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Common Network Security Vulnerabilities In 2021

Examples and Tips

By Abdul Majid QureshiPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 years ago 9 min read
Security Vulnerabilities

What is Network Security Vulnerabilities?

A Network Security Vulnerabilities is a hardware, software, or organizational process failure or defect that can breach security when compromised by a threat.

Non-physical Network Security Vulnerabilities generally include software or data. In contrast, the physical network security vulnerabilities include physical asset protection, including trapping the server to a rack cupboard or securing a turnstile entry point.

The physical vulnerabilities include an asset's physical security, such as locking a server into a rack closet or securing a turnstile entry point.

Servers have some of the most robust physical security controls because they expertise and competence in data and commercial secrets or perform a revenue-generating feature such as a web server that hosts an eCommerce site. Servers should be secured with biometric scanners, customizable access cards and mostly stored in off-site datacenters or storage places.

A vulnerability risk evaluation is carried out before investing in security inspections to measure the equipment's cost and appropriate failure and operation. As in cybersecurity, it is a compromise between resources and functionality that offers the most realistic solutions.

Different Types Of Network Security Vulnerabilities

Network Security Vulnerabilities are present in many different ways, but the most common are:

  1. Malware: Short for malicious apps and software, such as Trojans, viruses, and worms installed on a user's or a host server.
  2. Social engineering attacks: make users fool to give up personal data such as a username or password.
  3. Outdated, corrupt, or unpatched software exposes the applications' systems and probably the entire network.
  4. Misconfigured operating systems and Firewalls: permit or have default policies allowed.

When evaluating the overall safety status of your networks, your network security team must address these factors.

If left unchecked, these Network Security Vulnerabilities will lead to further attacks, including a DoS or DDoS attack, which can breakdown the network or block people from accessing it.

1. Malware (Malicious apps and Software)


Malware is a malicious program that you buy, download, or install inadvertently. The use of malware to exploit the Network Security Vulnerabilities increases, reaching 813.33 million infected all-time high in 2018.

Malware infected systems will have symptoms like running slowly, sending user-free emails, random boot-up, or beginning unknown processes.

The most prevalent malware types include:

  1. Viruses
  2. Keyloggers
  3. Worms
  4. Trojans
  5. Ransomware
  6. Logic Bombs
  7. Bots/Botnets
  8. Adware & Spyware
  9. Rootkits

Malware is typically deployed via phishing emails. In short, actors interested in threats send emails to staff with links to websites or incorporate attachments into the email itself. If a precaution is taken by clicking the connection or by installing the attachment, the malicious code is executed, and you are infringed.

1. Viruses

The most popular type of malware attack is a virus. To infect a virus, a user needs to click or copy it to a media or host. Most viruses reproduce themselves without the user's knowledge. These viruses can be expanded by email, instant messages, website updates, removable media (USB), and network connections from one device to another.

Some file types are more likely to be corrupted by viruses – doc/docx,.exe, .html,.xls/.xlsx,.zip. Viruses are usually inactive until they have spread to a network or several devices before the payload is delivered.

2. Keyloggers

Keylogging, or capturing keyboards, records a user's keystrokes and sends threat actor info. Users generally do not know that their acts are tracked. Although employers who use keyloggers to monitor employee activities use cases, they are primarily used to steal passwords or sensitive information. Keyloggers may be a physical wire discreetly attached to or mounted by a Trojan peripheral such as a keyboard.

3. Worms

A worm can also self-replicate and spread complete copies and segments of itself through network connections, email attachments, and instant messages, similar to a virus. However, unlike viruses, a worm does not have to run, replicate and spread a host program. Worms are typically used against email servers, web servers, and servers of databases. When infected, worms spread rapidly across the internet and computer networks.

4. Trojan Horses

Trojan horse programs are malware dressed up as legitimate applications. Until it's called, a Trojan horse program can hide on your computer. When enabled, Trojans will spy on your threatening actors, steal your sensitive data and access your device backdoor.

Trojans are typically downloaded through email attachments, downloads of websites, and instant messages. Social engineering techniques are typically used to make users load and execute Trojans. Unlike computer viruses and worms, Trojans cannot reproduce themselves.

5. Crypto-Malware Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware designed to prevent users from accessing their devices or refuse access to data unless a ransom is paid. Crypto-Malware is ransomware which encrypts user files and requires payment in due time and often in a digital currency such as Bitcoin.

Attacks of Ransomware can have a devastating effect. The current estimates of the Baltimore ransomware attack, for example, are up to 18 million dollars in damages. Like viruses, worms, and Trojans, ransomware is distributed via email attachments, downloads of websites, and instant messages. There is no certainty that the payment would give your files/data access, and the recovery process can be complicated and costly.

6. Logic Bombs

Logic bombs are a malware category that will only be enabled, such as on a particular date/time or the 25th account login. Viruses and worms also contain logical bombs to provide payload (malicious code) when another requirement is met.

The harm caused by logic bombs varies between modifying data bytes and rendering hard drives unreadable. The most popular types of logic bombs can be detected while running antivirus software. However, before they do, logical bombs can sleep on a device for weeks, months, or years.

7. Bots/Botnets

A botnet, short for Robot Network, is a group of bots linked to a network with a security constraint. They are usually remotely controlled.

