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Diagnosing Network Security Issues

Posted by QuoteColo on December 16, 2015 - Updated on February 20, 2023

As a system admin, you need tools to diagnose your network for all sorts of security issues. In this blog, we are going to label a few specific network security issues we all face and the tools you can use to diagnose and kill them.

Man in the Middle Attack

A Man in the Middle Attack, sometimes referred to as MITM, is a network security breach wherein an outside party hacks into you network undetected to alter communication routes between two connected parties. The basic idea of a MITM attack is to secretly route traffic from your network to a hacker established server wherein that hacker can monitor, steal and syphon information for their own use.

man in the middle attacks

Man in the Middle Attacks are common for networks dealing in financial transactions and customer financial data.

Tool for Diagnosing Man in the Middle Attacks

Common ways to defend against MITM attacks are:

  • Using a VPN for all traffic
  • Using a Proxy Server with Data Encryption
  • Using SSH protocols

This being said, another great way to defend against MITM attacks is to run a software across your network specifically designed to inject MITM attacks into your network. The basic premise is reverse engineering. By running a program like Ettercap across your network, you have the ability to see what a hacker sees, understand vulnerabilities across your network and act accordingly. Once vulnerabilities are found, lock down your router/server side actions with stronger encryption for all communication between server and client.


APT, or advanced persistent threat, is an ever changing extremely hazardous alteration on classic network phishing attacks. Traditionally, a phishing attack will invade your network through common email posing as a wholly above the board email pushing some service to download. A phishing attack goes after your entire network in the hopes of someone will mistakenly download the attack. On the other hand, an APT strategically infiltrates your network by sending phishing content to specific users within your network.

The idea behind APT is specificity to avoid overall network spam filters monitoring inbound network data. Again, much like a basic phishing attack, ATP hinges on individual network users downloading the malicious content onto your network.

Tools for Diagnosing and Killing APT

The basis for defending against APT is understanding, analyzing and monitoring all inbound network traffic no matter how small. It is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. As such, the best way to defend against advanced persistent threat attacks is to utilize a software like WildFire or VirusTotal to fully scan individual URL’s of possible malicious content. Once contact is scanned, the source can be blocked from your network and, if need be, locate the ongoing issue internally to stamp it out.

SQL Injection

One of the more annoying and older forms of network attacks, SQL injections have been plaguing network sysadmins for a while now. An SQL injection works by adding SQL code to a web form input box allowing hackers to gain access to network resources and/or make change to existing network/webpage data.

SQL injection works because the majority of web forms and web pages contain no mechanism to guard against queries outside of standard user data, i.e. authentication passwords and credentials. Due to this, a hacker can inject SQL queries into the web forum to gain direct access to a network database effectively allowing for the editing of data or the complete download of the data base in question.

Tools for Diagnosing and Killing SQL

The best way to guard against SQL are network security firewalls as provided by companies like McAfee, Cisco and Barracuda. The basic premise of using a network security firewall to protect against SQL injection is to allow the standard information through by blocking all other requests. Think of it like a gate to a fence wherein only certain information is allowed to enter while everything else is guarded against. In terms of SQL, network security firewalls act in this way.

In addition, using network security firewalls will enable you to raise the level of authentication needed to access your network.


Everyone’s favorite common network security threat. The DDoS attack, commonly known as the distributed denial of service attach, takes place when hackers flood your network with traffic through multiple servers or a single server. The main purpose of DDoS is to fully take a server or multiple servers in your network offline to distract your network admins from another more malicious attack happening at the same time. The DDoS attack is, in common boxing terms, the rope-a-dope.

diagnosing network security issues

Tools for Diagnosing and Killing DDoS

Much like SQL injection attacks, DDoS prevention software is readily accessible through online security companies like Kaspersky, BeeThink, Google and CloudFlare – to mention a few. These tools will help you determine when a DDoS attack is happening and will help you protect your network against any malicious traffic sent your way.

While these tools are a good idea, you have to remember a DDoS attack is a game of bandwidth capacity. As the entire DDoS attack platform is based on over-flooding a single or multiple servers with data, one of the best way to defend against it is to up your bandwidth.

Another method to defend against DDoS attacks is to secure your DNS server through proper load balancing and redundancy.

Learn the Tricks of the Trade

Here is the thing: there are more common network security attacks than we have space to chat about here. For this reason, one of the best avenues to learning about and protecting against network security attacks you are bound to encounter, is to learn how hackers apply those attacks, and to secure your network against attacks through penetration testing.

Through websites like Hackertarget, you can download common hacking software designed to bring your network to its knees. Through setting up a secure test network, you can use these tools to learn how they work, how they impact your network and what you can do to ward them off. More than anything, understanding the tools hackers use to compromise your network will enable you to more fully understand where your network vulnerabilities are and how you can secure them.

In addition to understanding common hacking vulnerabilities, you should also take the time to learn about and secure your network against other less common network security concerns, such as physical environmental factors.

For more information about the best network security tools for your data center solutions, contact Quotecolo.

Categories: Network Security

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