Cyberattacks, data breaches, and intrusions are becoming more prevalent as technology advances. Notably, more than twice as many data leaks compromised confidential information between 2015 and 2017 (Key et al., 2020). Network security is a matter of the highest relevance, particularly for existing and aspiring qualified IT experts, due to these breaches’ rising quantity and sophistication. Changes in IT operations are at the heart of a new security strategy. Moving to the cloud, introducing new portable devices, and concentrating on data analytics are all standard IT plans that need new security measures. It is no accident that these techniques influence business network upgrades or enhancements. It suffices to say that for an organization to succeed in these domains, it must have a thorough awareness of network security standard practices.
Network Security and Its Importance
Network security is an integral part of cybersecurity that relates to the activity of blocking unapproved individuals from using computer systems and the gadgets that connect to them. This entails physically shielding network infrastructure and equipment from foreign cyber risks and securing technology infrastructure (McNab, 2016). In this day and age of progressively complex and recurrent cyber espionage, network security is more important than ever. Network security is critical for ensuring the authenticity of data as well as the privacy of an organization and its workers. In general, network security includes the most common measures, such as setting up unique and strong passcodes and completely logging off when done with computers and related devices, to the most complicated, comprising high-level procedures that ensure devices, networks, and their users are secure (Kizza et al., 2020). More confidential data is being stored digitally, and in these numerous gadgets, hence illegal access to that data could have fatal consequences.
Network security is essential for safeguarding personal data, and as additional sensitive data is kept and exchanged on susceptible platforms, network security cannot be ignored. Notably, “there was a need for 30,800 exabytes of data storage in 2019 alone, yet merely 19,800 exabytes were provided” (Hackenberg, 2020). In perspective, this equates to a 43% supply-demand imbalance. Handling that volume of data is challenging already; securing it will be a separate matter.
Whereas every individual in an organization may make a difference in security, network security has become increasingly complicated in recent decades. Securing networks and their associated devices effectively involves extensive network education, a detailed grasp of how networks function, and the ability to use that expertise. According to Bejtlich (2019), it is critical that networks be appropriately configured, protected, and assessed to provide complete anonymity. All individuals in the organizations must be updated and informed about emerging network security threats to ensure that they are alert.
Common Network Security Vulnerabilities
To develop and manage secure networks efficiently, it is critical to recognize the most frequent vulnerabilities, hazards, and difficulties confronting IT workers today. Although some are straightforward to remedy, others need more extensive fixes. Almost all computer networks feature flaws that make them susceptible to external attacks (McNab, 2016). Networks and devices are at risk even when no one is deliberately trying to sabotage them. Vulnerability does not occur as a consequence of an attack but as a product of a network defect or infrastructure defect. Below are the typical types of network vulnerabilities that most organizations face today:
- Accessories or software that has been installed incorrectly.
- Operating systems or software that is outdated or not updated.
- Physical security is either poor or non-existent.
- Unsafe or weak passwords.
- Architectural defects in the OS or network of a device (Bejtlich, 2019).
Even though a weakness does not imply that a hacker will target an organization’s network, it simplifies ease of access. Cyberattacks have grown in sophistication, breadth, frequency, and difficulty of defense during the previous few years. Some cybersecurity professionals predict that these assaults will get even more sophisticated and destructive in the future. The most common forms of network security assaults that IT experts should know encompass:
- Insider Threat: As the term indicates, insider threats are risks posed by personnel inside a company. This personnel enter the network and collect confidential or secret corporate data using their credentials.
- Social Engineering: Manipulation and lies are employed in these assaults to persuade victims to divulge personal credentials, including a passcode, or to break security safeguards. Technical support employees may be the subject of social engineering assaults that pose as genuine calls for assistance from individuals with ‘little’ technical know-how.
- Malware Attacks: It describes a situation when a computer virus (malware) introduces an unwanted, illegal program onto a network device. Malware may readily transfer from one computer to another, rendering complete removal extremely challenging.
- Data Theft: Data theft happens when an unwanted user gains access to a network and steals confidential information. Stolen login details are routinely used by hackers to view password-protected documents or to collect data as it flows across networks.
- Password Attacks: The term refers to any incident involving an individual trying to exploit a password maliciously. Passwords may be obtained in several ways, the most common of which include guessing, theft, or hacking (Kizza et al., 2020).
Note. The image shows how network security and network threats interact in cyberspace, which includes common network vulnerabilities. From The Top 7 Network Security Predictions for, 2019, by Plixer.
