Network security is the security provided to a network from unauthorized access and risks. It is the duty of network administrators to adopt preventive measures to protect their networks from potential security threats.
Computer networks that are involved in regular transactions and communication within the government, individuals, or business require security. The most common and simple way of protecting a network resource is by assigning it a unique name and a corresponding password.
Types of Network Security Devices
These security devices block the surplus traffic. Firewalls, antivirus scanning devices, and content filtering devices are the examples of such devices.
These devices identify and report on unwanted traffic, for example, intrusion detection appliances.
These devices scan the networks and identify potential security problems. For example, penetration testing devices and vulnerability assessment appliances.
Unified Threat Management (UTM)
These devices serve as all-in-one security devices. Examples include firewalls, content filtering, web caching, etc.
A firewall is a network security system that manages and regulates the network traffic based on some protocols. A firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and the internet.
Firewalls exist both as software that run on a hardware and as hardware appliances. Firewalls that are hardware-based also provide other functions like acting as a DHCP server for that network.
Most personal computers use software-based firewalls to secure data from threats from the internet. Many routers that pass data between networks contain firewall components and conversely, many firewalls can perform basic routing functions.
Firewalls are commonly used in private networks or intranets to prevent unauthorized access from the internet. Every message entering or leaving the intranet goes through the firewall to be examined for security measures.
An ideal firewall configuration consists of both hardware and software based devices. A firewall also helps in providing remote access to a private network through secure authentication certificates and logins.
Hardware and Software Firewalls
Hardware firewalls are standalone products. These are also found in broadband routers. Most hardware firewalls provide a minimum of four network ports to connect other computers. For larger networks − e.g., for business purpose − business networking firewall solutions are available.
Software firewalls are installed on your computers. A software firewall protects your computer from internet threats.
An antivirus is a tool that is used to detect and remove malicious software. It was originally designed to detect and remove viruses from computers.
Modern antivirus software provide protection not only from virus, but also from worms, Trojan-horses, adwares, spywares, keyloggers, etc. Some products also provide protection from malicious URLs, spam, phishing attacks, botnets, DDoS attacks, etc.
Content filtering devices screen unpleasant and offensive emails or webpages. These are used as a part of firewalls in corporations as well as in personal computers. These devices generate the message “Access Denied” when someone tries to access any unauthorized web page or email.
Content is usually screened for pornographic content and also for violence- or hate-oriented content. Organizations also exclude shopping and job related contents.
Content filtering can be divided into the following categories −
- Web filtering
- Screening of Web sites or pages
- E-mail filtering
- Screening of e-mail for spam
- Other objectionable content
Intrusion Detection Systems
Intrusion Detection Systems, also known as Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems, are the appliances that monitor malicious activities in a network, log information about such activities, take steps to stop them, and finally report them.
Intrusion detection systems help in sending an alarm against any malicious activity in the network, drop the packets, and reset the connection to save the IP address from any blockage. Intrusion detection systems can also perform the following actions −
- Correct Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) errors
- Prevent TCP sequencing issues
- Clean up unwanted transport and network layer options