Network Penetration Testing

Network penetration tests are one of the four main types of penetration testing, along with application, physical, and IoT/Mobile tests. The objective of this test is to identify vulnerability exploits in your networks, systems, hosts, and other network devices – including routers, servers, and firewalls.

In the world of cyber security, network penetration tests are the most common form of penetration test that companies perform. This is because your networks are the most likely area of attack by a hacker. Your sensitive data and control of systems are all linked to your networks, so it is crucial that you consistently test your defenses.

Why Pentest Your Network?

The purpose of network penetration testing is to identify real-world vulnerabilities that attackers could possibly use to exploit and infiltrate your network. These vulnerabilities are further analyzed and then remedied to avoid an actual network compromise. Data has never been more easily accessible than it is in the modern world. This is why having a thorough understanding of your network is so important. Said knowledge will help prevent devastating network penetrations from busting your system.

Even one successful attack on a vector could mean certain doom for your company. A hacker inside your network will have the ability to move laterally within your organization to escalate their privileges until they have credentials to achieve their goal. A network penetration test will identify likely vectors so you may defend against these attacks and maintain peace on your network.

Common Attack Vectors for Network Penetration Tests

These are some of the most common attack vectors that individuals try to exploit when attempting to break into your company network:

Phishing Attack

One of the easiest ways for an individual to break into a network is a phishing scheme. This is done by enticing someone with network privileges via a message or email that leads them to an infected website or downloads an infected document onto their device. These attacks will allow the attacker an easy breach into the network and allow them to further compromise the network.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack

A DDoS attack works to overwhelm a company network with unwanted traffic so its system resources cannot respond to service requests in a timely manner, usually resulting in a crash. DDoS attacks are carried out by a large collection of infected devices (a botnet) that works together as a unified disruption vessel. This type of attack usually doesn’t provide the hacker with any gain or access to data, but it can shut down large systems and hurt your company tremendously.

Man in the Middle (MitM) Attack

Another extremely popular tactic for infiltrating a network is a Man in the Middle attack. This is done when a hacker inserts itself in communications between a client and a server. A successful MitM attack is performed by disconnecting the client from the server, using IP address spoofing to pose as the client, and then gaining access to the network server.

Tips to Protect Your Network From Attacks

While performing penetration tests is both necessary and important for your network, there are more ways to maximize your security defenses. Here are some of the most important tips to protect your company from an attack:

Install anti-virus and anti-malware software and make sure it is up to date.

Having a strong and up to date anti-virus software should protect you from many of the large vulnerabilities your network has. This will create a “backbone” for your network and make sure no device is exposed to an attacker.

Establish network use standards

Making sure employees know how they should operate on the network, and more importantly, how they shouldn’t be is key for maximizing your security. Social engineering and user error are some of the most common ways attackers infiltrate a system, so educating your employees on network use standards is crucial.

Disable network connections when they are not in use

This step is all about limiting the number of attack vectors hackers have to target. Disabling network connections from dormant connections makes sure you only use what you need and don’t stretch your network thin. This way your cyber security team can focus on keeping active connections safe.

Encrypt data at rest

Encrypting data is done to ensure important and confidential data stored “at rest” is safe from compromise. Encrypting this data should mean that even if an attacker gets their hands on your data, they won’t be able to decrypt it for personal gain.

Limit the number of users with network access and admin privileges

The more users that have elevated administrative privileges on your network, the more likely a successful attack is. Limiting the number of total users on your network and the number of individuals with admin privileges will limit the vulnerability of your network against a targeted attack and the number of attack vectors for a hacker.

Check Out Our Latest Posts