Vulnerability researchers are experts at identifying malware and assessing its damage on a network. These professionals are typically former hackers who now perform ethical hacking and penetration testing. Vulnerability researchers are somewhat different from penetration testers because they stay up-to-date with the latest malware and immediately take precautions to patch network systems.

Job Description: What Does a Vulnerability Researcher Do?

Vulnerability researchers find security threats and identify if these threats could affect internal systems. They also find any vulnerability that could affect cloud applications publically available to the Internet. Threats could even be internal where some users installed viruses on their computers. Most big software companies offer bulletins and announcements when a vulnerability is found. A vulnerability researcher stays up-to-date with these announcements and quickly patches firmware, software, and any operating systems to avoid cyber threats.

Vulnerability Researcher Job Responsibilities and Duties

Vulnerability researchers have several responsibilities that revolve around the IT security industry. New vulnerabilities are released every day, so it’s a dynamic role that requires constant attention. Penetration testers and vulnerability researchers work closely together to protect the network from malware.

Some other vulnerability research responsibilities include:

  • Identify possible exploits in company web applications
  • Perform vulnerability tests and assessments for networking and server software
  • Audit the network for any vulnerabilities including desktop audits
  • Use penetration testing tools and automate security audits
  • Create vulnerability tests and scripts in addition to using common scripts
  • Modify custom scripts to test for any new vulnerabilities in the wild
  • Validate current security assessments and audits
  • Create reports and analyze trends in security and malware
  • Document vulnerabilities and provide risk assessment
  • Train current and future staff for best security practices
  • Maintain a security database for other employees to reference

These responsibilities are a general job description, but most companies have their own policies and procedures for security testing. Some vulnerability researchers are responsible for identifying flaws in current security policies and making suggestions for changes to key management.

In some cases, a security researcher is an outside consultant that manages his own procedures but must document policies for business clients.