5 Cyber Security Tools To Help You Find Hidden Threats

Hidden Threats: Tools

Our increasingly networked world provides awesome opportunities for productivity and efficiency in organizations. Yet, those same systems are vulnerable to bad actors intent on stealing data and disrupting organizations.

Here are some Cyber Security Tools you need to be able to stay secure and fight back.

Firewall

Firewalls have been around forever.

In fact, if there’s one security tool you likely have; it’s this one.

Its job is simple: prevent unauthorized access to your system.

Firewalls work by monitoring network traffic and connection attempts through your network before determining whether to allow a packet can pass freely.

That said, firewalls have their limitations. They can’t, for instance, catch malware that makes it’s a way onto your system because a user succumbed to a phishing attack (or the like).

Newer firewalls, however, are becoming more sophisticated. Many (dubbed “Next-Generation Firewall”s (NGFW)) offer deep packet inspection and application-level traffic inspection, in addition to intrusion prevention.

Still, the migration towards more cloud-based applications and integrations is pushing more firewall solutions into the cloud. For example, Barracuda has discontinued it’s NGFW in favor of a cloud-based solution.

Tools

There are a variety of popular firewall options for mid-to-large sized organizations. Some of these include:

Antivirus Tools

Antivirus tools, like firewalls, have been around for a long time. These tools are designed to alert you to a virus or malware infection on a given machine, scan incoming email attachments and links to make sure they aren’t infected, and quarantine viruses that they discover. In the event they find malware, they will remove them.

Tools

There is no shortage of antivirus software out there. Some of the most popular include:

  • Avast Antivirus – More than antivirus, this software acts as a firewall, web shield, anti-spam filter, and more.
  • Bitdefender Endpoint Security – Bitdefender’s widely recognized nextgen endpoint security protection platform features a suite of tools including anti-virus, ransomware protection, and more.
  • Kaspersky’s Endpoint Security for Business Suite – Kaspersky’s suite provides next-gen protection, automatic rollback (in the event of an attack), and an easy-to-use management consoles. All from one of the original companies in the cybersecurity industry.

Penetration Testing Tools

Some hackers are bad. Others are helpful.

The helpful ones use a variety to tools to carry out what’s known as penetration testing on a company’s IT infrastructure. The goal of this testing is to identify vulnerabilities before the bad hackers do.

You may choose to run penetration tests on:

  • Specific applications: Are the applications vulnerable to Cross Site Scripting? Injection Flaws? Weak Session Management? Something else?
  • The network: Are there configuration files improperly configured? Maybe with default or weak passwords?
  • IoT/Device penetration testing: Are there weak passwords or vulnerabilities in the APIs underlying your connected devices?

Penetration testing should be a part of every cybersecurity arsenal and may involve a series of steps:

Planning & Recon

During this phase, test goals are identified, including which systems are going to be tested and how. For instance, if you’re testing an application, you might decide which facet of it you want to target.

Vulnerability Analysis

During this phase, you aim to understand how the target application will respond to various intrusion attempts. You’re looking for flaws in the system that can be exploited. Often, this involves using a mix of off-the-shelf tools and custom code.

Exploitation

A simulated attack is carried out and access is used to steal data, change permissions, intercept traffic, or the like. The goal is to understand what is at risk when an attack occurs.

Newer firewalls, however, are becoming more sophisticated. Many (dubbed “Next-Generation Firewall”s (NGFW)) offer deep packet inspection and application-level traffic inspection, in addition to intrusion prevention.

Analysis

After the exploitation is carried out, the value of the compromise id determined. The aim is to figure out how substantial the risk is to the organization.

Reporting

Based on the simulated attack & analysis, a report is compiled detailing priorities for fixes and patches.

Tools

Penetration testing can be carried out with a variety of off-the-shelf and proprietary tools. Some of the more popular tools for penetration testing include:

  • Metasploit – According to their website, Metasploit is the most used penetation-testing framework. It’s a collaboration of the open-source community and Rapid7 and boasts a large database of exploits available to put your organization to the test.
  • Nmap – A free, open-source tool designed for vulnerability scanning and network discovery, this tools is considered the defacto standard for port scanning and network mapping. It sends packets to system ports, listens for responses, and then determines whether the ports are open, closed, or filtered (e.g., via a firewall).
  • Wireshark – Another free and open-source packet analyzer, this tool is used for network analysis and troubleshooting. Their claim ot fame is that it allows you to see what’s happening on your network at a deep level.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

You’ve probably seen the little padlock in the top of a browser bar when surfing the net. That “lock” means the connection to the server is encrypted, adding a layer of security that wouldn’t be there but for PKI technology.

But while most are familiar with the public-facing aspect of PKI technology via the browser bar, the technology can also be used to encrypt connections on internal networks as well.

For instance, it can be used to enable multi-factor authentication and access control, encrypt email communication (mitigating phishing attempts), authenticating endpoints in an IoT environment, and more.

SIEM

While preventative efforts, such as [user education training] and using some of the tools mentioned above are helpful, they often aren’t enough.

A [good SIEM] aggregates information from every layer of you security stack, including your firewall and system logs to identify discrepancies that may indicate a breach.

If you’re working with a managed SIEM, then when such a discrepancy is discovered, the logs are reviewed, false positives eliminated, and a gameplan for moving forward put forth.

Your SIEM & SOC team serve as the brain of your cybersecurity operation; gathering information from the entirety of the system, parsing it, prioritizing it, and then directing action accordingly.

To learn how our SIEM & SOC team can help to protect your organization, reach out for a complimentary assessment of your IT Infrastructure.

About the Author

Jason Miller

Jason Miller

Jason is a Chief Executive Officer of BitLyft Cyber Security. He has spent the last 19 years of his career focusing on network, system administration, and cloud technologies. He is passionate about helping businesses embrace the next generation of technology including cloud adoption and high performance scaling software.

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