Creating An Awareness Of Network Security Computer Science Essay

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The purpose of this paper is making awareness of Network security and its consequences on organizations and people. The paper abstracts mostly details about what are the types of attacks on networks and how to make preventions before attacks.

Introduction

While computer systems today have some of the best security systems ever, they are more vulnerable than ever before. This vulnerability stems from the world-wide access to computer systems via the Internet.

Network security addresses the vulnerabilities to which your organization is exposed as a consequence of being connected to a network.

In the field of networking, the specialist area of network security consists of the provisions and policies adopted by the network administrator to prevent and monitor unauthorized access, misuse, modification, or denial of the computer network and network-accessible resources.

An overview and some more aspects on the network security are described below.

Definition:

Network Security is protecting a network from unwanted intruders.

Security Vulnerabilities

Who are vulnerable?

In organization everyone who uses computer for their job, who stores inform ions in computers.

Customers or outsiders who rely on this organization.

Servers and End-Users are also exposed to network security.

Examples of servers are network devices, file servers, e-mail servers, web servers etc.

End-users are those who receive e-mail, visit web sites, download files, pursue in online services

Everyone is vulnerable by threats:

Through e-mail (e.g. worms, viruses)

Through web-browsers (e.g. malicious scripts and applets)

Simply being connected to network (breaking , protocol hacks)

Following are some of the examples of network security attacks in past decades

20-year-old man arrested for breaking into two computers of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Hacker boosted stock price by posting fake merger press release.

A hacker boosted the stock of Aastrom Biosciences by 6.5% by posting a fake press release on the company's Web site announcing a merger with California biopharmaceutical company Geron.

Thousands of Safeway customers received emails that appeared to come from the company, saying Safeway would raise its prices by 25 percent. The emails also said, "If you wanted to shop elsewhere, you could."

Safeway shut down U.K. site after hacker attack on August 12, 2000

Who's attacking?

Attacks from within

These attackers originate from inside the intranet/LAN, a "trusted source"

"From case studies it is shown that a majority of attacks originate from within an organization. Some studies showed that as much as 70% of all attacks from someone within an organization or from someone with inside information (such as an ex-employee)."

Sometimes the damage is done without intent

Sometimes the damage is done on purpose

Espionage

Acts of vandalism

Snoop attacks from nosey co-workers

Malicious attacks from disgruntled people such as ex-employees.

Attacks from the Outside

These attackers originate from anyone/anyplace outside of your LAN/intranet, an unknown source.

Sometimes the damage is done without intent....

Sometimes the damage is done on purpose.

Why outsiders attack?

To steal information, real assets/money or services.

To corrupt or destruction the data of an organization

To simply say "I did it!" known as bragging rights.

For defacement or vandalism

To corrupt operational systems controlled by computers (TV systems, phone system etc.)

DoS

They plant bots which can be remotely activated and controlled to accomplish any of the attacks listed above using your machine as the host

Types of attacks

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks

DoS attacks have following goals.

To crash host

To flood host

To flood the network connected to host

Viruses

Virus attaches itself to files on the target machine

Master Boot Sector/Boot Sector viruses

File viruses, Macro viruses

Stealth viruses, Polymorphic viruses

Worms, Trojans and Backdoors

Trojans are programs that appear to perform a desirable and necessary function that perform functions unknown to (and probably unwanted by) the user.

Unlike a virus, worms are a memory resident virus which seeds itself in the computer's hard disk or file system; it will only maintain a functional copy of itself in active memory.

Worms frequently "sleep" until some event triggers their activity - send password or registry to hacker.

Worms and Trojans frequently enable Backdoors on a system which allows hidden access and control of a system.

Scanners

Scanners are the programs that automatically detect security weaknesses in remote or local hosts.

Tells the hacker:

What services are currently running and who are owners of them and whether certain network services require authentication.

If anonymous logins are supported or not.

Crackers

Actually try to decrypt.

Most simply try "brute force" or intelligent "brute force"

Dictionary words, days of year, initials

Sniffers

These are the devices that capture the packets of network.

They are extremely difficult to detect due to their passiveness.

Measures of protection

One product cannot provide full protection because computer networking environment consists of many different subsystems for one product to provide full protection

Ethernet protocol, IP protocol, TCP protocol, Routing protocols, Operating Systems

Presentation protocols such as HTML, DHTML, XHTML, XML

Remote Program execution protocols - VBS, ASP, JavaScript, Java Applets, DCOM, CORBA

Applications - MS Outlook, Netscape Communicator, server SW (MS IIS, etc.)

Anti-virus software

Make sure it is set to scan all executables, compressed files, e-mail, e-mail attachments, web pages

Keep up to date virus information files!

E-mail Server filters

They provide protection for e-mail passing through the server

Integrate directly with the E-mail Server software - MS Exchange, Lotus Notes, Netscape, and cc: Mail, etc.

Example products: McAfee GroupShield, Trend Micro ScanMail

Web based protection filters

Firewalls

"A combination of hardware and software resources positioned between the local (reliable) network and an unreliable network.

Firewalls track and control communications, deciding whether to pass, reject, encrypt, or log communications."

Web Server protection

It protects web server from hacking (e.g. AppShield (Sanctum Inc.))

Web Access Control

Restricts web sites to which you can connect. Can protect you by not allowing you to go to malicious web sites (e.g. WebSENSE)

Conclusion

As we can see that network security threats are becoming major problem for the network users. So an awareness or knowledge of network security threats such as worms, viruses, backdoors, crackers, etc. is required to prevent network affection. We should be careful while using LAN/intranet and internet and especially when we make online money transaction such as online banking or other transactions and also when using email facilities and surfing.

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