videos and labs, the course significantly serves the purpose of explaining the need and the working of Vulnerability Assessment & Management.

1. What is and Why do we need Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability Management (VM) is an integral component for an organization to maintain a defensive security posture. The main goal of VM is to identify vulnerabilities in an organization's network (e.g., within a web application, operating systems, or third party applications) and to design a remediation plan to mitigate those vulnerabilities. If a vulnerability is not remediated swiftly, the risk it imposes on the organization can be high. A proper VM program helps in tracking, prioritizing, and ensuring remediation of vulnerabilities.

2. What are the common vulnerability databases?

The common vulnerability databases discussed are Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures(CVE), Common Vulnerability Scoring System(CVSS), and National Vulnerability Database(NVD).

3. What is the difference between a Vulnerability Scan and Penetration Testing?

The main difference between Vulnerability Scan and Penetration Testing is that the former is a less intrusive active scan aimed at finding the vulnerabilities present in an asset while the latter exploit these vulnerabilities. Not all assets can be scanned anytime; there are some additional constraints to consider before performing Penetration Testing. For example, certain organizations might want their assets to be tested only during specific timings due to high availability requirements.

4. What are the most popular vulnerability scanning tools used?

Some of the most popular tools for Vulnerability Scanning are Nessus, Qualys, OpenVAS, Nikto, and RetinaCS. These tools are used to find the vulnerabilities in a given asset and how they can be exploited and remediated.

5. What is a Vulnerability Assessment?

All the discovered vulnerabilities cannot be given the same amount of significance. Based on the seriousness of the asset and the vulnerability, they will be prioritized. The most common severity levels are Low, Medium, High, and Critical. The number of times an asset needs to be scanned and the amount of time that can be given for remediation is based on the criticality level. The process of identifying, classifying, and prioritizing the vulnerabilities is called a Vulnerability Assessment.

6. Course Outline and Description

The course is made up of three modules with significant importance to labs that explain how to set up and configure a scan, perform vulnerability analysis based on the results, and prepare a plan to remediate the vulnerabilities.

7. Prerequisites

Even though the course can be considered a beginner-level course, significant knowledge and experience in the security field will be advantageous.

8. To whom is the course designed

The course is aimed at people who aspire to work as a Vulnerability Analyst but designed in a way that it could be helpful to cybersecurity generalists, system or network administrators, or a broad range of fields that interact with IT systems.

9. Key Takeaways

a. A basic understanding of vulnerabilities and vulnerability databases. b. The significance of Vulnerability Assessment and Management in maintaining the desired Risk Score. c. How various scanning tools could be used to find vulnerabilities and insights on how it could be remediated. d. The roles and responsibilities of a Vulnerability Analyst.

The course explains the various knowledge pillars of Vulnerability Management, such as the types of vulnerabilities and vulnerability databases, the vulnerability management life cycle, the steps to configure and run a vulnerability assessment, how to launch and analyze scan reports, and how to design a remediation plan using various scanning tools. By completing this course, one would gain a better understanding of the need for Vulnerability Management and how it can be used to increase an organization's assurance in its information security.

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