What is a Website Vulnerability Scanner, and Why Should You Use One?

Learn why it's important to use a website vulnerability scanner to protect your business against web-based cyber attacks.

An excellent way to combat web-based cyber attacks is to perform vulnerability scanning on your website. Here’s what you need to know about what a website vulnerability scanner is and why you should use one to secure your site.

What is a Website Vulnerability Scanner?

A website vulnerability scanner is an automated software designed to search for security vulnerabilities in a website. It scans for web vulnerabilities within web services, web servers, proxy servers, or web application servers. Website vulnerability scanners are dynamic and language-independent. They are also referred to as web application scanners, web app scanners, web vulnerability scanners, or just vulnerability scanners.

What is a Website Vulnerability?

Website vulnerabilities are weaknesses or holes in a website or a web app that can be exploited by hackers and cyber attackers. Some common website vulnerabilities that can be detected by a website vulnerability scanner are:

  • SQL injection: This website vulnerability happens when an attacker sends hostile data to a database. This could lead to data loss, data corruption, or even a complete takeover of a server. 
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): XSS happens whenever a web app includes untrusted data on a new web page without validation or when the web app updates an existing web page with user-supplied data. 
  • Command injection: This vulnerability allows attackers to transmit and execute codes on a website’s hosting server. It could happen when header information or other user input didn’t undergo proper validation.
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF): While not so common, CSRF can still be harmful. This happens when cyber attackers trick users or administrators to execute malicious actions.
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS): A DDoS attack happens when the bandwidth or resources of a system are flooded by illegitimate requests in an effort to make the service unavailable for legitimate requests. Because the incoming traffic originates from a variety of sources, it’s not possible to stop the attack by simply blocking the traffic source.

Why Do You Need Website Vulnerability Scanning? 

Malicious users can easily take advantage of web vulnerabilities to steal data, jeopardize user identities, access confidential files or information, spam the site, inject codes, or even take over the server. 

Websites are attacked thousands of times per year; in fact, half of all website visitors are bots. If these attacks are successful, the damage they can inflict on a company’s reputation and financial standing can be massive. So, for every company maintaining a website or web application, understanding and preventing website vulnerabilities is critical. 

Periodic web vulnerability testing will enable you to repair your security weaknesses before cyber attackers get the chance to exploit them.

How a Website Vulnerability Scanner Works

The website vulnerability scanning process typically works in the following manner:

  • The scanner crawls the entire site, usually from the outside. It scans every web page and files it can find.
  • After crawling the website, the vulnerability scanning program performs automated checks for common or known web vulnerabilities. It does this by performing a series of pseudo-attacks and then analyzing the results.

What to Look for in a Website Vulnerability Scanner 

Here are a few essential qualities that you should look for in a website vulnerability scanner:

  • It can crawl and analyze a website regardless of technologies (e.g., PHP, ASP, and ASP.NET).
  • It’s fast enough to scan large websites.
  • It should produce an easy-to-understand report, complete with actionable items that should help in resolving any found vulnerabilities.

With a Zeguro Cyber Safety® subscription, you get access to our Monitoring solution, which performs automated web app vulnerability scans. Choose between lightning and normal scan levels and a monthly or quarterly cadence. Once scans are completed, you’ll get clear, actionable results. You can download an OWASP or PCI scan report, both of which prioritize vulnerabilities based on criticality, and include evidence showing where each vulnerability exists along with a set of suggested fixes. Get a 30-day free trial of our Cyber Safety solution and protect your business against web-based attacks today.

Zeguro is a cyber safety solution and insurance provider for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), offering a comprehensive suite of tools for risk mitigation and compliance, as well as insurance premiums that are tailored to the size, sector and profile of a company.
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Ellen Zhang
Written by

Ellen Zhang

Digital Marketing Manager

Enthusiastic and passionate cybersecurity marketer. Short-story writer. Lover of karaoke.

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