Security engineers: The top 13 cybersecurity tools you should know
Security engineers spend most of their time implementing and monitoring controls that protect organizational data, networks and computer assets. Many aspects of security engineering require tools to help mitigate and automate security-related tasks. However, new and aspiring security professionals may not know what tools are critical to success in this profession. This post will cover tools to help you develop and thrive in your role.
What tools does a cybersecurity engineer use?
Security engineers use many different tools in their jobs, which isn’t surprising when considering the wide range of attack vectors that adversaries now have at their disposal. The tools fit into a few categories based on the security element they deal with.
Network security monitoring
The first category of tools consists of cybersecurity software used to monitor network traffic and identify network-based vulnerabilities. Both security engineers and pentesters can use these tools to log, analyze and encrypt network traffic and endpoints. Popular network mentoring tools include the following.
Argus is a robust open-source traffic monitoring tool for analyzing network packets. Security engineers can use it as an early warning system for network intrusions and generate traffic reports.
Snort is an active defense tool that helps you monitor traffic, including the traffic directed to servers and ports that indicate an attempt to penetrate a system using other network monitoring tools.
PacketFence is a comprehensive, free tool for managing access control across networks of different sizes. You can use it to simply network management, perform compliance checks, offer guest access and more.
Web vulnerability scanning
Web vulnerability scanners help you get a full picture of the weaknesses in the IT infrastructure. With numerous malicious actors, bots, scripts and software seeking out vulnerabilities in critical web assets, it’s important to think beyond security through obscurity. Here are some of the best tools for identifying potential security holes in devices and web applications.
Indusface WAS can detect a wider range of security threats, from business logic OWASP Top 10 malware and vulnerabilities. It also provides security engineers with comprehensive remediation reports that help to fix vulnerabilities quickly.
Burp Suite works well with CI/CD tracking systems to identify weaknesses in a fast and effective manner. The tool can also schedule scans and allows you to assign threat levels based on which you can prioritize your response.
Acunetix is a powerful tool that can scan complex web pages, web interfaces and applications for thousands of vulnerabilities. It’s ideal for identifying server-based attacks like XSS, SQL injections and more.
Firewalls are management systems designed to filter traffic based on originating IP or IP ranges, ports and URLs. Some firewalls enable security engineers to perform deep packet inspection and application-level traffic filtering. Top firewall management software includes the following.
AlgoSec makes it easy to assess risk and optimize firewall rulesets across cloud security controls, web proxies, routers and load balancers. AlgoSec users can also audit-ready reports for PCI-DSS, HIPAA and other regulations.
FireMon addresses three key challenges: clean-up, change and compliance. It evaluates firewall configurations, alarms changes to network access and validates policies for administrative regulations.
Tufin offers a real-tilogy map that security engineers use to detect and fix network disruptions throughout the hybrid, multi-vendor environment. The tool also has established compliance policy templates against which all rules can be checked.
Encrypting data and traffic is a key responsibility for security engineers. Since malicious actors are always looking for endpoint vulnerabilities, encryption is critical for making data unreadable to unauthorized users. Here are some of the top data security tools available now.
NordLocker encrypts network traffic whenever possible, falling back to TCP traffic when the endpoint doesn’t allow encryption. It’s also good for access control management, creating data backups, and implementing protection on shared computers.
Tor helps you encrypt and anonymize web traffic, making it challenging for cybercriminals to track the entry and exit points. Some security engineers use it in their jobs to improve privacy for data and communications.
Security engineers sometimes act as pentesters, simulating attacks on the organization’s security system from the outside. The goal is to identify vulnerabilities and work with the security team to address those weaknesses. Pentesting tools can be used both offensively and defensively, depending on the cyber defense stance of the organization. Here are some commonly used cybersecurity pentesting tools.
Wireshark can analyze hundreds of protocols and real-time decryption support for many of them. You can also use this multi-platform network protocol analyzer for offline analysis.
Metasploit comes packed with common, recent, and new exploits that you can simulate to test cyberattack readiness. Its commercial version is handy for web application testing, dynamic antivirus payload management and social engineering attack security.
Start improving your work performance
These are a few handy tools that security engineers can use to do their jobs better. If you map these tools to your organization’s security requirements, you can overcome many risks associated with implementing and maintaining your IT systems. Adopt these tools, and you should see a significant uptick in your agility and work performance.
- What are network monitoring tools?, Flowmon
- Transport Layer Security – an overview, ScienceDirect