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What are Insecure Network Services and How to Mitigate Them

Insecure network services can open a whole network infrastructure to security risks and compromise. Here’s what insecure network services are, what vulnerabilities they create, and what measures you can take.

What are insecure network services?

Devices and services that are exposed to the internet and that use insecure or unnecessary network services risk exposing the data that they transmit and the webserver they run on. In the case of connected devices that are part of the internet of things (IoT), insecure network services can also open such devices up to remote control and be utilized as a botnet.

Two main vulnerabilities associated with insecure network services are unnecessarily open ports and insecure network protocols.

Open ports are a door for malicious agents to gain unauthorized access to devices or services with code vulnerabilities. Such services include insecure protocols which may expose authentication details or session data due to weak encryption or a lack of encryption, or other vulnerabilities. Some of the dangers that devices, services, and systems are exposed to due to insecure network services include:

How to mitigate insecure network services

Since insecure network services result from open ports and vulnerable protocols, measures that you can take to prevent exploits apply to ports and protocols. Here are some suggestions about how to prevent exploits of your vulnerable devices and services:

  • Do not overexpose ports - open only necessary ones and permanently close those that are not needed
  • Scan ports regularly to identify risks and take additional measures
  • Disable outdated protocols or update to more secure versions, if possible
  • Replace equipment running insecure protocols or, if not possible, deploy mediating devices to convert protocols into safer versions
  • Implement network segmentation to limit attacker’s access to the whole network
  • Hide the network’s service set identifier (SSID)
  • Encrypt network data
  • Block any unusual traffic
  • Identify and mitigate DoS vulnerabilities as well as memory corruption vulnerabilities.
  • Access ports via a secure VPN
  • Restrict network access to authorized users via MAC address filtering
  • Disable remote device access or introduce stringent authentication procedures
  • Fortify your firewall protection - use both host-based and router-based
  • Regularly patch and update access point software