Security Audit

Top 5 Network Security Testing Tools Explained

Published on: December 16, 2021

Top 5 Network Security Testing Tools Explained

Network security is a common term that every business owner or company uses. The reason why it is used is that it is a necessity. It is necessary because you may be putting yourself at risk if your network isn’t secure. So what is network security, and what does it mean to your business? When you hear the term network security, you may think of your employees keeping an eye on your network 24/7 to identify and prevent any attack but that’s not just it.

Network security testing tools are one of the best ways to prevent and analyze network layer attacks. They are commonly used to identify vulnerabilities in both wired and wireless networks. Network security testing tools aim to avoid unauthorized access and network-level attacks.

What is Network Security Testing?

Network Security Testing (NST) is an essential part of the security process as it ensures that all systems and resources accessible from outside the organization are safe. It is recommended to do regularly scheduled network security testing to keep up with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. 

Network security testing, also known as network penetration testing, is a process of testing an organization’s network security protocols and systems to find vulnerabilities that malicious actors can exploit. While there are many types of penetration testing, such as vulnerability scanning, functional testing, and IDS/IPS testing, most of them focus on finding flaws in the security of the overall infrastructure.

Reading Guide: Network Security Audits

Why is Network Security Testing important?

Network security testing enable organizations to keep abreast of the latest security threats and vulnerabilities. An audited network helps organizations determine their current security posture and build a plan for the next stage of network security. Network security is a continuous process and not a one-time project.

Network security testing is performed to determine whether a network is vulnerable to attacks from the internet or even from the internal network. This testing includes a review of all network infrastructure and systems accessible from the internet. 

The main goal of network security testing is to determine the level of risk that exists on the network. This testing is crucial because it can prevent the risk of your company’s data and systems being compromised.

Understanding Network Security Testing Tools

Network security testing tools are automated tools that scan the network for security vulnerabilities. Before you can understand network security testing tools, you need to understand network vulnerabilities. Network vulnerabilities are holes in a network that can cause an attack. Attackers can exploit these holes in the network to gain access to your computer or any other computer on the web.

Network security testing tools provide a comprehensive view of the security posture of your network. Modern network security testing tools come with various features to help network administrators identify anomalies and potential security issues and monitor and track network security across multiple locations. There is more to it than just protecting the perimeter regarding network security, network security testing tools can also protect your internal network against external threats.

Benefits of Network Security Testing Tools

Network security testing tools are an essential part of information security plan. Network security testing tools are used to perform security testing on a network to identify and prevent security risks in the networks. The results of the tests are analyzed to find any holes in the safety and to point out weaknesses in the existing security system. These security tools have proven to be very helpful in the network testing process.

Also, network security testing tools can increase IT security and keep data safe by identifying the weaknesses in a company’s network and pointing out the necessary improvements. Network security testing tools can also identify potential threats and recommend immediate action to prevent potential problems.

Benefits of Network Security Testing Tools
Image: Benefits of Network Security Testing Tools

5 Different techniques used to perform Network Security Testing

1. Network Scanning

The Network scanner is a potent tool to scan a network and get information about the network. The network scanning tool can monitor the network, identify the hosts connected to the network, identify the services running on the network like FTP, HTTP, POP3, and SMTP. The Network scanner also identifies the operating system running on the host and the version of the operating system.

2. Vulnerability Scanning

Vulnerability scanning is a network security process that detects and analyzes flaws in computers and computer systems and reports the information to administrators. This information helps plan security patches or upgrades. It can also help in determining the security status of a network.

Vulnerability scanners have been around for a long time. Still, they have been made more effective by using sophisticated techniques, such as fuzzing, and they are now considered an essential tool in supporting compliance with regulatory standards.

3. Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking is the practice of testing a computer system, network, or web application to find security weaknesses (holes) before a malicious hacker does. It is the surface area testing of a system, network, or web application. Ethical hacking aims to find security weaknesses before a malicious hacker does.

4. Password Cracking

Password cracking is of two types:

Dictionary Attack: This method uses a dictionary (a word list) to crack passwords. The word list has all the possible passwords. So the computer compares the password given by the user to the word list to find out the matching password.

Brute Force Attack: This method uses an automatic program to crack passwords. The program tries all possible combinations of characters until it finds the correct password. Brute force attack is a time-consuming process.

5. Penetration Testing

Penetration testing evaluates computer security by simulating an active attack on a computer system or network. Penetration testing is typically performed by ethical hackers, also known as white hat hackers, or by security professionals attempting to determine the extent of damage or risk before an actual attack.

Penetration testing differs from vulnerability scanning and compliance auditing in that the primary aim of penetration testing is to exploit potential vulnerabilities in a given target. In contrast, vulnerability scanning and compliance auditing are more passive tests.

Top 5 Network Security Testing Tools

Network security is the one of the biggest concern of any business. Cybercriminals are constantly working on new ways of breaching network security and stealing valuable information, which is why network security testing tools are becoming common. You need to be thorough in your network security testing and find vulnerabilities in networks before hackers do. There are a lot of tools out there for network security testing, but some of the best are listed below.

1. Astra Security

Astra’s Network Security Solution is a unique product of Astra Security, a comprehensive security assessment of your network that can help you find and fix security risks. Astra’s solution is a solution that helps you to identify the security gaps in your network and helps you in plugging the holes. 

