Cybersecurity Vulnerability: Entry to Your Information System

Cybersecurity Vulnerability: Definition, Types & Detection Ways

What is cybersecurity vulnerability?

Cybersecurity vulnerability can be defined as a weakness in an information system that provides an exploit opportunity for existing cyber threats. Both criminals and security professionals are looking for such weaknesses to use or to remove them.

Vulnerability Types

Vulnerabilities fall into several categories:

By location:

  • On-premise network or Cloud
  • Software (OS, apps) or Hardware
  • Defense system or Basic infrastructure

By nature:

  1. Procedural vulnerabilities.

Some processes are missing or organized incorrectly. As a result, they expose the entire system. Procedural vulnerabilities are harder to detect because you need to assess all the business processes.

Examples: 

  • Public access to sensitive information or PII;
  • Lack of cybersecurity training for employees;
  • No data backup.
  1. Architectural vulnerabilities.

When building an information system, IT experts can miss some essential components or use parts that have an inherent weakness.

Examples:

  1. Human error vulnerabilities

Human errors are inevitable. That’s why not only do they account for multiple cyber incidents but also the majority of modern cyberattacks rely on this type of vulnerability. 

Examples:

Shadow IT

It’s a special type of cyber vulnerability. Shadow IT is any software or hardware that employees use without the approval of an IT department. Those in charge of cybersecurity don’t know about shadow IT and therefore can’t monitor and control it.

Finding Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

  1. Monitor cybersecurity incidents that occur with other businesses. This will give you an idea of the existing threats and what vulnerabilities they employ.
  2. Create a cybersecurity policy for your company. Make sure everyone complies with it. The policy should contain penalties for non-compliance.
  3. Audit your network, its components, and how they interact with each other. You should also check how people employ the information system.
  4. Conduct penetration testing once in a while. It will help you detect the gaps in your defense.
  5. Acquire vulnerability protection software. Install antivirus software and tools that detect shadow IT.
  6. Train your employees on a regular basis. People tend to forget about threats and relax. That’s when they turn vulnerabilities into damages.

Vulnerability vs. Threat vs. Risk

People often confuse vulnerabilities with risks or threats. However, there’s a major difference between these terms.