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Network Security Vulnerabilites

What Is Network Security Vulnerability?

Network security vulnerability is a broad category of flaws, potential exploits, and weaknesses in system hardware, software, administration, and organizational policies or processes.

Network security vulnerability assessment is of critical concern to enterprises because a virus or malware may penetrate the system and infect the entire network. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) may also use exploits to spread to any connected networks or devices, creating significant harm.

A full system network security review includes an audit of network security and preparing a vulnerability threat table to organize the assessment of risks.

IT departments and cyber security professionals are constantly on the lookout for network security threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks, especially from sophisticated, state-sponsored bad actors. Network security vulnerabilities may be physical or non-physical.

Physical

Protection of physical systems includes data center security and preventing intruders' unauthorized access. Server rooms need to be locked tight and under 24-hour surveillance. Entry should be monitored using biometrics scanners. Access must be highly-controlled and only granted to parties that have a certified need to enter the facility.

Non-Physical

Non-physical threats are any vulnerabilities in data storage, data processing, and software applications.

3 Types of Network Security Vulnerabilities

At the highest level, network security vulnerabilities may be separated into three broad categories of hardware issues, software issues, and human security issues.

Hardware-Based Network Security Vulnerability

Any device connected to a network poses a security risk if managed improperly. Hackers who gain unauthorized access to a physical device can easily install malicious software code on it by downloading the software to the device or using a USB thumb drive.

Criminals are clever. Some mailed USB drives to targets as free "gifts." When these USB drives are used, they automatically install malware that allows network penetration.

Any device that leaves a secured premise is vulnerable to theft. Mobile devices need strong password protection and encryption to protect sensitive data.

Other hardware vulnerabilities include firewalls, Wi-Fi routers, IoT devices, and employees' use of unauthorized devices.

Software-Based Network Security Vulnerability

Software vulnerabilities include operating systems and applications. Software may not be updated or contain bugs with security holes. Application plug-ins, downloadable apps, and add-ons for content management systems are especially vulnerable.

Employees' use of unauthorized software creates a security risk. For example, something seemingly innocent as downloading the Chinese spyware called Tik Tok, which is masquerading as a social media app, may make an entire network vulnerable. The Chairman of the FCC, Brendan Carr, called for a complete ban of TikTok. This software should never be used in any enterprise setting.

Human-based Network Security Vulnerability

Human security issues are the most prevalent as hackers frequently gain unauthorized access to network systems using these methods. Access may be obtained through trickery and techniques of human engineering, such as phishing with fake emails to obtain login credentials.

How Do Network Security Vulnerabilities Impact Businesses?

A study of corporate information systems that scanned over 3,500 hosts, including network devices, servers, and workstations, found high-risk vulnerabilities in 84% of the companies. The study found that one or more hosts with high-risk vulnerabilities and a publicly available exploit were present in the networks of 58% of the companies.

Enterprise problems may come from malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, unpatched software, misconfiguration errors, weak passwords, application security, a malicious insider, and zero-day vulnerabilities.

Publicly available exploits exist online for 10% of the found vulnerabilities. These exploits do not require any programming skills to use them. Half of the vulnerabilities could be eliminated by simply installing updated software.

How To Identify Network Security Vulnerabilities To Mitigate Security Risks Proactively?

Proactive efforts to identify security risks include:

  • Conducting regular security audits
  • Network traffic monitoring
  • Tracking trends using threat intelligence data
  • Penetration testing
  • Authorized permission management
  • Using extensive firewalls

Network Security Vulnerabilities: Paradigm Shift From Detect And-Respond To Prioritize-And-Prevent

Network security used to be based on detecting vulnerabilities and planning emergency responses to mitigate the damage of a data breach. This strategy is no longer sufficient. The evolution of managing network security vulnerabilities has changed from detecting and responding to prioritizing and preventing.

Third-party and technology supply chain risks dominated 2021. For example, a significant new threat called Log4j affected hundreds of millions of devices. Log4j is used in many consumer and enterprise services applications and websites to log security and performance. Threat actors can exploit this vulnerability to take control of a system.

Solarwinds was another digital supply chain attack in 2021. This attack inserted malicious software code into trusted third-party software affecting up to 18,000 organizations worldwide.

There is record-breaking growth in new vulnerabilities, and enterprises must now take proactive steps to defend their networks.

8 Best Practices To Prevent Network Security Vulnerability / Enhancing Cybersecurity Measures To Prevent Network Security Vulnerabilities

Here are some of the best practices that organizations can use to ensure protection from the risk of advanced persistent threats and avoid security breaches:

  1. Install all security patches and update software regularly.
  2. Use strong passwords.
  3. Use multi-factor authentication, including biometrics, for authorized access.
  4. Encrypt data.
  5. Have robust user access control to secure confidential data.
  6. Monitor all network access and activity 24/7.
  7. Use network security solutions such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection, zero-trust network security, and DDoS mitigation.
  8. Conduct regular security audits for network vulnerability and penetration testing.

Vulnerability Management - Market Growth, Trends Over The Next 8 Years

The security and vulnerability management market had a value of $13.8 billion in 2021. This value is projected to reach $18.2 billion by 2026. The industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10% until 2026. After that, the CAGR will continue at 9% until 2030.

This market growth comes from the challenge companies in all industries face in preventing serious security breaches.

Cyber security professionals are tasked with the need to proactively stay ahead of the persistent risks by leveraging new technological solutions that guard against cyber-attacks and protect confidential data.

Forbes reports on five trends, which are:

  • Vulnerability Prioritization: This trend is risk-based vulnerability management using automation, machine learning, and AI to predict which vulnerabilities cybercriminals may exploit with malware or a targeted attack.
  • Asset Protection of Critical Paths:  Vulnerability management must prioritize protecting critical data and processes.
  • Contextual Risks and Environmental Controls: These controls are now more than best practices and have become a core vendor requirement.
  • Vulnerability Management Requires Change: The goals are to reduce remediation efforts, reduce risk, decrease data noise, improve automation, and gain real-time insights.
  • Vulnerability and Configuration Management Converge: Configuration management is a subset of vulnerability management. Solutions are becoming stack agnostic with the ability to analyze vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, then prioritize them according to their risks and impact on the businesses.

How Fortinet Can Help?

Fortinet offers solutions for enterprises, small businesses, and service providers.

Count on Fortinet to help with common network security vulnerabilities and misconfiguration problems with specialized Fortinet solutions such as malware, antivirus, social engineering attacks, and firewall/operating system misconfigurations.

FAQ

What are the three types of network service vulnerabilities?

At the highest level, network security vulnerabilities may be separated into three broad categories of hardware issues, software issues, and human security issues.

What causes network vulnerabilities?

Network security vulnerability is a broad category of flaws, potential exploits, and weaknesses in system hardware, software, administration, and organizational policies or processes. Enterprise problems may come from malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, unpatched software, misconfiguration errors, weak passwords, application security, a malicious insider, and zero-day vulnerabilities.

How is a network vulnerable to threats?

Any device connected to a network poses a hardware-based security risk if managed improperly. Hardware vulnerabilities include firewalls, Wi-Fi routers, IoT devices, and employees' use of unauthorized devices.

Software vulnerabilities include operating systems and applications. Software may not be updated or contain bugs with security holes. Application plug-ins, downloadable apps, and add-ons for content management systems are especially vulnerable.

Human security issues are the most prevalent as hackers frequently gain unauthorized access to systems using these methods. Access may be obtained through trickery and human engineering techniques, such as phishing with fake emails to obtain login credentials.