Today we will be discussing what are vulnerabilities, why are they important and how to deal with them. Let’s imagine our computer systems as a system of water pipes in a house. They serve pretty much essential and simple purpose to us but the way they are built is complex. You don’t remember where every pipe is and how wide or type of coating is has? Well same goes with your computer. But unlike a water system, you can check your system for leaks and open holes easily without having to break down walls or move appliances.
Definition: In computer security, a vulnerability is a weakness which can be exploited by a Threat Actor, such as an attacker, to perform unauthorized actions within a computer system (Wikipedia).
A simple example would be an open port that is not properly configured by the firewall or security software. This can be some port 8539 or 80 (HTTP) or pretty much anything. An easy way to see a list of open ports on your system can be done with the following commands:
- Press ‘Windows Button + R’ to open Run program.
- Type in the command box:
- This will open a command prompt window with a detailed list of ports and their state as
LISTENINGwhich means the port is open and is receiving connection requests.
Other things you see in the CMD is
Foreign Address and of course the
MacOS & Linux:
The above can be also achieved on the MacOS operating systems. Let’s try the commands below and see what happens:
- Press ‘Command + Space Bar’ to open Spotlight search and type in Terminal.
- Once in Terminal type
netstat -ap tcp | grep -i "listen"and press return.
- This will display a similar output as seen in Windows CMD. Pretty self explanatory.
- Open Terminal
- Type in
sudo netstat -ntlp | grep LISTEN. This will require you to enter your account password.
- The output will be same just in the two previous examples.
Now what does all of this tell us? Why are we doing this? The reason is to see what kind of connections are being made to and from your computer. If you read through the list carefully and see some program that you do not recognize, it might as well be a malware that is sending information about your computer or is downloading some more malicious content! This way you can identify the threat and that proper actions against it.
Now you might have questions regarding how to deal with such threats? Or what else is there can needs to be detected? Well, those are all good questions! Commonly personal users deal with such problems but installing anti-malware software or keeping their system up to date. Such vulnerabilities are usually patched up once detected so don’t miss any of those security patches! Small-business and commercial users need a system wide check by professionals. Fortunately, we at Binyod do provide such service called “Vulnerability and System Health Scan” for free! With this service, you will be provided with a detailed report about your system and what kind of problems you are dealing with. I hope you learned a bit today about vulnerabilities and how to check for them.