How to Scan Your Network For Vulnerabilities

June 23, 2008

Do you suspect that your network has a security hole or is vulnerable to an attack by an outside computer user? If so, then you are in good company with thousands of other computer users.

With any type of network, it is not an obvious way of assuring that it is 100% secure. However, you can utilize a scanner utility to scan your network for any vulnerability. Believe it or not, there are several programs available that will scan your network for vulnerabilities.

If you do not understand the inner workings of a network then we will probably speculate that you do not have a big network that may be a big target for hackers. This scenario would be your single home computer connected to the internet via a cable or DSL. In this case you should not worry too much as your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will direct you in the right direction if you have a vulnerability concern. Now for others who have a “network”, lets run down a few tools you can use to make sure you are secure.


Microsoft has a great tool, which is free, that scans your network to look for common misconfigurations that will lead to your network being vulnerable to attacks. This utility is called the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. This may not be for novice computer users as it is not a one source solution to your network security.

We have found that 3rd party tools do excellent job in assisting you with the security of your network. Two applications that we were able to get our hands on were AppDetective by Application Security, Inc and Retina from eEye. Both programs are able to detect well known issues and receive updates for the detection of new issues. Each program proved to be user friendly enough for beginner and advanced computer users. With any beginner user a little reading may be required to fully understand the potential threats and vulnerabilities of a network.

With a large network you have to be mindful of inside and outside attacks such as with a corporation. In the case of a home network with only a few computers connected you are more concerned with outside attacks. Either way you can always start with a reputable network scan utility or program that has network scanning functions built in. We always recommend that you check the credentials of any given network scan utility before using it. In some rare cases you could be causing more harm than good if you utilize a tool that does not fit your specific networking needs.

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