Network Security Threats

How to Identify Network Security Threats and Vulnerabilities?

Today, network security threats are becoming more rampant. The efficiency of these threats cascading into full-blown attacks and consequent breaches hangs on the level of vulnerability of the organization’s network systems. Data protection and the data itself are significant considerations for organizations. Based on the openness of today’s software-based systems, using the correct security testing techniques is becoming more significant and critical to identifying and mitigating network security threats and vulnerabilities.

It is no secret that no system, device, website, or network, are above network security threats, risks, and vulnerabilities. Network security is a critical aspect of any organization, and it is possible to become careless with your security approach as time goes by. This is why there is a growing need for Certified Network Defenders.

Every business needs a Certified Network Defender that is capable of executing a thorough analysis, through specific techniques and technology that would be exclusive to each organization. EC-Council offers a number of certification programs in the field of Ethical Hacking, so your organizational data is as safe as possible from threats and potential malicious attacks.

What are network security threats?

A network security threat is an effort to obtain illegal admission to your organization’s network, to take your data without your knowledge, or execute other malicious pursuits. Your network security is at risk or vulnerable if or when there is a weakness or vulnerability within your computer network.

Some network security threats are intended to upset your organization’s processes and functionality instead of noiselessly collecting information for espionage or financial motives. With the extensive use and accessibility of the internet, comes the increase in all kinds of threats. The most prevalent technique is the Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

Having the essential mechanisms and tools to identify and categorize network security threats and irregularities in your system or network is critical. You don’t know the importance of a Certified Network Defender, until your computer network and other systems fall victim to an unidentified attack.

What is the difference between active and passive attacks?

There are two broad categories of network security attacks. They include passive and active attacks.

Active Attacks

In this type of attack, malicious hackers gain unsanctioned access to a computer system or network. They also make amendments to the data, either by encrypting, removing, or compromising it.

Passive Attacks

Here, malicious hackers obtain access to a computer network to steal and monitor delicate information. In this approach, attackers cannot make alterations to the data, so they usually leave it undamaged.

Thus, the main difference between passive and active attacks is that the attacker in an active attack can interrupt the transferred information with the aim of intercepting the connection and adjusting the information. However, in a passive attack, the attacker can only intercept the information to read or analyze it, without making any alterations to it.

What are network vulnerabilities?

Network vulnerabilities are known flaws or weaknesses in hardware, software, or other organizational assets, which can be exploited by attackers. When your network security is compromised by a threat, it can lead to a severe security breach. Most network security vulnerabilities are often abused by computerized attackers rather than human typing on your network.

For instance, when a significant member of your staff or IT security is laid off or resigns when you forget to change their login details, disable their contact with your nonphysical assets, or delete their usernames or user ID from your business credit cards, your organization becomes vulnerable to both planned and unplanned threats.

Testing your network security vulnerabilities is essential if you must enjoy constant security within your networks or systems. To find out more about how to secure your networks from vulnerabilities, sign-up for our bespoke Certified Network Defender program now!

What are the four main types of network security threats?

1. Structured threats

A structured threat is a more concentrated or organized form of attack executed by one or more perpetrators with savvy hacking proficiencies. The attackers actively work to cause a network or system breach to a known victim. The intended network might have been specifically selected or identified through some random search approach.

The motives for a structured attack include political or racial motives, ransom or extortion, personal motives, or state-motivated attacks. The major drive is that the assaults are not causally linked to the hacker.

2. Unstructured threats

An unstructured threat usually covers disorganized attacks on one or more unknown networks, by amateurs or attackers with restrictive skills. The motives for these attacks are often boredom or people with unscrupulous intent. The intent may or may not be malicious, but there’s always an insensibility to the ensuing impacts.

3. External threats

An external threat is a form of attack executed by perpetrators outside the organization, usually through dial-up access or the Internet. These malicious hackers often don’t have permission to traverse these networks.

4. Internal threats

An internal threat stems from perpetrators who have had contact with authorized access to a network or those with knowledgeable insight about the system network. Internal attacks are significant both in the size and number of losses. This type of attack is executed by unsatisfied, disgruntled, or employees who still have active access.

