In today’s digital world, a website is no longer optional for most businesses. Consumers have become more discerning about their patronage and purchases. More of them take the time to research before choosing a brand to work with. According to research, 75% of consumers judge a company based solely on their website or the lack thereof. Not having a website is simply a lost opportunity for a business. 

In all the benefits a website provides, maintaining an online presence isn’t without its drawbacks. Websites are constantly under the threat of cybersecurity attacks. A singular successful attack can severely damage an operation – sometimes to the point of shutting down. 

Thankfully, there are security protocols you can implement to safeguard your digital assets. One of the best protection against malicious hackers is a good website vulnerability scanning strategy. 

In this article, we will learn how to scan website for vulnerabilities, including the benefits that come with websites scans, and the best scanning applications available online. 

What is Website Vulnerability Scanning?

The  Open Web Application Security Project or OWASP defines website vulnerability scanning as:

“Web Application Vulnerability Scanners are automated tools that scan web applications, normally from the outside, to look for security vulnerabilities such as Cross-site scripting, SQL Injection, Command Injection, Path Traversal, and insecure server configuration. This category of tools is frequently referred to as Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) Tools.”

They are essentially applications that sift through a website to identify parts that are vulnerable to attacks. Every application available in the market offers a different slew of features for its scanning programs. There are a few that provide recommendations for the weaknesses that it uncovers. 

As with most applications, not all scanners are created equal. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. Businesses must find a program that works best with their needs. 

Website Vulnerability Scanning versus Vulnerability Scanning

The terms website vulnerability scanning and vulnerability scanning are often used interchangeably. However, contrary to popular belief, these two concepts are similar but not the same. 

As discussed earlier, website vulnerability scanning involves the use of external web applications to look for weaknesses within a website. On the other hand, vulnerability scanning takes stock of the IT infrastructure, including the network and the endpoints. Both security protocols can be a beneficial addition to a company’s cybersecurity strategy. 

How do Website Vulnerability Scans Work?

In general, there are two approaches to website vulnerability scans – passive and active. 

Passive scanning is the more lax approach to determining the weaknesses within a website. Through a non-intrusive scan, applications that endeavor passive scans identify threats by simply looking at the website as a whole. 

Consequently, active scanning entails performing a simulated attack on a website to uncover its vulnerabilities. It is a more dynamic scanning approach and can be used in conjunction with a passive vulnerability scan. 

Common Vulnerabilities Detected through Website Scans

As mentioned earlier, different scanners focus on a wide variety of threats and vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, the list below includes the most popular threats that most applications detect: 

  • Reflected Cross-site Scripting

Website vulnerability scanners identify XSS flaws by sending test strings containing HTML markup. 

  • SQL Injection

Most vulnerability scanners detect SQL injection through primary payloads that result in standard error pages. 

  • Open Redirection

Like detecting SQL injections, open redirections are identified using basic payloads to test the website parameters. Vulnerabilities are detected when these payloads result in a redirection to an external domain. 

  • Command Injection Vulnerabilities

Command injection vulnerabilities can be identified by using commands designed to cause a time delay. 

  • Directory Traversal

Directory traversal issues are detected by submitting sequences to a target file. The response is then observed. If the sequence identifies the target file, then the website does not have directory traversal problems. 

The Importance of Knowing How to Scan Website for Vulnerabilities

Cybersecurity attacks have become more sophisticated over the last few years. Websites, in particular, have been a low-hanging target for these malicious individuals. It is crucial for business owners to incorporate several layers of protection to truly ensure that their digital assets are safe from any breaches. 

Web Security Scanning is a relatively cost-efficient and effective way to see a clear picture of your website security’s health. Most applications are automated and run security checks 24/7. This means that the website is safe from attacks even without an IT professional monitoring its status.

Likewise, regular website vulnerability scans ensure that all the site pages are working at their full capacity. Websites that are under attack, regardless of the kind, will not function properly. In fact, in some instances, the attacks can render the website useless. That said, most scanners provide helpful recommendations to improve a website’s performance and useability. These expert tips are invaluable in creating an online home that produces results. 

It cannot be stressed enough – a single instance of a successful breach can wreak havoc on a company’s operations. Aside from the lost opportunities and stunted profit margins, a business’s reputation is always on the line as far as cybersecurity risks are concerned. Opting to include a website vulnerability scanner in your company’s cybersecurity repertoire assures that your reputation wouldn’t get tarnished. It is a vote for your peace of mind. 

Your company’s website is a hefty investment. Between the resources you’ve put into building it and the hours, it took to refine the pages, protecting this digital asset should be one of your top priorities. After all, effective websites build a reputation and broaden customer reach. 

We understand that guarding your digital assets is hard said. You need to partner with cybersecurity experts that can provide you with exactly the solutions that you need. 

With decades of combined experience, SecureBrain is one of the top cybersecurity companies in the world. Our GRED Web Security Verification Cloud is a service that provides a web application with a continuous form of security. It regularly checks the vulnerabilities of a website without the constant need for human supervision. It is cost-effective, easy to understand, and requires no software installation. It is amongst the best complements to traditional

vulnerability assessments. 

Interested? Do not hesitate to reach out to us today to learn more about our services. We are eager to help you find the perfect complement to your cybersecurity strategies.