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Monday, May 23, 2005

Your Five Biggest Network Vulnerabilities

Key to securing your network is knowing where the biggest holes are and how to plug them.  Information Week give you the lowdown on your five biggest network vulnerabilities.

To some extent, that’s the nature of the Internet beast; if you have a door open to the world, then it’s inevitable that someone will try to open it up.  Dan Ingevalson, the director of professional security services at Internet Security Systems, says that enterprises have gotten better at managing security vulnerabilities, but the increasing complexity of networks and network-borne applications make perfect protection impossible.  Having said that, some open doors are bigger and more common than others.

Network edge devices: Though well-publicized, worms and viruses continue to be a common and, to some extent, under-appreciated network threat says Yankee Group senior analyst Jim Slaby.  “We haven’t seen a really big, really pervasive worm like Blaster or Slammer in some time, but they are waiting in the wings,” he says.  “Signature defenses only work against things that you’ve seen before, or someone has seen before you, and they proliferate quickly.”  Although the high-profile worms of the last years have trained network security personnel to respond quickly and apply patches diligently, penetration tests still find perimeter holes—- big, gaping holes, according to Curphey.  One company left a particularly flagrant open door to its networked printers, despite locking down every other process with a virtual private network (VPN).  “The reasoning was that people could print without having to deal with the VPN,” Curphey says.

Web servers and Web applications: The Web is usually the meeting point between the enterprise and the outside world, and it is here that many organizations leave themselves vulnerable.  “Attacks have typically moved up into the application layer, and that’s one of the hardest things to protect against because there’s no one-size fits all solution.
Unprotected mobile and off-site endpoints: Even with the edgdevices and Web servers locked up, one of the most common oversights is the vulnerabilities that organizations bring inside their networks. 

Wireless networks: None of this is helped by the increasing prevalence of wireless networks.

Voice over IP: For all of the potential points of attack on enterprise networks, it’s sobering to think that the technological push for Voice over IP [VoIP] has added one more.

Posted on 05/23