If vindictive employees can pilfer company money and assets, what’s stopping them from learning about how to hack your network or computer for malicious motives? With a Certified Network Defender training and certifications, you can easily identify and mitigate network security threats.

What is the difference between a threat, vulnerability, and risk?

Correctly grasping the differences among these security factors will assist you in becoming more successful in crafting an effective strategy for identifying potential network security threats, discover and resolve your vulnerability issues, and also mitigate possible risks.

We’ve defined network security threats and vulnerabilities earlier in this article. However, we are yet to define security risks. Network risks are the possible damages or loss your organization can suffer when a threat abuses a vulnerability. Risk can be so severe that you suffer reputational damage, financial losses, legal consequences, loss of privacy, reputational damage, or even loss of life.

To understand the differences among these security components, let us use the COVID-19 pandemic as a guide. The COVID-19 is an external threat that is beyond your control. However, the series of epidemics that have occurred and knowing that a natural disaster can happen to anyone can assist organizations with evaluating their flaws and weaknesses as well as formulating a plan to mitigate such impacts.

The vulnerability here would be a lack of an effective incidence response plan, a business continuity plan (BCP), or an effective network security policy. This would help your organization in case your nonphysical assets are affected, such as employee performance, finances, remote operations, and so on. The potential risk for your organization would be the loss of valuable information and data or a disturbance in your business operation because you did not address your vulnerability issues.

What is the most common cause of network security threats?

Regardless of the type of network security threat, there are different motives for executing network attacks and they are often malicious. Individuals, businesses, and nations have different reasons for executing an attack. The most common are hacktivism, extortion, cyber warfare, business feuds, and personal reasons.

The most common network security threats are Computer viruses, Computer worms, Trojan horse, SQL injection attack, DOS and DDOS attack, Rootkit, Rogue security software, Phishing, Adware and spyware, and Man-in-the-middle attacks. Computer viruses are the most common network threats for everyday internet users, with approximately 33% of PCs being affected by malware, most of which are viruses.

How do you identify network security threats?

If you want to defend your network security effectively, you need a Certified Network Defender that can properly identify and mitigate the vulnerabilities within your network.

1. Enable your network visibility

The first step for preparing your network defender and other members of your security team to identify network threats and vulnerabilities is to enable your whole network visibility. The only way you can detect a threat is when it is visible. You can use the existing structures on your network devices to achieve visibility.

You can also design a strategic network diagram to exemplify your packet flows and the possible places where you can activate security procedures that will identify, categorize, and alleviate the threat.

2. Set up computer and network access

You need to construct your computer and network access to control who can access your network and the level of access they can have. Not every user should be given access to the whole network. Your network security policies will determine the appropriate ways to protect treasured assets, evaluate potential risks, lessen vulnerability channels, and craft a recovery plan in case of an incident.

3. Firewall configuration 

Setting up a network firewall thwarts unauthorized access and internet-based attacks from dispersing into your computer networks. Your network firewall oversees the flow of computer data traffic permitted to traverse your network. They can also obstruct reconnaissance assaults, including IP scanning or port sweeps. Your internal firewall can restrict this, but you need to configure it.

4. Limit access to updates and installations

Malicious hackers can penetrate your computer network through out-of-date software for antivirus, operating systems, device drivers, firmware, and other endpoint mechanisms. Access control in network security is critical. Network defenders can mitigate the risk of random assaults by restricting the number of people who can install or update software. Your IT team should only be allowed to activate updates and installations only via their admin access.

About CND: Certified Network Defender

The Certified Network Defender (CND) is a certification program that creates savvy network administrators who are well-trained in identifying, defending, responding, and mitigating all network-related vulnerabilities and attacks. The CND certification program involves hands-on labs constructed through notable network security software, tools, and techniques that will provide the certified network administrator with real-world and up-to-date proficiencies about network security technologies and operations. Click here for more information on EC-Council’s CND program.

Similar Reads: 

What Is Network Security? Types of Network Security
How Cloud Solutions Can Transform Network Security
4 Foolproof Tips to Maintain Network Security
From Network Administrator to Network Security Officer (CND)
5 Steps to Ensure Network Security
The Role of Network Security in a Cybersecurity Team

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