10 Network Security Vulnerabilities and How to Mitigate Them

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As businesses continue to shift their operations online and more employees work remotely, the risk of network security vulnerabilities increases dramatically. In fact, a staggering 86.2% of all cyber attacks against organizations in 2021 were successful . That means that either data or money (or both) were successfully stolen from companies with little to no recourse for the attacker.

Clearly, ensuring you’ve patched your network vulnerabilities is more important to the ongoing security of your entire business than ever before.

But, if you’re not a computer expert and don’t even know where to start when it comes to protecting your computer networks from malicious actors, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this blog post, we will list and describe the top 10 network security vulnerabilities that businesses face today. And, to top it all off, each cyber security vulnerability listed will be accompanied by a description of how a business can prevent or mitigate the threat. 

But first, a quick explanation about cyber threats and vulnerabilities .

What Are Network and Cyber Vulnerabilities, Exactly?

Network and cyber vulnerabilities are weaknesses or flaws in an organization’s system architecture, software, or hardware that can be exploited by a malicious actor. 

These exploitations often result in data being stolen or corrupted, and they can cost companies millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The Top 10 Types of Vulnerabilities in Network Security Businesses are Facing Today

To help you better defend against the myriad ways in which experienced cyber criminals might gain unauthorized access to your systems (by way of a security breach or some other nefarious means), here are the 10 most common types of network security threats and vulnerabilities you should keep top of mind, as a business owner with valuable data to lose.

1. Unpatched Software & Hardware

Unpatched software and hardware is one of the most common vulnerabilities businesses face today. 

When a business fails to keep its systems up-to-date with the latest security patches, it becomes vulnerable to exploits that leverage known flaws in the system. This leaves sensitive data open to attack by malicious actors who can easily steal or corrupt it. 

One valuable method you can use to prevent this network vulnerability from causing you undue harm, is by regularly performing a vulnerability scan to try and pinpoint any potential issues surrounding unpatched software, hardware and web applications .

2. Open Ports & Weak Passwords

Every device connected to a network should have password protection associated with it, and all ports should be securely closed unless they are actively being used for legitimate purposes.

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If either of these things are left unchecked, an attacker can gain access to your system without much difficulty.

Having penetration testing performed can help you identify if there are any weak passwords in use at your organization. This is an important network vulnerability to close, as strong passwords are very much the first line of defense against various types of attacks in network security .

3. Inadequate Firewall Security

The purpose of a firewall is to provide an extra layer of security between a business’s internal networks and the public internet. However, if a firewall isn’t properly configured or updated, it won’t be able to protect your network from external attacks.

Ensure you’re not playing host to any misconfigured firewalls (and the subsequent security risks they would pose) by having an experienced managed IT services provider perform a thorough analysis of your cyber security posture.

4. Poorly Configured Network Devices

If a business fails to properly configure its network devices with the right settings and protocols, they are essentially creating an open door for attackers to exploit. These devices must be secured correctly in order to prevent unauthorized access by malicious actors .

Once again, the best person to perform this task is usually an experienced IT professional or managed IT service provider .

5. Outdated Operating Systems

Network Security Vulnerabilities

As new versions of operating systems become available, older versions may no longer receive the updates necessary to protect them against newly discovered vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to update their operating systems in a timely manner, leaving them open to attack.

Be sure you’re keeping airtight track of any new updates that become available for the operating systems your network uses, and be sure to apply the upgrade unanimously across every device on your network (including any mobile devices that are used to access sensitive information or log onto the VPN).

6. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

If a business doesn’t secure its wireless networks with strong encryption or password protection protocols, it makes it much easier for attackers to gain access to the company’s internal networks and resources without any authentication.

The solution for this is quite simple. Just ensure you’ve got both encryption and password protection set up for your company Wi-Fi.

7. Unencrypted Data

When data isn’t encrypted, attackers can easily steal or corrupt it without being detected . To protect against this type of attack, businesses should ensure that all their sensitive data is encrypted when stored on devices or transmitted over the network.

Setting up data encryption across your entire organization could be a daunting task (based on the size of your company) and as such, may be a task better suited to IT professionals.

8. Social Engineering Attacks

Even with all the technical security measures in place, humans are still the weakest link when it comes to security. Social engineering attacks take advantage of this by leveraging psychological tricks to gain access to confidential information or networks that would otherwise be inaccessible.

To prevent this from affecting your business’ operations, be sure to implement employee cyber security awareness training at least once a year to try and stave off the worst damage human error may cause you.

9. Malware

Malware is malicious software specifically designed to exploit vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and steal their data. In order to protect against malware, businesses should ensure they have up-to-date antivirus software installed on all their devices and regularly scan for malicious activity.

Having an IT professional or a qualified managed IT services provider makes this consideration a simple matter, as they can spearhead updating software and scanning the system for malware infections.

10. Insufficient Network Monitoring

Network monitoring is a vital component of any cyber security strategy as it allows organizations to detect suspicious activity and take action before a major attack occurs. Without adequate network monitoring, attackers can easily go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Almost always, this will be something best handled by IT experts who not only know what they’re doing, but also have the systems in place (such as SOCs and SIEMs) to competently manage the considerable task of 24/7 network monitoring.

By taking the right steps to address these common vulnerabilities, businesses can significantly reduce their risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime. Ensuring all software and hardware is up-to-date with the latest security patches, properly configuring network devices, and regularly monitoring for suspicious activity are all essential steps to ensure a secure network.

Why Are These Common Network Vulnerabilities Being Exploited More Frequently Today?

Network Security Vulnerabilities

Many network vulnerabilities are being exploited more frequently today due to the rise of sophisticated cyber criminals and the availability of exploit kits on dark web marketplaces.

The fact that businesses are increasingly reliant on technology means that attackers have access to a greater range of attack vectors than ever before. Additionally, many organizations lack the necessary resources or training to properly secure their networks, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

Finally, criminals can now utilize automated tools and scripts to quickly identify and take advantage of common network security flaws with minimal effort. All this combined makes it easier for attackers to successfully exploit these common network vulnerabilities .

Shoring Up Your Information Cyber Security Vulnerabilities With Help From an Expert MSP

Types of Vulnerabilities in Network Security

KDIT’s security solutions help businesses identify and mitigate information security vulnerabilities with a comprehensive approach that includes:

  • Network assessments to identify any existing or potential weaknesses in the system.
  • Implementation of appropriate security measures to protect against unauthorized access.
  • Training staff on best practices for preventing data breaches.
  • Regular monitoring and reporting to ensure security protocols are being followed.

By working with KDIT, businesses can effectively address their network vulnerabilities and ensure their sensitive information is protected from malicious actors. With our team of experts at your side, you can have peace of mind knowing that your networks are secure and your data is safe.

Talk to us today and set up a free consultation where we can identify your unique business IT needs together.