Being witnesses to the daily cybercrime stories and living in the digital era, we all understand how important it is to safeguard our data.
As we know, organizations today work on large amounts of digital data and are more digitally advanced than ever. It is, therefore, all the more crucial to keep a check on organizations’ security postures, and network security plays a vital role in this aspect. In this article, we will understand what is network security and its fundamentals.
What Is Network Security?
Have you ever wondered how safe our digital data is? With the increase in the number of global internet users today, the security of our networks is at considerable risk. To tackle this problem, we have network security.
Before understanding what is network security, it is imperative to understand what a network is. A network is a group of interconnected devices; servers, workstations, laptops, etc., interconnected with each other. A network is primarily used for data transmissions and communication. The practice of safeguarding and preventing the underlying networking infrastructure against illegal access, alteration, or destruction is known as network security.
Network security enables us to safeguard the integrity of our information and network. It prevents a network from unauthorized access and applies to every type of computer. Network security incorporates hardware and software technologies to provide a secure platform for all the network devices connected and for the users. In most cases, network administrators carry out the duty to protect their networks from potential cyber security threats.
Considering the current virtual world we live in, cyberattacks are on the rise. Hence, implementing network security to gain a secure digital environment is of paramount importance. Being the foundation of cyber security, network security plays a vital role in safeguarding our data.
Now that you know what is network security, let’s understand the two essential types of network attacks.
Types of Network Security Attacks
A process used to attempt to compromise network security maliciously is defined as a network attack. There are two types of network attacks; active attacks and passive attacks. Let us have a look at both these network attacks.
In an active attack, the intruder attempts to disrupt the network’s normalcy, modifies the information, and tries to alter the system resources.
As shown below, a sender, receiver, and attacker is a man in the middle trying to create an active attack. When the sender sends data to the receiver, the attacker intercepts that data, modifies the data, and then sends the modified data to the receiver. While doing so, neither the receiver nor the sender would be aware of the attacker, and thus they would not be aware of the modification that has been done.
Fig: Active Attack
In a passive attack, the intruder intercepts data that travels through the network. Here, the intruder eavesdrops but does not alter the message.
As shown in the diagram below, the attacker captures the data packets and copies the contents to use them later.
Fig: Passive Attack
Now that you have understood the types of network attacks, let us move to the next part of this article and look at the different types of network security.
Types of Network Security
Network security typically includes three different controls: physical, technical, and administrative. Let’s dive deep into each of these types:
- Physical Network Security: Unauthorized workers cannot get physical access to network components such as routers, cabling closets, and so on because of physical security restrictions.
- Administrative Network Security: Security rules and processes that regulate user behavior, such as how users are verified, their degree of access, and how IT staff members execute changes to the infrastructure, are referred to as administrative security controls.
- Technical Network Security: Data stored on the network or in transit across the network is protected by technical security mechanisms. It is necessary to secure data and systems from unauthorized persons as well as harmful acts by workers.
Now that you know what is network security and its types, let us go through the means by which you can secure your network.
Network Security Methods
All the network security system components work together to improve an organization’s security posture. Listed below are a few standard network security components.
- Access Control: You should be able to prevent unauthorized users and devices from entering your network to keep out possible attackers. Users having network access should only access the resources for which they have been granted access.
- Application Security: The hardware, software, and processes that may be utilized to track and lockdown application vulnerabilities that attackers can employ to enter your network are referred to as application security.
- Firewalls: A firewall is a hardware or software responsible for blocking incoming or outgoing traffic from the internet to your computer. Firewalls are required for a secure network.
- Virtual Private Networks(VPN): Virtual Private Network (VPN) connects a VPN server and a VPN client. It is a secure tunnel-like connection across the internet.
- Intrusion Detection System (IDS): An IDS is designed to detect unauthorized access to a system. It is used together with a firewall and a router.
- Honeypots: Honeypots are computer systems that are used to lure attackers. It is used to deceive attackers and defend the entire network from any attack.
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Are You Ready to Become a Network Security Professional?
So, how can we ensure network security? The best and simplest way of ensuring network security is by ensuring our passwords are complex everywhere. Simplilearn offers a "Cybersecurity Expert" course that focuses on such cybersecurity techniques and how to protect yourself from cyber attacks. The course is recommended for people looking to join the cybersecurity industry, as it covers basic and advanced modules that cater to beginners and professionals alike.
In today’s article on what is network security, we learned about the importance of network security and ways to prevent cyber attacks. We also saw the different types of network security.
If you have any queries regarding this topic, feel free to ask them in the comment section below, and we will be happy to answer them.