Difference between Penetration Testing & Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability scans look for known vulnerabilities in your systems and report potential exposures. Penetration tests are intended to exploit weaknesses in the architecture of your IT network and determine the degree to which a malicious attacker can gain unauthorized access to your assets. A vulnerability scan is typically automated, while a penetration test is a manual test performed by a security professional.

Penetration testing (also called “pen testing”) and vulnerability assessment are both required by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), but there is often confusion about the differences between the two services. This document offers clarification on how to differentiate between penetration tests and vulnerability scans.

Here’s a good analogy: A vulnerability scan is like walking up to a door, checking to see if it is unlocked, and stopping there. A penetration test goes a bit further; it not only checks to see if the door is unlocked, but it also opens the door and walks right in.

VIDEO! What’s the difference between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment?

Dan Duran from Rhyno Cybersecurity replies to Andrew Zwart.

In a nutshell, Penetration Testing is an actually simulated attack that finds vulnerabilities in a system.

Vulnerability Assessment is just some scanners into a system to compile a quick report.

Why Rhyno?

Working as an extension of your team, Rhyno delivers advanced solutions for Managed Detection and Response and security assessment. By leveraging our understanding of the tactics attackers use to breach defenses, in-depth knowledge of the latest security tools, and a commitment to innovation, we ensure our clients are armed to continuously prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats.

We discover and safely exploit vulnerabilities before hackers do

The primary goal of a pen test is to identify weak spots in an organization’s security posture, as well as measure the compliance of its security policy, test the staff’s awareness of security issues and determine whether — and how — the organization would be subject to security disasters.

A penetration test can also highlight weaknesses in a company’s security policies. For instance, although a security policy focuses on preventing and detecting an attack on an enterprise’s systems, that policy may not include a process to expel a hacker.