As news of major hacks and data breaches continues to fill the news on a daily basis, firms are looking for new ways to secure their networks. They need industrial strength tools to protect internal financial data, intellectual property, consumer payment info, banking data, social security numbers, passwords and much more.
Unfortunately, scammers and hackers are constantly innovating on this front. For that reason, network security tools also must constantly evolve. Whether it is sniffers, detectors, crackers or other tools, they are all constantly being improved. There are a few tools which are particularly important:
The first rule to understanding how to protect your network is to know everything that is on it. The main description of this tool is an open source multi-platform network protocol analyzer. It takes all of the real-time data of the network and turns it into actionable information. Wireshark allows network admins to actually understand data down to the packet level of detail.
The tool has rich display and allows teams to actually reconstruct TCP sessions. That means they will truly understand the steps taken by hackers or unauthorized users. It supports many protocols and media types so virtually any popular protocol will work.
Penetration testing is now one of the core functions to protect a network. This concept revolves around team of engineers attacking a network to exploit its vulnerabilities and deliver malicious viruses. Of course, teams undergo this test in order to find holes and fix the network. They do not actually want to damage it.
For this reason, Metasploit was developed. This software runs a test environment that allows penetration testers to virtually attack a network to find its holes. It is an open source tool that easily allows payloads, encoders, no-op generators, and exploits to be lodged into a virtual network without any real damage. While it is free, an easier to use commercial version through Rapid7 is available.
Wifi networks are becoming a key point of failure for many companies. Of course, the most important thing to secure is the office network. If this is breached from hackers that are physically nearby, it could result in loss of critical data very quickly. Network devices must also be secure when they are roaming and using external wifi networks.
Aircrack-ng is used as a tool to test and secure wifi networks, particularly relating to WEP and WPA cracking. This software has dozens of discrete functions including description, packet injection and packet capture.
One resource that network admins often need is to read and write on TCP or UDP connections. Netcat allows this functionality either directly or in collaboration with external scripts. It allows for debugging and exploration of the connections as well.
Similar to Wireshark, this is an excellent network sniffer that identifies all of the data on your network. It easily aggregates the information and allows engineers to study the network traffic, user information and any unauthorized users.
TCPdump is not as intuitive or easy to use as Wireshark. On the other hand, it has shown to be more secure itself with less ability to manipulate.
This software is like a trip wire and alarm system for network administrators. It can actually be described as a network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system all in one.
Kismet is good at finding IP blocks through sniffing of TCP, UDP, ARP, and DHCP. For this reason, Kismet is an excellent way to find cloaked IP networks.
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