The Mirai botnet controls the internet of connected devices (IoT) such as your DVR, home printer, and Smart devices by entering a default username and password. Via large quantities of data sent to a website hosting company, the threat actors implemented a DDoS attack, which resulted in several prominent websites being taken offline.

8. Spyware & Adware

Both adware and spyware are undesirable applications. Adware is designed for viewing advertising in a web browser on displays. It usually is secretly installed in the background when you download a program without your permission or awareness. Adware can be irritating to the consumer though harmless.

On the other hand, spyware is a form of malware designed to access your computer and harm it. Spyware gathers user information such as preferences, browsing history, and information about personal identity (PII). Attackers then sell your data to marketers or data providers, extract information from your bank account or rob your identification. Spyware is frequently downloaded from file sharing sites or a software kit.

9. Rootkits

Rootkits are a backdoor program that allows an actor in danger to access and control a computer without the user knowing it. This access can lead to complete control of the targeted device. The controller can then log data, spy on the user's use, perform files, and remotely alter device configurations.

Although historically implemented with Trojan horse attacks, trusted applications are becoming more popular. Some antivirus software can detect rootkits, but they are hard to clean. In most instances, removing the rootkit and restoring the infected machine is safest.

2. Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks are becoming a common technique for threatening actors to circumvent authentication and authorization protocols and obtain network access quickly.

In the last five years, these attacks have dramatically developed into a lucrative market for hackers. Internal users usually pose the most significant safety threat to an organization because they are uneducated or unaware of the threat. Downloading an attachment accidentally or clicking on a connection to a malicious code website can cost thousands of damages.

The most common social engineering attacks include:

  1. Phishing emails
  2. Spear phishing
  3. Whaling
  4. Vishing
  5. Smishing
  6. Spam
  7. Pharming
  8. Tailgating
  9. Shoulder surfing
  10. Dumpster diving

3. Outdated, corrupt, or unpatched software

Software developers are continually launching new updates to repair bugs and vulnerability-reducing errors. Some apps have millions of code lines that render bugs an unavoidable part of device deployment. Developers then deploy software updates to fix these Network Security Vulnerabilities, although patches can also provide performance or functionality improvements.

Systems running Windows 7 after 14 January will pose a significant security risk to an organization's network. These operating systems should be upgraded to a new operating system such as Windows 10. Routine network vulnerability tests and audits are one way to detect and remediate identified Network Security Vulnerabilities.

Maintaining code protection is a war underway, with big corporations including Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft launching updates every day to protect themselves against common cyber attacks. Software and hardware providers also announce the end of life dates (EOL). These legacy products are mostly gainless and cost-effective to help (software developers).

Misconfigured operating systems and Firewalls


One of the most significant risks to an enterprise is Internet exposure to the internet network or servers. When revealed, threats can easily spy on your traffic, steal data, or jeopardize your network.

What is the role of a firewall?

Firewalls are often installed in the demilitarized zone that acts as a firewall between the internet and your internal network. Firewalls are the front line of security, inbound and outbound traffic control, and whether traffic is permitted or blocked by various laws.

Network administrators create guidelines for the communication between incoming and exiting networks. The website traffic, for example, is sent via HTTP or HTTPS.

A firewall is often configured to allow traffic on the Web server from port 80 (HTTP) and port 443 (HTTPS). Firewalls that secure internal networks may then be set up to block the sending or receiving traffic in those ports.

However, not all traffic in a network should be permitted. For example, the ICMP is used to test the basic connectivity of network devices. This traffic is often blocked from a firewall and router because threat actors may submit a ping request to verify the link between the two systems to locate devices on a network.

If the firewall is not correctly configured to block this traffic, threatening actors may track or deploy a network attack. Finally, firewall penetration tests are carried out to verify the reliability of your security checks.

Configure default OS policies

Linux and Apple make up the three major operating systems used. More systems are currently based on Microsoft OS. With Microsoft, the default security settings of their device are allowed.

  1. Enforce password history stores the number of previous passwords used. The longer a password is used, the more susceptible it is to being compromised.
  2. Maximum password age defines how long the password remains in use before it expires. Experience tells us that users will never update their passwords unless they are forced to do so.
  3. Minimum password age determines the period of time (in days) that a password can be used before the system requires the user to change it.
  4. Minimum password length is self-explanatory. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack.
  5. Password complexity requirements include the use of special characters (!$&), numbers (123), and a mixture of upper case and lower case letters.
  6. Store passwords using reversible encryption means encrypting and storing passwords as well as being able to decrypt them.

Wrapping up

Network Security Vulnerabilities are often threatened as bad actors attempt to manipulate and access your company's infrastructure. The most significant threat for an enterprise and its users is malware and social engineering attacks. Outdated software also includes bugs not in the latest version, which pose a security risk. In the end, malfunctioned firewalls and default operating system policy settings pose a significant threat danger.

Source: Network Security Vulnerabilities


About the Creator

Abdul Majid Qureshi

Greetings, I’m Abdul Majid. I’m a writer living in Pakistan. I am working in tech journalism as a writer, editor and reviewer for over 4 years. I have reviewed many products ranging from smartphones, laptops, tablets to PC accessories.

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