Security plays very critical factor in almost every field either it is an organization, a governmental entity, a country, or even your house. Computers, mobile devices, and Internet are also facing surplus amount of security challenges day by day.
Computers/mobiles are now included in the list of basic necessity of a human being. From simple mathematical calculation to storing of data, building applications, communicating with the world and so on we all depend completely on these devices.
As far as the security risks in mobiles/computers are concerned, virus attacks, stealing of data, deletion of data and damage to hardware can be taken into consideration.
What is a Network?
The computers connected through intranet together in an order to serve a number of users in a particular area like in an office can be termed as a Network.
What is Network Security?
Network security deals with aspects like: prevention of unauthorized access, termination of misuse and denial of service problem. Security may be referred as complementing the factors like: confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA). If you are thinking that this is it, you are absolutely wrong.
Different types of Network Threats
Following are the types of threats against which a network is vulnerable to:
Threat #1 DOS Error & DDOS Error
DOS, short form of Denial of Service and DDOS short form of Distributed Denial of Service are superior amongst all the threats as they are very difficult to get rid from. In addition they easily get launched and are cumbersome to track.
How can one generate such attack?
It is very simple; just keep sending more and more requests to the system than that of it can handle all along. With the invention of the toolkit, it has become way easy to disturb any website’s availability. In DOS an attacker’s program will establish a connection on a service port, obviously counterfeiting the packet’s header details and then leaves the connection. Now if the host can handle 20 requests per second and attacker is sending 50 requests per second, then it may cause host server down due to mass fake requests. In this case, server cannot accept legitimate request as well due to fake requests and it shows unavailability of server to a legitimate user.
- Monitoring the packets to save your server from the entrance of the counterfeit packets.
- Timely upgrading of the security patches on your host’s operating system.
- Beware of running of your server very close to the last level of the capacity.
Threat #2 Unauthorized Access
This is the most harmful threat as it leads to the loss of significant information and also to further attacks which could be worse than this. An attacker unknowingly gains access to your authorized section and steals sensitive resources. Suppose a host also playing the role of a web server has to provide web pages as per the request. But the host should not allow anybody to access the command shell without being sure about the identity of the user.
- Enforce strong authentication strategies.
- Keeping usernames and passwords secret from the unreliable sources.
- Not providing unnecessary access to any user or even to any employee.
Threat #3 Eavesdropping
Another greatest security threat in network. During eavesdropping, an intruder intercepts the packages of data transferred over HTTP (through monitoring software), modifies the data and misuses them in order to harm the network. It is really a dangerous threat as there are many tools named as Sniffers available and developed frequently to intercept the data packages.
- Entertaining encryption strategy will secure you a way out from eavesdropping. Using encryption measures like digital certificates (SSL certificates) will definitely lessen the risk of eavesdropping attacks.
- Apply network segmentation which will prevent eavesdropping as well as other network attacks.
- Employing Network Access Control enhances the security of your network by checking the authenticity of every device before establishing any connection.
Threat #4 IP Spoofing
IP spoofing means presuming the IP of a network, creating an illusion of being a valid IP by creating Internet Protocol packets with disguised intentions of harming the actual owner of the IP address.
By forging the headers in order to insert fallacious information in the e-mail headers to mislead the receiver from the original destination is also a type spoofing which is known as Spamming.
- Filtering of packets entering into the network is one of the methods of preventing Spoofing. In other hand, filtering of incoming and outgoing traffic should also be implemented.
- ACLs helps prevent Spoofing by not allowing falsified IP addresses to enter.
- Accreditation to encryption should be provided in order to allow only trusted hosts to communicate with.
- SSL certificates should be used to reduce the risk of spoofing at a greater extent.
Threat #5 Man-in-the-middle-attack
MITM is one of the most dreadful network threats. An intruder here establishes an independent connection with both sender and receiver, intercepts their messages one by one, modifies those messages and relays back to the sender and receiver. This all occurs so smoothly that both the sender and receiver never come to know that they are being overheard by someone. In addition it exposes your network to several other threats.
- Using Public Key Infrastructures based authentications. It not only protects the applications from eavesdropping and other attacks but also validates the applications as a trusted one. Both the ends are authenticated hence preventing (MITM) Man-in-the-middle-attack.
- Setting up passwords and other high level secret keys in order to strengthen the mutual authentication.
- Time testing techniques such as Latency examination with long cryptographic hash functions confirming the time taken in receiving a message by both the ends. Suppose if the time taken by a message to be delivered at one end is 20 seconds and if the total time taken exceeds up to 60 seconds then it proves the existence of an attacker.
These were some of the vulnerabilities prevailing in network security. Other prevalent vulnerabilities consists of data loss, data modification, sniffer attack, application layer attack, password based attacks and so on.
Security stands as the toughest challenge as it gets more and more vulnerable to attacks day by day.
As far as the network security is concerned, paying attention to some of the aspects will help to achieve proper secure environment such as:
- Backing up the data regularly
- Store the data on a reliable medium.
- Update your patches
- Install SSL certificates to stay ahead of threats
- Upgrading Firewalls with ACLs (Access Control Lists), Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Proxy and routers.
Keeping in mind the needs as well as the threats against which your network is vulnerable to, you should use the best security mechanism to protect your organization.