Keep your Systems Safe with Regular Vulnerability Scanning

After identifying a target system and conducting early intelligence gathering, the hacker can focus on gaining access to the target system. We can think of scanning as an extension of reconnaissance, in which the attacker gains a wide array of data like: which operating system is in use, active services, any configuration vulnerabilities. After the collection of this useful information, the hacker can plan an attack strategy based on these findings.

Common Types of Scanning

Port Scanning

Port Scanning is the technique of examining the services operating on the target computer by sending several messages with the aim of breaking in. We connect to TCP and UDP ports on the intended device to verify if services are functioning or in a listening state. 

Network Scanning

Network scanning is the discovery of active hosts on devices/systems. Then we may want to either exploit them or check network security.

Vulnerability Scanning

By finding weaknesses in a network, we can determine if it is vulnerable. A vulnerability scanner is made up of two parts: a catalog and an engine for scanning.

A vulnerability scanner is made up of two parts: a catalog and an engine for scanning.  The catalog is a collection of commonly used files with recognized weaknesses and exploitation for a variety of servers. The scanning engine functions by reading a list of common exploits, and transfer server requests, and analyzing them to ensure the server’s security.

Scanning Objectives

The following are the several goals for which scanning is performed:

  • Identify the active systems/services on a network.
  • Determine open ports: The attacker will identify the best method of entry into the system based on open ports.

The Most Common Procedure

While scanning a network we can use some steps as a guideline:

1. Identifying running systems: As a first step, an attacker may begin by looking for active systems on the network.

2. Open ports detection: Once an attacker identifies the live systems, he/she may proceed with searching for open ports to discover operating services on the system. This is an important step since some services may be of much higher priority from the attacker’s perspective.

3. Generating a network map: The next step is to identify the operating system by analyzing an overall network map of the victim.

4. Vulnerability scanning: The next stage is to identify any flaws in the target’s operating system. During this phase, the hacker may attempt to exploit various flaws.

Conclusion

Scanning is more than an intrusion. It is an important part of pentesting methodology by use of which an attacker plans a strategic plan with findings collected in the scanning phase.

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