Today, a lot of confidential and sensitive data is stored online and is accessible through networks. So, it is important to have good network security that allows companies to secure their data and grant access only to authorized personnel and entities. It is not generally easy to detect or prevent data threats, and this can lead to companies compromising their data and to financial loss. Professionals in the field of network security are, therefore, responsible for preventing and interpreting these threats.
This blog covers the following topics to help you gain knowledge about network security and more:
First and foremost, let us learn about the main topic of discussion, the definition of network security.
What is Network Security?
Network security allows you to take preventive measures to help protect the networking infrastructure from malfunction, misuse, destruction, modification, unauthorized access, etc. While you are uploading your data on the internet and thinking it is safe and secure, attackers can breach this data and leak confidential information or steal money. This is why it is necessary to secure your network.
Network security, is an important part of cyber security and, helps in protecting your network and data stored in it from breaches, software and hardware intrusion, and more. Network security defines a set of important rules, regulations, and configurations based on threats, network use, accessibility, and complete threat security.
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Further, you will learn about the various types of network security.
Types of Network Security
In the field of network security, there are multiple components working together to ensure the security of data and networks. Based on this, there are several different types of network security:
- Access control
- Virtual private networks (VPNs)
- Intrusion prevention systems
- Wireless security
- Application security
- Behavioral analytics
Before moving ahead, have a look at our blog on Cyber Security vs Network Security and clear your doubts.
Firewalls are services or devices that act as guards responsible for deciding which web page, pop up, and other services enter and exit a network. These firewalls use a predefined set of rules that assist in blocking or allowing traffic, depending on the requirements. Firewalls can be for software, hardware, or both, depending on the needs of the system.
Access control allows companies to prevent potential attackers from invading confidential information and to block unauthorized devices and users from accessing the given network. This allows only those users to access the network who are permitted to work with the given resources.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
A VPN generally uses the internet to encrypt the connection between an endpoint device and a network. Further, VPN allows professionals to authenticate the communication between the network and the device. This results in building an encrypted and secure tunnel via the internet.
Intrusion Prevention Systems
Intrusion prevention systems find and prevent attacks by scanning network traffic. This is done by using databases of attack techniques that professionals are familiar with and correlating them with network activities.
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Wired networks are not as secure as wireless networks. It is necessary for you to control the devices and users that can access your company’s network. Hence, it is important for you to have wireless security, especially when cybercriminals are rapidly targeting confidential information for extortion.
Application security involves a set of software, hardware, and processes that track and lock the weak points of an application to be easily be targeted by attackers to infiltrate your network.
If you want to be able to identify anomalies and various network breaches as and when they occur, you need to have a clear idea of the normal behavior of your network. There are varied behavioral analytics tools available that automatically spot abnormal activities.
Further in this blog, you will read about the several tools that can be used by network security experts to protect networks.
Learn about computer security in our blog on Introduction to Computer Security.
Top Network Security Tools
Some of the security tools, hardware, and software that are necessary to ensure that the network is, indeed, secure are listed below:
- Cain and Abel
After gaining insights into the tools that are used to secure networks, let us now understand what is a network security attack and how it can corrupt the security of any network.
Network Security Attack
Network security attack is malicious attempts that are carried out by cybercriminals to compromise the security of a network. These attacks are the reasons why there is a great need for network security. Network security is responsible for preventing these attacks on the network infrastructure. Let us learn more about such attacks that can help you identify the methods to prevent them.
Types of Attacks in Network Security
Some of the different types of network security attacks are mentioned below:
- Virus: It is a malicious file that is downloadable, and once opened by a user, it starts to replace the codes in the computer with its own set of codes. On spreading, the system files in the computer will be corrupted, which can result in the corruption of the files of other computer systems in the network.
- Malware: It is among the severe-most and fastest types of malicious attacks that help gain unauthorized access to a system or network of systems. Malware is generally self-replicating, i.e., once a system is corrupted, malware gains entry through the internet and easily corrupts all computer systems that are connected to the network via the internet. In the case of malware, even an external device connected to the system will get corrupted.
- Worm: It enters a given system without the need of a user. If a user is running an application that is not too strong, any attacker or hacker using the same internet connection can easily send malware to that app. Without the knowledge of the user, the application could accept and execute this malware over the internet, leading to the creation of a worm. Ethical hackers are in high demand to prevent this type of network security attack.
- Packet sniffer: If a user places a passive receiver in the region of a wireless transmitter, then it ends up seeing a copy of the transmitted packets. Often, these packets consist of confidential organization data, trade secrets, etc., which can get through to the packet receiver. The packet receiver becomes a packet sniffer and it goes through all the packets transmitted in the range. Cryptography is the best way to prevent this form of network security attack.
- Phishing: This is one of the most common forms of attacks on network security. In this, attackers send emails to users pretending to be from a known source, such as investors and bankers, and building a sense of urgency to catch the users’ attention and/or excite them. These emails have probable chances of containing malicious attachments or links, which ask users to share confidential data.
- Compromised key: When an attacker gets a network security key, it is known as a compromised key that acts as a tool to extract sensitive data. In this case, the attacker uses a compromised key and gets unauthorized access to secure data. This key comprises of a code or number that assists in interpreting secure data without any notification to the sender or receiver.
- Botnet: It is a malicious software that attacks a set of computers connected through a private network. The attacker gains access and controls all the systems on that network without the knowledge of the owner. All the computers on that network are referred to as zombies that spread and corrupt a large number of devices as per the instructions of the attacker.
- DoS: DoS is known as denial of service. This attack is capable of destroying the users’ networks partially or completely. DoS can also attack even a complete IT infrastructure, making it unavailable to the actual users. DoS attacks can generally be classified into three categories, namely, connection flooding, vulnerability attacks, and bandwidth flooding.
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Let us now briefly discuss the security architecture of a network.
Network Security Architecture
The architecture of network security models is the result of a well-thought systematic process. While building the architecture, professionals need to keep in mind the type of security the organization requires. Further, they must design several processes, systems, and tools that will help them prevent all sorts of network attacks. The architecture may comprise elements such as access control lists, firewalls, and other types of network security.
An example of a network security diagram is given below:
Now, you will come across some of the numerous job opportunities available for professionals who have the skills to secure a network.
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Network Security Jobs
There are several job opportunities available for network security professionals. As per Indeed, there are over 65,000 job openings available for network security experts in the United States alone. In India, there are 10,000+ vacancies for them.
Major organizations, including Hotstar, Amazon, Facebook, Sony, LinkedIn, Deloitte, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, Cisco, etc., are recruiting professionals in this sub-field of Cyber Security to protect confidential data and prevent any attacks.
Network Security Job Profiles
Various job roles open for professionals in network security are listed below:
- Cyber Security Engineer
- Network Security Specialist
- Security Researcher
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Network Security Engineer
- Security Analyst
- Security Operations Analyst
- Information Security Analyst
- Network Admin
- Network Support Engineer
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Start Your Career in Network Security from Scratch
Here, you have learned in detail about this branch of Cyber Security. You have also gained enough knowledge of its types, uses, attacks, and the tools to prevent them, network security architecture, and the job opportunities available in this subdomain. To make a successful career, you can start by learning this technology and building various network security applications. Enroll in a course today, and build up your career in this domain!
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