Pen testing, a penetration test or ethical hacking, is an authorized simulated cyberattack against a computer system or network to detect exploitable vulnerabilities. It is a process of conducting security assessment and analyzing the progression of a cyberattack on an application or network. This special task aims to improvise the security system by finding malicious activities in the network’s security defenses.
Nmap or Network Mapper is an open-source utility for security auditing and network discovery that is available for free. It uses IP packets to identify the services or the hosts available on the networks of the computers by redirecting packets and evaluating the response. It determines the kind of services these hosts are offering, which operating systems these hosts are running, and other such characteristics. Nmap has the ability to adapt to the different conditions of the network such as latency, congestion during a scan, and so on.
This free-source utility actually began as a Linux utility which was later ported to operating systems like Windows, macOS, and BSD. Nmap is flexible, powerful, and well documented, because it supports dozens of advanced techniques for mapping out networks and is used to scan huge networks of machines.
Network discovery is a very common IT practice that allows computers and devices to find each other when they are on the same network. They look for the type of devices connected with the same network and the access points of those devices along with the interactions between them. Network discovery makes it easier for the hacker to detect these resources and gain unauthorized access to the user’s system.
The aggressive scan is a mode in Nmap that enables OS detection, traceroute, version detection, and script scanning. It has a special flag to perform aggressive detection, namely -A. It provides a lot of valuable host information than regular scans as it sends a lot more probes, but it can be easily detected. You can try aggressive detection with the command > Nmap -A scanme.nmap.org.
Wireshark is an open-source packet analyzer that is available for free and mainly used for analysis, system diagnosis, and application & communications protocol enhancement. Besides being a tool that has a cross-platform functionality, it also leverages an effective toolkit called the Qt widget in real-time for the user interface implementation, and also for pcap usage to the captured packets. Wireshark runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, Solaris, BSD, and other Unix-like operating systems.
Password hacking is done by the hacker when they attempt to crack secret login credentials to gain access to secured data of the user network. System administrators also use password hacking as a preventive tactic to protect the user network from attackers. Besides, it assists the user in easily tracking down hacked passwords to alter them for increased security. Password hacking is usually done through the Brute Force method and by Guessing.
Intrusion Detection Systems
An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a software application that monitors network or system traffic for malicious activities and generates immediate alerts when unusual activity is found. After finding the issue, a security operations center (SOC) analyst can carry out the investigation process to take the appropriate actions to remediate the threat.
How do the IDS work?
This monitoring application is either installed on a network or a system. It looks for the known attack signatures or abnormal deviations by continuously analyzing activity patterns. These irregular patterns are then sent for further investigation at the protocol and application layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model.
the IDS efficiently evaluates contaminated parts with the potential to impact your overall network performance, like DNS poisonings, malformed information packets, Xmas scans, and others. An IDS is placed out of the real-time communication band within the user’s network framework to work as a detection system.
What is the Function Of IDS?
The IDS works offline to identify violations and then sends an alert to an administrator when any vulnerability is found in the system or network. It also reports suspicious activity to a central repository called a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system. A SIEM then distinguishes these malicious activities from false alarms by combining alerts from multiple tools. The traffic sent to an IDS is a copy of live traffic that is generated by a SPAN port or network tap, that cannot be routed back into the trusted network. An IDS can be used to perform more complex analyses and investigations, as it performs at a line speed instead of live traffic
Intrusion Prevention Systems
An intrusion prevention system (IPS) is an advanced network security tool that continuously monitors a network for suspicious activity and takes necessary action to prevent it. IPS includes reporting, blocking, or dropping it when such activity occurs. It is quite similar to IDS but cannot takes any action against it, while IPS is included as a part of a next-generation firewall (NGFW) or Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution.
How do the IPS work?
IPS works with the three most important techniques to identify threats.
- Signature-based: In this method, IPS matches the activity to signatures of popular threats. Its biggest drawback is that this method can only recognize previous attacks, not the new ones.
- Anomaly-based: This method scans for suspicious behavior by comparing random samples of network activity with a baseline standard. It is a more effective method than the signature-based, but sometimes it produces false threats.
- Policy-based: It uses security policies set by the enterprise and blocks activity that violates those policies. An administrator set up and configure these security policies.
What is the Function of IPS?
IPS was designed to be deployed inline on the network, to work for the network firewall. Here firewall works effectively to identify traffic and move it toward the internal network. Then IPS comes to the rescue and checks for traffic violating specific rules or network policies. Once malicious traffic is found, the IPS then takes action against it and automatically blocks the traffic, logging the attack, and adding the source IP address to the block list. IPS also identifies port scans used by hackers to find a vulnerability in a specific network.