Safeguarding Networks and Connected Devices
Equally, as there are several methods for infiltrating a network system, IT experts may use numerous approaches and procedures to safeguard one. The most commonly used method is protecting networks and devices with antivirus software. Antivirus software may be put on all connected devices to detect and remove harmful applications on the system (Bejtlich, 2019). This must be updated regularly to address any faults or weaknesses. Another popular option is encryption, which is the act of obscuring data to the brink of incomprehensibility and allowing only approved individuals to decode it. As a result, even if the information is compromised or viewed by an external party, they will be incapable of understanding it.
The use of firewalls is a required method used to safeguard networks. Firewalls are software programs or physical devices that prevent uninvited transmission from accessing a network. They may be designed to block solely suspicious or unapproved traffic whilst enabling genuine calls (Bejtlich, 2019). Similarly, multi-factor authentication may help to secure a network. To access an account using this technique, users must present two different forms of identity. For example, entering a password and entering a unique number is transmitted to another gadget. To enable multi-factor authentication to be entirely successful, users must submit distinctive login details.
The last method that the organization should consider is network segmentation. Network segmentation is dividing a more extensive network into smaller networks or parts. If one of the network segments is corrupted or penetrated, the others remain unaffected since they are self-contained. Segmentation enhances protection by restricting the propagation of an attack. For instance, segmentation restricts a virus attack in one region from spreading to other computers (Kizza et al., 2020). Additionally, segmentation may prevent malicious traffic from entering systems that are incapable of defending themselves against assault.
Gordon Lyon founded the website Insecure.org. Keeping an organization’s network safe is easy with the site’s up-to-date source code. The website’s creator is recognized as a “hacker” who has actively created and shared the free Nmap Security Scanner for over 25 years (Insecure.org., 2012). It searches local networks to see which hosts are available, what operations (mail servers, web servers, and so on) they provide, and what operating system they are using. It is free for the general public to use or to include in bigger open-source programs (Insecure.org., 2012). The site’s primary objective is to provide everybody and anybody with a setup that contains add-ons that enhance network infrastructure security.
The site’s most popular program is Nmap (“Network Mappera”) free software application for network analysis and security audits. The software was built for scanning big networks and works well against individual servers. Nmap uses IP packets in unique techniques to find out which domains are accessible in a given network, which operations those servers are providing, what OS they are using, what firewalls/packet filters are used, and many other features. In addition to security assessments, most applications and network managers consider Nmap helpful for basic activities, including network mapping, scheduling service updates, and tracking domain or service uptimes.
This program was made possible by Google Summer of Code and the DARPA CINDER program (DARPA-BAA-10-84), both of which provided funding. This Nmap Reference Guide is the intellectual property of Insecure.Com LLC, which was founded in 2005 (Insecure.org., 2012). It is thus licensed within the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0. This gives any organization the freedom to reproduce and change the program as it deems fit. However, any usage of the program is accompanied by proper credit to the original creator.
I have done an extensive study on Insecure.Org and have decided that this is a reputable service that cares about its members, no matter how big or small. Using this tool, the organization can examine precisely how the code was created, and it can even edit it to suit its requirements. If the site’s creator genuinely intended to have access to others’ privacy, it is unlikely that he would be comfortable with people knowing his real identity people. Furthermore, he would not have allowed people to ask him about network security-related issues. Overall, Gordon Lyon does not strike me as one of those guys constantly attempting to breach various types of network security. Accordingly, I consider Insecure.Org a legitimate website that can be utilized by the organization to improve its network security.
Overall, the best way to ensure network security is to follow best practices. It is a simple premise, but implementing passcode guiding principles is a quick and efficient approach to securing a network. Most individuals pick weak passwords, repeat old ones, and do not use new passcodes for different accounts. All employees must be urged to implement proper password habits, particularly for corporate accounts.
Bejtlich, R. (2019). The practice of network security monitoring: Understanding incident detection and response. Langara College
Hackenberg, A. (2020). Seagate Technology Hopes to Profit From a Growing Shortage of Data Storage. The Motley Fool.
Insecure.org. (2012). Insecure.org – Nmap Free Security Scanner, Tools & Hacking resources. Insecure.org.
Key, B., Kohl, A., Elflein, J., Puri-Mirza, A., Sapun, P., Cherowbrier, J. (2020). U.S. data breaches and exposed records 2020. Statista.
Kizza, J. M., Kizza, W., & Wheeler. (2020). Guide to computer network security. Springer.
McNab, C. (2016). Network Security Assessment: Know Your Network. O’Reilly Media.
Plixer. (2019). The Top 7 Network Security Predictions for 2019. Plixer.