The payment card industry data security standard or PCI DSS requires both vulnerability scan. And pen tests to be performed when it comes to merchants and businesses that are processing credit card payments. The problem is that the two can sometimes be confusing and unsure of the kind of services they should get.
Penetration Testing vs. Vulnerability Scanning
If you are looking for clarifications, then you are on the right page. You can read more about penetration testing vs vulnerability scanning on the link provided. You’ll know the difference between the two, and you can better make distinctions on the kind of services that you need the most right now.
About Vulnerability Scans
Vulnerability assessments or scans assess your network, IT infrastructure, apps, software, hardware, systems, and more for possible security weaknesses. The scans are automatic, and they begin to look for possible weaker links that hackers can exploit to gain access to customer information in your system.
The higher-quality scans can search and give you more than 50,000 vulnerabilities. They are usually mandated by the GLBA, FFIEC, and PCI DSS, which are huge bodies that provide guidelines and rules about the things considered weak links. The scans can be run on a scheduled basis, and they can be completed in just minutes or may take up to several hours. Read more about GLBA on this site here.
The PCI scan is a passive approach used to maintain servers and huge IT infrastructures in businesses. Reports and results generated don’t go beyond giving you information. In essence, they will show you the weaknesses you have, but the scans won’t necessarily fix them.
It’s still up to the IT staff or business owners to look for ways to patch these weaknesses and prioritize them. It’s also the team’s job to rerun the scan if they are worried about a false-positive result. To ensure that the essential details are being scanned, it’s vital that you only get your scans from a PCI-approved vendor to prevent headaches later on.
Reports after the Assessment
After everything is completed, detailed reports are created, and they are typically some lists of the vulnerabilities found in the system. Some may offer easy directions in fixing the problems, and others will guide you on the articles and references that you need to read to solve the problem.
False positives may be generated in the reports, but they are not real. It would be best if you sifted through the false positives, and this can be a chore that one needs to finish. If you have a good scanner, you may have a ranking of the vulnerabilities from high to low priority to secure the areas with higher risks first.
About Pen Testing
Penetration tests are where an IT guy stimulates a hacker in an attempt to exploit the business’ vulnerabilities. In many analyses, this is often called ethical hacking because the good guys are searching for the weak links in the infrastructure and prove that they can get customer information, business data, and more through the system’s vulnerabilities.
They can include SQL injection, password cracking, buffer overflow, and more. Learn more about SQL injection here: https://www.w3schools.com/sql/sql_injection.asp. It’s a live attempt to extract data or compromise a network, but this is usually done without damage to the company.
These tests are very effective and detailed in their approach. Not only are they proving that a hacker can attempt to exploit the system, but they can also offer remediation and fixes needed in the network. Because of the detailed level, pen tests are often preferred in many industry security standards like HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOC 2 Type 2, FedRAMP, and more.
One of the main differences between the two is that penetration tests often involved humans. The IT guys are doing the hacking live, and the elements and the penetration are perpetrated actively. These tests are usually conducted by very technical and experienced IT guys familiar with everything.
You may want to call someone who is an expert in web front-end technologies, web APIs, scripting languages, black hat attack methodologies, external tests, networking protocols, and operating systems. These people will look into your overall security and ensure that you’re going to be safe from hackers in the future.