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Top Six Network Security Tools

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By: Nihad Hassan

August 23, 2021

Cyberattacks are increasing rapidly in terms of number and sophistication. According to Cyber Security Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime is projected to reach $10.05 trillion by 2025 annually. A cyberattack can have severe consequences on the affected business. The most significant impact is losing business reputation and customers' trust and losing revenue and sales without forgetting the massive fines imposed by regulatory compliance bodies such as the GDPR.

For most organizations, preventing a cyberattack or a data breach is near-impossible. Still, you can do many things to avoid such threats or even reduce their impacts by leveraging different security solutions. Network security tools are the most important in this context.

There are already many available tools to secure networks and prevent unauthorized access to protected resources, both commercial and open-source. This article will shed light on the most prominent six network security solutions to help organizations secure their networks and IT systems from the ever-growing number of cyberattacks.

Top six Network security tools

Wireshark

Wireshark is the most popular network protocol analyzer ever created; it is used widely by all organizations to analyze network traffic, from enterprises to non-profit, government agencies, and small organizations. Wireshark comes with rich features such as:

  • Analyzes hundreds of protocols, with new ones added every day.
  • Can do live analysis and offline capture for later analysis.
  • Supports multi-platforms such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and many UNIX-based systems.
  • Supports vast arrays of filters.
  • Captures and decomposes gzip files on the fly.
  • Inspects and readies captured data from Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC, ATM, Bluetooth, USB, Token Ring, Frame Relay, FDDI, and many more.
  • Can export outputs into XML, PostScript, CSV, or plain text.

Nessus

Nessus is the most popular vulnerability assessment solution used by major enterprises worldwide. Nessus comes with distinct features that make it stand out against other rivals (Already deployed by more than 30,000 organizations worldwide with two million downloads).

  • Has the industry's lowest false positive rate with six-sigma accuracy.
  • Has the broadest vulnerability coverage in the industry with more than 63K+ CVEs and increased daily.
  • Supports vast arrays of plugins; it releases about 100+ plugins each week.
  • Comes equipped with pre-built policies and templates. Nessus includes more than 450 compliance (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS) and configuration templates.
  • Produce customized reports in different formats - HTML, csv and nessus XML.

Argus

Argus (Audit Record Generation and Utilization System) is a popular open-source network analyzer. Major academic worldwide institutions already use it, and US national labs as a data source for Machine Learning enabled network anomaly detection. It aims to collect flow data from every device across an organization network, including cloud services and endpoints devices, to address different issues concerning network flow data like privacy, scale, performance, and utility.

Nmap (Network Mapper)

Nmap is an open-source tool for network discovery and security auditing. Network administrators utilize it to conduct various security and auditing tasks such as network inventory, manage service upgrade schedules, find live hosts on a network, perform port scanning, and monitor host or service uptime. It utilizes the IP packets method to discover all devices connected on the network, along with their running services, installed operating system, and its version, in addition to discovering the type of packet filters/firewalls already in use. This mapper was designed for large-scale enterprise networks, but it can also scan single hosts. Nmap supports all major computer operating systems: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

OSSEC

OSSEC is an open-source HIDS program that is extensible through its comprehensive extensive configuration options. It can be deployed on all major operating systems such as Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, BSD, Windows, Mac, and VMware ESX. The free version of it comes with rich features such as:

  • Log-based Intrusion Detection
  • File integrity monitoring capability
  • Malware and rootkit detection
  • System inventory
  • Compliance auditing

The OSSEC+ version provides more capabilities such as Machine Learning, real-time community, threat sharing, 1000s of new rules, and ELK stack. This version still comes at no cost. The enterprise version comes with extended features that you can check on the product comparison page.

Aircrack-ng

This is a complete suite of command-line utilities to test the security of WiFi networks. Penetration testers widely use it to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in wireless networks. Aircrack-ng can also be used to:

  • Assesses WiFi security
  • Captures wireless data packets and exports them to text files for more inspection
  • Captures and injections of WiFi cards can be done to verify their performance
  • Uses it to attack and crack WPA and WEP protocols.

Although it was initially developed for Linux, its functionality ported into other platforms like Windows, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, and eComStation 2.

Summary

Network security solutions help your organization stay one step ahead of cybercriminals who continually try their best to infiltrate your network to gain unauthorized access to protected resources or to plant malware to steal or bring damage to data assets.

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