Do any areas of the network not require authentication to access?

With physical and operation boundaries within a network, it's important to know whether authentication is even required. Find out how to distinguish the areas where authentication is unnecessary.

Are there any areas of the network that don't currently require authentication to access?

About the author
Russ Rogers is an information security expert and author of Nessus Network Auditing, 2nd Edition. Russ is currently a penetration tester for the federal government.

Networks have two types of boundaries: physical and operational. Physically, we consider a boundary to be a port on a wall or a perimeter router. Operational boundaries are the best place to look if we want to find out whether or not authentication should be required. For example, a large number of organizations allow free, or open, network access to visitors or customers. These areas of the network are often operationally separate from the parts of the network where the work is done. In cases like this, the open network doesn't require any form of authentication. As an example, consider the free wireless access at coffee shops, airports and cafes.

This was first published in September 2008

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