The Astra Network Security Solution is the most comprehensive solution to perform a complete network security assessment. The solution scans and checks your network to identify the network devices, network ports, and network protocols to find out the vulnerabilities in your network and help you fix the vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

2. NMAP

Network Mapper, or Nmap, is an open-source utility for network exploration, security auditing, and network discovery. It was designed to rapidly scan large networks, although it works fine against single hosts. 

Nmap uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics. 

While Nmap was developed for UNIX-based operating systems, it also runs on Windows, and there are also versions available for most other major operating systems.

3. Wireshark

Wireshark is a free and open-source packet analyzer. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. Wireshark can be used to capture and interactively browse the contents of network traffic. 

Wireshark is also commonly used to analyze data from a trace file, generally in the form of a pcap (the file format of libpcap). Wireshark has a GUI and comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

4. OpenVAS

OpenVAS is a vulnerability scanner that can perform a complete vulnerability scan of the network infrastructure. OpenVAS is an international project that is used by many organizations all over the world. It is available for free and can be used with commercial products.

OpenVAS tool is owned by Greenbone and the paid solution is called Greenbone Security feed while the free one is called Greenbone Community feed

5. Metasploit

The Metasploit Project is a computer security project that provides information about security vulnerabilities and aids in penetration testing and IDS signature development. It is open-source, free, and available to the public. 

The project provides information about security vulnerabilities used by penetration testers during security audits and network administrators to ensure the correct configuration of the network’s devices.

How much does a Network Security Testing Tools Cost?

Network security testing tools can be costly, and it depends on the tools you are using and the number of networks you are scanning and a lot more factors which are usually discussed before signing a contract. A network security scan should be conducted at least twice a year to check the network’s security and make sure it is secure against threats. On an average, the cost usually ranges from $500 to $2500 per network scan.

3 things to know before buying a Network Security Testing Tool

With the number of different network security testing tools available, businesses are faced with a bewildering number of choices when it comes to selecting the best network security testing solution, and keeping that in mind, we have prepared a list of a few things to keep in a while buying a network security testing tool.

1. Ease to use and Friendly UI

One of the critical factors for organizations to choose a network security testing tool is the ease of use. Simple interface and easy-to-follow instructions are always appreciated. Even the most advanced tools are rendered useless when the user does not know how to use them. A good tool will have an easy-to-use interface, step-by-step instructions, and a detailed user guide.

2. Comprehensive scan report

Understanding the threats against your business is crucial when it comes to risk management. A comprehensive security testing report is essential to keeping your business safe. A comprehensive security testing report can uncover high-risk vulnerabilities, help you better understand your network, and help achieve compliance.

3. Updated with Latest Vulnerabilities

No automated security testing tool is perfect. Hackers are constantly finding and releasing new vulnerabilities. An automated network security testing tool should have an updated database of security vulnerabilities so that no vulnerability is left unnoticed.

Astra’s Pentest Solution: All in one Security Solution

No matter how big or small your company is, hiring a pentesting vendor to protect your network and applications is vital. Hiring a good pen testing solution will not only protect your business but your data as well. Astra Security is an excellent solution for your business. 

Astra Security has been in the industry for many years now; it offers multiple pen testing solutions, including Network, Web, API, Blockchain, and Cloud penetration testing.

The Astra Penetration Testing Solution is a “Next Generation” Penetration Testing software used by thousands of organizations worldwide. Astra’s pentest solution is well-known for its excellent vulnerability scanner with more than 3000 tests, making it a perfect choice for penetration testing.

Have a sneak peek at Astra’s Dashboard.

Image: Astra’s Automated Scanner

Conclusion

Network security testing is a vital part of the information security management process. It involves testing the security of an organization’s network infrastructure, applications, systems, and services to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by a malicious individual, hacker, or group. Various organizations use network security testing tools to keep their network secure from hackers. Secure your network too before it’s too late. Get in touch with Astra today.

Want to know more or have a quick question? Talk with our engineers!

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FAQ’s

1. What is Network Security Testing?

Network security testing identifies security vulnerabilities in the network by using software applications and tools designed to detect and protect the network from malicious attacks.

2. What are Network Security Testing Tools?

Network security testing tools are automated tools that scan the network for security vulnerabilities. Modern network security testing tools have various features to help network administrators identify anomalies and potential security issues and monitor and track network security across multiple locations.

3. Is it legal to scan any for Network for security risks?

The question about the legality of port scanning is quite frequent. The law is quite clear about it: you can not scan any network without the owner’s permission legally.

4. Can Astra help me with Network Security Testing?

Astra’s network security testing service is a top-notch way to improve your security, and we can even help you out if you’re just getting started. We have the tools and experience to find vulnerabilities and help you implement security to make sure your network stays safe. It’s time to get proactive and keep your business safe.

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Jinson Varghese

Jinson Varghese Behanan is an Information Security Analyst at Astra. Passionate about Cybersecurity from a young age, Jinson completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Security from Northumbria University. When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, he spends his time reading InfoSec materials, playing basketball, learning French and traveling. You can follow him on Medium or visit his Website for more stories about the various Security Audits he does and the crazy vulnerabilities he finds.
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