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Importance Of Network Security

Introduction

Over the past decade, the world has become more interconnected, with the advancement of new networking technologies. Similarly, our dependency on the Internet has reached an unimaginable level. A huge amount of personal, commercial, and confidential data is stored on either private or openly accessible networks. The significance of this intellectual data reflects the importance of network security in our lives. The probable threats to this data are sometimes not easy to detect or prevent. Conversely, the victims face a tough time in terms of time spent to recover the compromised data and money lost due to financial theft.

Evolution of Internet Security

“Things get worse slowly. People adjust” – David D. Clark, the Internet pioneer who is now working as a Senior Research Scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (referring to the flaw in the network security design of the early Internet)

The need for network security dates back to the late 80s after a flaw in the network design slowly incrementalized its process. It started with the very design of the Internet, open and distributed. It was the time when no one felt the need to control communication among its users and mutual mistrust was out of the picture.

David D. Clark realized that humans tend to ignore existing problems, which often transforms into something even more disastrous. The Morris worm of 1988 wasn’t an intentional threat to the network security of that time. A worm is a standalone malware program capable of replicating itself to expand its reach to other computers while remaining active on the infected system. Well, the developer of the worm, Robert Morris intended to determine the size of the internet by propagating a self-written program across the networks, later infiltrating the Unix terminals with a known bug, and at the end, would duplicate itself through three attack vectors: sendmail, fingerd, and rsh/rexec. Little to his knowledge, the last instruction turned out to be a mistake. The Morris worm replicated itself drastically, damaging thousands of machines and vaporizing millions of dollars into thin air.

In the aftermath of the incident, Morris was charged with the first felony of the United States 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He was not only sentenced to three years of probation but was fined with $10,050 and 400 hours of community service. Later, DARPA funded CERT/CC at Carnegie Mellon University, which improved the security of numerous software and the Internet. The Morris worm is now considered to be a legend for starting a wave of cyberattacks.

In short, what started with a small online community for a few researchers is now accessible to around 3.2 billion people around the globe. And with that, potential security related threats have also increased dramatically. [3]

After all these years, the cyber world is still facing the same challenge with much greater intensity. In fact, the situation is worsening with each passing year.

What is Network Security?

Network Security is the process of strategizing a defensive approach to secure your data and resources over the computer network infrastructure against any potential threat or unauthorized access. It uses software as well as hardware technologies to achieve the optimal solution for network defense. [4]

A network is secure only when it possesses the components that constitute the “CIA Triad.”

CIA triad is a distinguished model for the development of network security policies within an organization. It deals with the three crucial areas of security, namely, Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.

Networking fundamentals

The fundamentals of network security are:

  1. Physical security
  2. Accesscontrols
  3. Authentication
  4. Accountability

Types of Network Security

Network security acts as a wall between your network and any malicious activity. This wall will remain penetrable until you opt for the best solution to protect it. The following types of network security help you understand which one suits your organization better than the others (based on your organization’s requirements).

Antivirus and Antimalware Software

Before directly hopping on to this type of network security, it’s important to know the basic difference between a “virus” and a “malware.” Virus is a specific term defining a kind of malware which replicates and spreads across the network, whereas malware is an umbrella term used for all kinds of malicious code. Everything including viruses, worms, adware, nagware, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware fall under the category of malware.

So, isn’t an anti-malware software capable of handling viruses, too? Why purchase two different software for a similar threat? These are the basic questions that pop up in your head after knowing the elementary fact. The simple answer to all your questions is as follows:

No technology can cover everything, which implies that software is “a jack of all trades and master of none.”

The anti-malware and antivirus (can detect only viruses, unlike anti-malware) software scan for malware and viruses on entry, it later removes the threat and fixes the damage. First antivirus software programs used signature-based malware detection approach to look for a pattern (referred to as signatures) in network traffic or malicious sequences used by malware. It offered good protection from numerous threats, other than being, fast, easily available, and easy to run.

Application Security

The name mentions it all. Application security is software meant to secure the loopholes of your application from the perpetrators. It broadly tracks the procedure of finding your application’s vulnerabilities followed by fixing and preventing them from any cyberattack. It uses software, hardware, and processes to keep your assets intact.

Behavioral Analytics

Behavioral Analytics can be defined as the use of software tools to detect a pattern change in the network, which appears out of the norm. The analytics tools catch the anomaly and alert the concerned professional for further action. Behavior-based malware detection systems look for indicators that can flag the elements of a program as unauthentic and eventually announce it to be malware. But this approach is not enough to adequately protect your system and network from malware. Well, combining signature- and behavior-based detection can help you come up with a more protective approach.

DLP

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology is responsible for securing the communication network of an organization in order to protect its sensitive data. These days, employees of an organization are prohibited to upload, forward, or sometimes to print critical information in an unprotected manner.

Email Security

Email gateways are a popular medium for the spread of malware, spams, and mainly phishing attacks. To top it all, social engineering methodologies make these threats appear genuine and sophisticated. An email application security secures the access and data of an email account by blocking incoming attacks and controlling the outbound messages.

Endpoint Security

In network security, endpoint security or endpoint protection technology protects a corporate network when accessed from different remote devices. This remote access poses as a potential entry point for security threats.

Firewalls

Network security firewalls monitor the incoming and the outgoing traffic based on a set of predefined rules. It is a barrier that separates trusted networks from untrusted ones. Hardware, software, or both can serve as a firewall.

IDS and IPS

Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a software application that looks for malicious activity or a policy violation over a network or system, whereas Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a network threat prevention technology that actively scans network traffic flow to detect potential threats (or vulnerability exploits) and respond to them accordingly.

For simple understanding, IDS is considered to be a monitoring system and IPS as a network security control system. Both the systems read network packets to compare them with a database dedicated to known threats. But, IDS never acts on its own as it requires a professional to instruct it whereas IPS works according to its ruleset for accepting or rejecting a network packet.

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23 Comments

  1. Reply

    Network security is good

  2. Reply

    Thanks

  3. Reply

    network security is really nice

  4. Reply

    Nice

  5. Profile photo ofItz Kvng Twitch

    Reply

    Very interesting

  6. Reply

    This is really good and interesting to know

  7. Reply

    Interesting article

  8. Reply

    Network business is taking over the world

  9. Reply

    Thanks for updating us

  10. Profile photo ofKreator

    Reply

    Nice Piece

  11. Profile photo ofSommycruz

    Reply

    Good to know

  12. Reply

    This is very educative.

  13. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  14. Reply

    Good to know

  15. Reply

    Very important

  16. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  17. Reply

    This is interesting

  18. Reply

    Good

  19. Reply

    Nice update……good sharing

  20. Reply

    Good article

  21. Reply

    Awesome

  22. Reply

    Nice update

    • Reply

      Great article

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