How to Find Network Vulnerabilities? A Rookie Guide
Updated on June 28, 2022 | by Louise Simon
A vulnerability is a technical defect or a shortcoming in the system that a cybercriminal could exploit to gain unauthorized entry and illegal access to sensitive data and transactions. Network vulnerabilities compromise the security and safety of the company and its customers.
Cyber-resilience experts at Bloo Solutions, a Springfield-managed IT services company, opine that the vulnerability or defect in network systems may be due to flawed design and error-prone procedures. Defective network construction, laxity in operations, or shortcomings in network maintenance add to the vulnerabilities.
The term vulnerability refers to the weakness in the hardware and software that exposes the company to a cyber attack. Risk refers to the potential in vulnerabilities to inflict financial pain, physical damage, or asset destruction.
Also, Read: 7 Steps to Data and Network Security
Five Network Vulnerabilities That Compromise Systems Security and Data Safety
Weak Password Protection Protocols
It’s commonplace for hackers to employ brute-force methods to crack open systems vulnerabilities and weak passwords open the floodgates to sensitive data. After repeated failures, locking the system and prolonging the login attempts adds a more muscular protection layer.
Unencrypted, Unsecured, Unprotected Data
When data is unencrypted, you make it easier for cybercriminals to steal sensitive information. Encryption becomes the ideal solution. Even if data is stolen, it’s difficult for hackers to make sense of unintelligible gibberish until they decode it.
Unpatched Software and Outdated Operating Systems
Unpatched software was the primary entry point for ransom attackers in 2021. Software vendors identify bugs in the system and write additional code to patch up the vulnerability. If the OS runs unpatched, you provide a fertile ground for attackers to run malicious codes that exploit weaknesses.
Open Ports and Services
Ports enable internet facing services and applications to allow communications between devices, a freedom that’s at the core of the net surfing experience. Sometimes the administrator might leave a port open unintentionally, or systems reconfiguration might do the same, and the change remains undetected.
Insecure Wireless Networks
Without a formal login or screening protocol, an insecure wireless network is an open invitation to an intruder within an approachable radius to capture and transmit sensitive data. The most common danger resulting from insecure networks is identity theft and financial fraud.
The Four Components of Network Vulnerability Assessment
Determining the Scope of the Assessment
The most critical stage is where a decision is made regarding the extent of the testing environment. The scope of testing requirements decides the kind of tools you deploy for vulnerability scanning and the company resources you need.
Moving to Data Collection
The assessment has to cover three broad areas, the network architecture (whether terrestrial-based or cloud-native), the devices that plug into the network, and OS base and systems configuration. Scanning will draw information from all three levels.
Analysis and Reporting Vulnerability and Risk
After scanning the network and collecting information regarding weaknesses, it’s time for automated vulnerability scanners to identify and record vulnerabilities. The findings come out as a report that analyses each vulnerability with its risk weightage and suggests remedial action.
Remediation as a Policy Intervention
Remedial measures involve the systems administrators, network coordinators, and company directors, as some significant interventions might require policy changes.
Best Practices That Prevent Network Disruption And Data Breaches
Getting third-party managed IT assistance in rooting out network vulnerabilities is essential because the IT architecture, systems, and procedures undergo professional vetting. The immediate takeaway of adopting network security practices is increased cyber-resilience and top-notch safety.
- When systems bugs are patched regularly, and software is upgraded promptly, the company is empowered to fend off cybercrime and protect its database.
- Strengthening passwords and passphrases and exercising greater control over administrative and employee access rights makes it more difficult for intruders to break systems.
- With so many employees working remotely through external devices in the post-pandemic scenario, two-factor authentication improves the security posture. The 2FA requires multiple channels to authenticate the user, such as using a password, entering OTP received on a mobile device, and biometric scanning to define features.
- Transforming readable data into its encrypted form gives data more robust protection against hacking. Even if the information is stolen, it’s difficult to decode the unidentifiable gibberish.
- A reconfiguration of Admin-level privileges and additional layers of protection in authorizing personnel to handle sensitive data prevents data from falling prey to hackers.
We learned that networks develop vulnerability issues, and there’s a systematic scanning protocol that detects and analyzes the vulnerability threat.
We understood that the scanning of vulnerabilities in the hardware and software of networking systems proceeds at various levels, tackling the challenges faced at each stage.
Finally, we realize that the scanning, researching, reporting, and remedying of vulnerability issues are intrinsic to the company’s cybersecurity and the safety of sensitive data.