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Port scan attack prevention best practices

While it's impossible to prevent against all port scanning attacks, there are best practices for port scanning security (such as a port scanning firewall) that can keep your network secure. Expert Mike Chapple weighs in.

What are some best practices for avoiding port scanning?

The simplest thing you can do to protect yourself from port scan attacks or reconnaissance attacks is to use a good firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS). It's not possible to protect against all such attacks -- after all, if you're running a Web server, port 80 is obviously going to be visible to the world -- but, this approach will limit an organization's exposure.

The firewall strictly controls which ports are exposed and to whom they are visible, limiting the attack surface discoverable with a port scan. The IPS will detect port scans in progress and shut them down before they are able to gain a full map of your network.

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This was first published in August 2009

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