Supplement Your Pen Tests with Nessus Pro
Nessus supports penetration testing processes by discovering weaknesses within your attack surface to pinpoint where to pen test and decrease your cyber risk.
Understanding Differences Between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning
While penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are complementary processes, they are not one in the same.
Penetration tests help you discover weaknesses in your attack surface to determine if an attacker can successfully infiltrate your network or assets to gain unauthorized access into your systems.
Pen tests are generally conducted by an experienced and well-trained third-party, who may use a variety of techniques to uncover and exploit these weaknesses.
While a penetration test is a point-in-time assessment of how vulnerabilities may be exploited, vulnerability scanning is a process to seek out known vulnerabilities, weaknesses and misconfigurations within your attack surface so your team can plan remediation to reduce your cyber risk.
Regulatory and compliance agencies, for example the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), may require regular pen testing and vulnerability scanning, but even so, some organizations remain unclear about the differences between the two.
In this guide, we’ll look at the differences between pen testing and vulnerability scanning to help you better understand how both are critical components of your overall cybersecurity program.
Tenable Community: Your Go-To Resource for OT
Are you a cybersecurity practitioner who specializes in penetration testing? Do you have questions about pen testing resources, tools or best practices? Tenable Community is a great place to connect with other professionals to discuss penetration testing and related topics.
Here are some sample conversations happening now:
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What are the Advantages of Integrating Your OT Security With NGFWs?
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How to Discover and Protect Your OT Assets?
For years now, CISOs have tried to come to grips with the convergence of two equal but distinct parts of the business — IT and Operational Technology (OT) — and what it means for the overall cybersecurity posture of industrial enterprises. The first question is: Where to start?Read More
Penetration Testing Frequently Asked Questions
Some best practices for pen testing include:
- Conduct routine pen tests at least quarterly and as required to meet compliance standards
- Set goals, objectives and scope before conducting each pen test
- Review results to plan for remediation
- Follow up with additional tests as needed
- Retain evidence uncovered by your pen tests, taking into account related laws and compliance standards for evidence retention
How Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing Go Hand-in-Hand
Penetration testing is a process that helps you discover weaknesses within your attack surface before an attacker exploits them. But where do you begin?
Vulnerability scanning is a great place to start. It’s a key component of your overall penetration testing processes. Vulnerability scanning can help you find all of the weaknesses across your attack surface so you can fix them before an attacker uses them to access your data and systems.
Here are a few ways vulnerability scanning works hand-in-hand with pen tests:
During a penetration test, your tester may perform vulnerability scans across your complete attack surface or choose to specifically target a subset, for example your internal networks, external networks, your cloud environments, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, operational technology (OT) devices, containers or web apps.
Nessus Professional is a vulnerability assessment tool that can help you scan for these vulnerabilities. It comes with pre-built templates to help you conduct credentialed and non-credentialed vulnerability scans. It can help you quickly—and easily—conduct both whitebox testing and blackbox testing.
Nessus templates support many compliance frameworks such as Center for Internet Security (CIS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG), and others.
You can also customize Nessus templates for your tests, including setting preferences to avoid false negatives or false positives.
Ready to learn more about how you can use Nessus for vulnerability scanning as part of your pen tests?Read More
Nessus is the Gold Standard for Vulnerability Assessment
Vulnerabilities and assets across your modern attack surface are always changing. Trust Nessus Professional to help you stay a step ahead of attackers.
Penetration Testing Blog Bytes
Pen tests give you visibility into your vulnerabilities. It's a critical and often underused component of cybersecurity. Penetration testing can help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your existing configurations and where you may have holes an attacker can exploit. Often organizations plan pen tests as a one-off project. However, because of your growing and ever-evolving attack surface, penetration testing should be a routine part of your cybersecurity practice.
Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are similar, but they are not the same thing. They do, however, work well together. Both seek weakness in your attack surface. With vulnerability assessment, you're looking to identify and prioritize vulnerabilities that pose threats to your organization. With penetration testing, a tester seeks out a known weakness in an attempt to exploit it to see if your data and systems can be accessed.
To combat vulnerabilities, you need a deep understanding of what is happening on your systems at any given time. This requires a holistic blend of network monitoring and vulnerability scanning to ensure you have constant visibility into your vulnerability landscape. One way you can keep up with threats is to run regular penetration and vulnerability tests. A penetration test analyzes your configuration, identifying exploitable weak points. Vulnerability assessments handle a similar function, focusing on weaknesses in applications and software.
Nessus Professional is the Industry Standard for Vulnerability Assessment
Built for security professionals, by security professions, Nessus is an effective way to discover vulnerabilities across your attack surface.
With pre-built policies and templates, Nessus helps penetration testers get the most out of their evaluations. By providing visibility into an organization's network, Nessus gives pen testers an upper hand by helping them quickly uncover weaknesses.
Nessus' coverage is unlike any other vulnerability assessment tool on the planet. It covers almost 50,000 unique IT assets such as operating systems (MacOS, Windows, Linux), mobile devices, applications and network devices.
The software has more than 140,000 plugins, which are automatically updated. That means pen testers get accurate, timely information about the latest vulnerabilities and malware.
No. 1 In Accuracy
With six-sigma accuracy, Nessus has the lowest false positive rate in the industry, measured at .32 defects per 1 million scans.
No. 1 in Coverage
Nessus features more than 140,000 plugins for more than 50,000 common vulnerability exploits (CVEs). Each week, Tenable releases more than 100 new plugins and covers high-profile issues within 24 hours of vulnerability disclosure.
No. 1 in Adoption
More than 30,000 organizations around the world trust Nessus. It has more than 2 million downloads and is used by half of the Fortune 500.