Ping sweeps and Port scans are a great security tool for businesses. Ping sweeps are used to find someone on the end of a network and Port scans are then used to find a way into that end of the network. Once a perpetrator gets in there is no telling what harm could be done. These techniques can also be used for troubleshooting issues that can arise inside the company. It is in the company’s best interest to be aware of ping sweeps and port scans to help from devastating consequences later on.
A ping sweep is simply “an ICMP echo request to a target machine.” (Conklin 12) By doing this ping sweep we can see which machines or people are actually active. The ICMP packets get sent and they will return an echo back when the address it is active. This just lets the person know that there is a real person at the end of the ping. This is similar to how a submarine would detect a body in the water. The submarine would send out a sound packet and it can detect that something is there by responding with a pinging sound. (Branch, 2012) Once the address is actually found from the ping sweep we would then move on to the port scan.
A port scan is a more specialized attack. This is where the perpetrator can try to enter our system or network where there may be a hole or door not secure and find out confidential information. This would be similar to a burglar trying to enter your home through an unlocked door or an open window, or leaving your keys in the car and a thief comes along and jumps right in to take the car. The port scan will help to identify which ports are open and give indication to what types of programs are running on that particular computer. (Conklin 12) When the wrong people know more about what programs are running they are more likely to be able to find a way in and steal valuable information.
Ping sweeps and port scans can be very dangerous and intrusive, but if we keep up to date on our security software and firewalls they should not be an issue. We should research more to see what would be the best software to use to keep free from these types of attacks and then implement a plan so we don’t become a victim. These techniques are fairly old, but if we aren’t prepared the wrong person could get in and the consequences would be expensive and devastating.