By Tiffany Rowe – Content Creator at Seek Visibility,
Yes, your computers and servers are where your data is saved; yes, mobile and IoT devices sure are vulnerable; but your network is where you should be devoting most of your security’s attention.
Your network is far more valuable than any individual endpoint, regardless of how much precious data is stored in a single space. With unlimited network access, a black-hat hacker can run wild, taking data, changing credentials and even launching other attacks on your business or other organizations. If you aren’t convinced, here are a few of the worst things that can happen to unprotected networks – and if you finally see the light, you’ll find some strategies for staying network secure down below.
Your Worst Dreams Come True
Network attacks come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Some network attacks are initiated through successful phishing attempts; others are launched by disgruntled employees. Here are some of the trendiest network attacks of the past few years, so you can better understand what your network is up against:
Brute Force Attacks. Perhaps the most laborious form of infiltration, brute force attacks utilize trial and error to guess passcodes and gain access to networks. Usually, hackers write software to execute this form of attack, and because software is becoming more complex – even gaining artificial intelligence – brute force attacks might become more common in coming years.
Browser Attacks. Because browsers are the most common way to access the web, they make for effective vectors for attack. Hackers compromise vulnerable websites, so web visitors unknowingly contract viruses when navigating to certain sites. That malware provides hackers with a way into a network, where they can wreak further havoc.
Web Attacks. Similar to browser attacks, web attacks entail compromising web applications and databases with malicious code. Cross-site scripting, SQL injection and path traversal are the most common methods of executing web attacks.
DDoS Attacks. DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service. This occurs when a network is overwhelmed by traffic such that systems slow so much as to be unusable or else crash altogether. As you might expect, your business won’t be productive during this time. Worse, DDoS attacks are sometimes used to distract from other types of network attacks.
Worm Attacks. Unlike most forms of malware, which require users to click, download or otherwise interact with malicious files, worms can spread on their own.
Typically, they exploit vulnerabilities in operating systems or software; for example, the WannaCry ransomware of 2017 was a worm that took advantage of a Windows exploit called EternalBlue. Worms provide hackers backdoors to networks and can cause their own damage as they pass through.
Physical Attacks. Though hackers might prefer remote attacks for their anonymity and global accessibility, physical attacks tend to be faster and more effective. A stolen laptop, a corrupted USB drive and similar tools are used to gain network control in physical attacks.
Four Steps to Network Security
Though no two security breaches are identical, you can efficiently and effectively protect yourself against all network attacks. The following four steps should keep your business network and data safe – as long as you repeat the steps regularly to update your security as necessary.
Implement. There is a variety of network security solutions that can keep your network protected, so you should research your options and choose the system that meets your needs. Additionally, you should consider adopting a corporate security policy, which will hold employees accountable for insecure behavior on the network.
Analyze. Immediately after you implement a new security solution, you should analyze the performance of your network and the effectiveness of your security. You might contract the services of an infosec firm if you can’t rely on an in-house security team.
Test. In regular intervals, you should perform tests on your network security to ensure it remains strong against potential threats. Some penetration tests you can find online include Metasploit, Wireshark, Nexpose, Nipper and W3AF. Again, if you aren’t well-versed in information security, you might consider hiring a professional.
Modify. As threats evolve, so too must your network security. If your current systems fail any analyses or tests, you must modify your security strategy to resolve vulnerabilities and build stronger defenses. Because you can’t set and forget security, you should become comfortable with the concept of modification to your business network.