Top 8 Tools that Will Bolster Network Security in 2017| By |Justin Kemp

Have you updated your network security for 2017? If not, it’s time to take a look at the new tools available that can help you prevent viruses, malware, and hackers from attacking your network. Hackers are creating new weapons of cyber-terrorism every day, which means you have to continually update your own arsenal in order to prevent them from harming your network. Here are eight new tools that you may want to add to your computer security toolkit this year in order to protect your business, your employees, and your customers from hacking.

1) Wireshark

Wireshark, previously called Ethereal, is a packet sniffer or packe t analyzer. This program is an open-source, free program that your network engineer will want to have in his or her toolkit. Wireshark has a number of different uses. It can help analyze and troubleshoot network issues as well as assist in developing communication protocols and different network software. It will show you what’s happening with your network at any given time. If you think someone is using your network that shouldn’t be, Wireshark will find them.

2) Nessus

The Nessus Remote Security Scanner allows your IT team to scan computers remotely for security vulnerabilities. You’ll receive a detailed list of any vulnerabilities that hackers could make use of to access your computer. Nessus is free to use, although it is no longer open-source. Today, it’s one of the top vulnerability scanners, and for a good reason. While there are many network security tips for handling malware and hackers in your system, the biggest and best tip is to never let them in. That’s what Nessus helps you achieve.

3) Nmap

Nmap is a network mapping tool that scans your network by looking at the IP packets being sent. It can then determine the hosts that are being used on the network and the type of information that the applications on it are using. Nmap will provide you with information about the different operating systems in use on the network, the firewalls in place, and other information about these different computers. It’s a great tool for determining who is working with your network and what kind of security risk they may represent. It’s a free tool, too.

4) Zenmap

Zenmap is a GUI interface for Nmap. This tool creates a visual representation of your network. By clicking on the different devices connected to it, you’ll be able to see information about each. It’s one of the few security tools that was created with the beginner in mind, so you don’t have to be an IT expert to use it. However, it includes many different features that advanced users will enjoy having. It even includes a database of past scan results that can easily be searched.

5) Snort.org

Snort is an intruder prevention and detection program that can be used to see who is on your network at any given time. It’s free to use, but it’s a tool that some don’t think to include in their toolkit. Snort is capable of monitoring the network in real-time, though, so no scan is required. Instead, as soon as it detects a user acting suspiciously or sees an unauthorized account on the network, it alerts you and blocks that account.

6) Aircrack-ng

You might find it odd that Aircrack-ng is included on this list. It’s actually a password cracker. It can be used to crack through a network’s WEP or WPA-PSK WiFi keys. This type of attack is often used by hackers to break into your network. Aircrack-ng uses FMS attacks and several other types of hacking scenarios to determine exactly how strong your passwords are. By using tools that real hackers may use against you, you can see exactly how your security will hold up when it comes under attack.

This is a great way of doing an audit of your current system. If Aircrack-ng can blast through your WiFi passwords in a matter of minutes, it means your wireless network has very weak authentication and security. You’ll want to keep working on your protection until this tool isn’t able to break your passwords.

7) Root the Box

Root the Box may seem like another odd choice for inclusion on a list of small business security tools. That’s because it’s not a tool, it’s a game. However, it’s a game that is helpful for all IT security professionals. It teaches the skills needed to get into a computer’s root directory, crack passwords, and in general how to think and act like a hacker. The idea behind this game is to learn how hackers think. By simulating what it’s like to be a hacker, professionals can get an idea how to protect against them.

The point of the game is to scan other networks and exploit anything possible in order to claim boxes. Each box loses value each time it’s claimed, so teams want to be the first to hack each box in order to score the most points. Learning to think like a hacker can teach IT professionals where and how to protect against attacks rather than simply throwing up every firewall and other protective program possible. Blanket protections like that are often much less effective than using specific defenses aimed at blocking certain types of attacks.

8) John the Ripper

Another type of password cracker is John the Ripper. Like Aircrack.ng, John the Ripper can be used to attack many different operating systems, including Windows, Unix, and iOS. By using this program on your own operating system, you’ll see exactly what’s vulnerable due to weak passwords and can take steps to correct these vulnerabilities.

Many companies have some of their IT department act as hackers and attack the network to see how the rest of the IT staff and the system itself respond. Using John the Ripper can be a part of one of these security tests.

By implementing these eight tools, you’ll be able to better secure your network by monitoring, mapping, and testing your own defenses.

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