Benefits of credentialed scans

Neda Ali
Reviewed by
Sooraj V Nair
Published on
25 Jun 2023
6 min read

Are your web applications truly secure?

With the ever-increasing complexity and sophistication of cyber threats, ensuring the security of your applications is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. And that’s where you’ll realize the benefits of credentialed scans.

Authentications have undergone significant changes over the years, driven by advancements in technology and the need for enhanced security. From the basic authentication (HTTP) to the most advanced authentication methods, the process of verifying the identity of a user has taken the next level of technological change.

Authenticated scanning plays a crucial role in the modern world, particularly in the context of application security.

But why should this matter to you? Simple.

Authenticated scanning lets your security professionals assess if crucial security configurations, such as secure communication protocols, encryption settings, and password complexity requirements, are correctly implemented.

It helps to keep your applications, and your data, safe from prying eyes and malicious intent. This could mean the difference between a minor security alert and a major breach that impacts your business operations and reputation.

Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of credentialed scans and explore why it should be part of your security strategy.

What is credentialed scanning?

A scan that leverages an asset’s login credentials to gain deeper access to the asset’s data is known as credentialed canning.

Utilizing vulnerability scanning tools, the entered login credentials permit the scanner to authenticate during testing. Imagine the scanner stepping into the shoes of an authorized user, thereby enabling an exhaustive and precise evaluation of potential security vulnerabilities.

This approach gives a deeper visibility as well as the detection of vulnerabilities that may not be visible through regular unauthenticated scans.

Credentialed scanning is a vital practice that goes beyond traditional vulnerability assessments. By leveraging valid user credentials, this technique provides a holistic view of application vulnerabilities, uncovers hidden risks, and validates security controls.

Now, let’s unravel the 4 key reasons why credentialed scans should be your go-to choice for bolstering application security.

Benefits of credentialed scans: 4 reasons why you should be using them

The use of credentials during scanning has expanded the scope of security analysis. Here are four most compelling benefits that truly highlight why you should be using credential scanning.

1. Comprehensive testing

Credentialed scans take a deep dive into your applications, revealing weak configurations, overlooked updates, and dormant vulnerabilities.

It does more than just strengthen your security—it fortifies it.

By providing privileged access, credentialed scanning affords an unrivaled view of the security posture of web applications, promoting a safer digital environment.

The results? An exhaustive inspection of your application’s components, configurations, and behaviors that uncovers vulnerabilities often missed by regular unauthenticated scans.

2. Precise & accurate results

The use of valid user credentials in a scan drastically enhances its precision.

With credentialed scans, you get more than a superficial understanding; you get an accurate and clear view of your system’s vulnerabilities.

This process mimics the access of an authorized user, allowing the scanner to explore the application’s components and configurations in detail, thereby identifying hidden or less obvious vulnerabilities.

More importantly, credentialed scanning enables the simulation of specific user scenarios, significantly improving the accuracy of vulnerability detection. The result is a detailed, comprehensive assessment that far surpasses the scope of uncredentialed scans, leading to improved security outcomes.

3. Compliance audits

Many industries and regulatory frameworks require organizations to conduct credentialed scans as part of their security compliance measures.

By performing authenticated scans, organizations can demonstrate compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Credentialed canning helps identify vulnerabilities that may otherwise go undetected during compliance audits, ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive data.

It does more than just meet compliance demands—it provides peace of mind in the face of increasingly stringent regulatory environments.

4. Find the privileged user vulnerabilities

Credentialed scanning can find privileged user vulnerabilities by simulating the actions and access of privileged users within the web application.

This in-depth review helps uncover potential security flaws related to elevated permissions, administrative controls, and access to sensitive data.

Moreover, credentialed scans excel at detecting misconfigurations or lapses in access control that could lead to unauthorized access or privilege escalation, thereby boosting your system’s overall security profile.

Are credentialed scans safe?

The answer largely depends on how responsibly it’s carried out and the due authorization processes it’s subjected to.

The scan should follow appropriate protocols and adhere to any legal or ethical requirements. It is always recommended to conduct credentialed scans in a non-production environment, such as a test or staging environment, rather than directly on the live or operational application.

This minimizes the potential impact on the application’s availability, integrity, and performance. A few points to be remembered while you go for a credentialed scan:

  1. Credentialed scans should only be conducted with explicit permission from the owner or administrator of the application which means the authorization and consent is very important in this scanning process.

  2. The credentials used for scanning should be securely stored, transmitted, and handled.

  3. It is crucial to handle the data with care, ensuring compliance with data protection and privacy regulations.

The value of credential scanning cannot be underestimated.

Thanks to its superior access to application assets—yet within a controlled environment—it can shed light on asset details that might remain elusive during non-credentialed scans.

Beagle Security for credentialed scans

Beagle Security transcends a vulnerability scan by providing in-depth and fully automated penetration tests. As a G2 Leader in Web & API Security, Beagle Security places a strong emphasis on conducting penetration tests in a safe and authorized manner.

Whether it be staging or live environments, Beagle Security offers the flexibility to conduct comprehensive authenticated penetration tests. With support for multiple authentication types, Beagle Security’s AI test engine is capable of authenticating 2FA enabled logins to more complex authentications that traditional vulnerability scanners usually struggle with.

You can either use recorded login, provide the login credentials or allow Beagle Security’s AI engine to sign up for an account on its own.

Try out Beagle Security for your authenticated testing needs by signing up for an account or book a demo today!

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Written by
Neda Ali
Neda Ali
Product Marketing Specialist
Sooraj V Nair
Sooraj V Nair
Cyber Security Engineer
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