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Scanning Types in Cybersecurity

Published on Feb 22 2023

The more cybersecurity is innovating and expanding, the more advanced cybercriminals become in their tactics for exploiting
network vulnerabilities. 

Thus, it becomes critical for cyber security teams to implement efficient scanning techniques to identify and mitigate potential threats. 

In this article, we will explore different types of scanning technics and their role in safeguarding the networks. 

What is Scanning? 

Scanning is a set of procedures of examining and identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and devices. 

The main goal of launching a scanning process is to understand the target system and to collect information about open ports, services, and applications running on the system. Based on this information, companies can take timely and effective remediation measures to reduce their exposure to cyber threats. 

Scanning Types in Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity professionals use different types of scanning techniques. These scans, each with a specific purpose and methodology, are described below. 

  • Network Scanning: Network scanning is a fundamental technique to detect rogue devices connected to a network and identify any active network-based threats or vulnerabilities. This method analyzes packets as they traverse the network and examines all network traffic simultaneously, enabling the detection of malicious activity or devices that deviate from regular traffic. 
  • Port Scanning: Port scanning is a technique used to determine the operating systems and applications running on specific ports within a network. This scan primarily aims to identify the operating systems in use. In addition, it also provides insight into the applications running and any vulnerabilities they may possess. 
  • Vulnerability Scanning: Vulnerability scanning, also called brute force scanning, is used to evaluate the security of a system or network based on certain vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanning works by searching for specific common vulnerabilities within systems and signatures of security tools and applications. 
  • Malware Scanning: Malware scanning is a technique to detect known malware that may be active within a network before it can cause harm to the network. It is accomplished by identifying malicious software and maintaining records for quick identification if it reappears on the network in the future. Antivirus software typically performs malware scanning by searching for the signature or behavior patterns of known malware. 
  • Penetration Testing: Penetration testing, or "pen test," is a controlled simulated cyber-attack on the company's systems. It is a comprehensive technique that includes all the above methods we mentioned about. The goal is to identify any points of weakness in advance so that they can be addressed and prevented before cyber criminals will exploit it. Penetration testing can also be automated to perform continuous cybersecurity checks across multiple levels and report back to demonstrate what is wrong. 

Read also: Penetration Testing: Is It Enough for Cybersecurity? 


Security scanners reveal vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in computer systems, networks, and devices. Companies should establish procedures to ensure that any scanning effort is identified instantly, and that appropriate action is taken. As a result, it will become exponentially more challenging for cyber criminals to conduct a reconnaissance against a company and exploit it. 

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