An overview of vulnerability assessment and penetration testing techniques

  • Sugandh Shah
  • B. M. Mehtre
Original Paper


All Internet facing systems and applications carry security risks. Security professionals across the globe generally address these security risks by Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT). The VAPT is an offensive way of defending the cyber assets of an organization. It consists of two major parts, namely Vulnerability Assessment (VA) and Penetration Testing (PT). Vulnerability assessment, includes the use of various automated tools and manual testing techniques to determine the security posture of the target system. In this step all the breach points and loopholes are found. These breach points/loopholes if found by an attacker can lead to heavy data loss and fraudulent intrusion activities. In Penetration testing the tester simulates the activities of a malicious attacker who tries to exploit the vulnerabilities of the target system. In this step the identified set of vulnerabilities in VA is used as input vector. This process of VAPT helps in assessing the effectiveness of the security measures that are present on the target system. In this paper we have described the entire process of VAPT, along with all the methodologies, models and standards. A shortlisted set of efficient and popular open source/free tools which are useful in conducting VAPT and the required list of precautions is given. A case study of a VAPT test conducted on a bank system using the shortlisted tools is also discussed.


Vulnerability Assessment Target System Penetration Test Test Target Security Flaw 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer and Information SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Center for Information Assurance and ManagementInstitute for Development and Research in Banking Technology Established by Reserve Bank of IndiaHyderabadIndia

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