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 will allow companies to secure their data and grant access only to those who must have it. It is not generally easy to detect or prevent the data from threats, and this can lead to companies compromising their data and to financial loss. Professionals in this field are, therefore, responsible for preventing and interpreting these threats.
This blog covers the following topics to help you gain quality knowledge of network security and more:
First and foremost, let’s learn about our main topic of discussion, the network security definition.
What is Network Security?
Network security allows one to take preventive measures to help protect the networking infrastructure from malfunction, misuse, destruction, modification, unauthorized access, etc. While you are there uploading your data using 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, an important part of Cyber Security, helps in protecting the network and the data stored in it from breaches, software and hardware intrusion, and more. It defines a set of important rules, regulations, and configurations based on the 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 this field, there are multiple components working together to ensure the security of data and networks. Based on this, there are several types of security that are mentioned below:
- Access control
- Virtual private networks (VPNs)
- Intrusion prevention systems
- Wireless security
- Application security
- Behavioral analytics
Let’s read about these in detail so that you can get a brief understanding of all of them.
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. These firewalls can be software, hardware, or both, depending on the needs of the system.
Access control allows organizations to prevent potential attackers from invading their confidential information and 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 as per their authorization.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
A VPN generally uses the Internet to encrypt the connection between an endpoint device and a network. Further, it 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 can be done by using databases of attack techniques that the professionals are familiar with and correlating them with network activities.
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Unlike wired networks, wireless networks are not as secure. 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, which can 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 is a varied range of behavioral analytics tools available that spot abnormal activities automatically.
Further, read about the several tools that can be used by network security experts to protect networks.
If you are looking to take up a certification in this domain, there are numerous Cyber Security certifications available for you to choose from.
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’s understand what a network security attack is and how it can corrupt the security of any network.
Network Security Attack
A network security attack is the 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’s learn more about such attacks that can help you identify the methods to prevent them.
Types of Attacks in Network Security
Network security attacks are of numerous types, some of which 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 forms of malicious attacks that help gain unauthorized access to a system or a network of systems. These are generally self-replicating, i.e., once they corrupt a system, they gain entry through the Internet and easily corrupt all the computer systems that are connected to the network via the Internet. In the case of malware, if there is an external device connected to the system, even that 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.
- Packet sniffer: If a user places a passive receiver in the region of a wireless transmitter, then it ends up seeing a copy of all 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, viz. investors and bankers, and building a sense of urgency to catch the users’ attention and excite them. These mails have probable chances of containing malicious attachments or links, asking users to share confidential data.
- Compromised key: When the attacker gets this 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 secured data. This key comprises a code or number that assists in interpreting secured data without any notification to the sender or receiver.
- Botnet: A botnet 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 owner knowing. All the computers on that network are referred to as zombies that spread and corrupt a huge number of devices as per the instructions of the attacker.
- DoS: DoS is known as the denial of service. This attack is capable of destroying the users’ network partially or completely, or it can attack even the 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’s 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.
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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