by January 9, 1999 0 comments

Quick Tips
  • Use software scanners to
    scan your network periodically. This way, you’ll find your network’s
    vulnerabilities before a cracker does.

  • To guard against sniffers,
    use protocols that can encrypt sensitive data traveling over the network.

  • Be careful of what you
    download from the Net, and make sure that the version of any program that you download
    actually exists.

  • Password crackers are a good
    start to check your system security. They will inform you of any weak passwords.

Everyday,
somewhere during the wee hours, someone is constantly trying out different techniques to
crack into some network. Is that network yours? If your company is connected to the Net or
has a Website (which it most probably does), then it could very well be your network
that’s under attack. If the thought of someone gaining access to sensitive data from
your system gives you nightmares, read on.

One of the ways to secure your network is to understand the various tools that crackers
use. Not only that, once you’ve understood how they work, you should get a couple of
these tools yourself and try them on your network. This will give you some idea of how
secure your network really is. So that adds another KRA for your system administrator!
This will also save you some of the costs of having someone from outside, like security
consultants, secure your network.

The most commonly-used tools for hacking into networks are scanners, sniffers, password
crackers, and trojans. All of them can be very dangerous, but they can prove to be a boon
too, if you use them to secure your network. Let’s take a look at what each of these
does.

Scanners

If you’re even slightly familiar with network security, then you would’ve
heard of the System Administrator’s Tool for Analyzing Networks, or SATAN. Once upon
a time, this used to be the most widely-used tool for getting into networks. SATAN is a
scanner.

Scanners are widely used to hack into networks. The biggest advantage of these programs
is that they can be operated remotely over the Net, or locally from within a network.
Scanners search for available networks or systems, and try to determine the services
running on them, for instance www, ftp, telnet, etc. Once this is done, these programs
scan these services, looking for holes in them. For example, checking whether a particular
ftp site allows anonymous logins. All that a cracker needs is access into your network.
Once he’s in, he might copy your password files and try to decrypt the passwords.

Use a scanner to scan your network periodically. This will enable you to find the
vulnerabilities of your network, before the cracker does.

Sniffers

A sniffer is a powerful program that can capture data packets of any protocol traveling
over the network, without anyone suspecting it. Sniffers have powerful filtering
capabilities to filter out unwanted data and can be set to capture any number of packets.
Network administrators often use them to analyze traffic conditions on their networks.

It’s very easy to place a sniffer on a network, and it doesn’t need a
high-end machine con

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