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Network Security, Information Security, Possible Threats & Techniques to Secure Networks

Introduction:

After developing a network on any scale, the first and most important thing a network administrator to do is to protect the network. This article demonstrates network security, solutions to different issues, tips to protect against anti-spamming, Trojan horses, viruses & malwares.

Every network faces one or more of these issues.

It is Computer network administrator or IT manager responsibility to keep him updated concerning latest threats and issues and protecting the computer networks. It is the right of the users working on network computer to have a smooth and secure network system, without experiencing any interruption by annoying messages and slow communication between computers.

It is only possible if network administrator protect the network from malicious software, worms and other threats. Using different biometrics and authentication methods can help protect the network up to some extent.

Hackers and intruders are always searching to get some loop wholes to exploit corporate sector and get into financial data and other sensitive information. In all situations data integrity and security cannot be compromised. Therefore for networks to run secure and flawlessly, IT manager and Computer network administrator needs to monitor their networks all the time.

Definition of Network Security:

Protecting the computer systems in the network from unwanted intrusions and unauthorized access.

Network Security Threats:

There are many network security threats spread on the internet today. Some of the common threats are:

  • Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses
  • Spy-ware and adware
  • Zero-day attacks, also called zero-hour attacks
  • Hacker attacks
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Data interception and theft
  • Identity theft

The Role of IT Manager and Network Administrator:

  • The most important thing to maintain a secure network is the knowledge of IT Manager or Network Administrator. To keep the network secure from external attacks, their role is extremely important.
  • Network administrator should keep themselves updated for all possible and latest threats and attacking techniques to the network. They should also know how to avoid and solve these threats when faced them
  • Network administrator should always search internet for latest viruses, security threats, and malware, Trojans and email attachments and find techniques how to avoid these threats before his network is a victim of a possible attack.
  • Network administrator should always scan the whole network for Malware, Trojan Horses, viruses etc. if he finds any, he should remove and fix it immediately to secure the network.
  • Spyware and small network intrusions are created to target companies to steal or private information without being noticed, Network administrator should scan all entire network for such activities, shut down those systems which are not in use.

Reasons of Security Issues to Networks:

There are a number of reasons for any network to be victimized by viruses, malware, worms and other security threats. The main reasons for such security attacks in small companies are that they are not using proper, licensed versions of Antivirus software.

Another reason is that they use risky websites to download dangerous malware when network is not properly secured, which causes the entire network to get infected.

When any network uses non genuine, non licensed or cracked versions of antivirus or similar software, they do not update the latest virus signature database file to protect the system till date. When new viruses are launched, this software doesn’t have latest viruses threats definitions in their signature database, hence it exposes the entire network to these virus threats, and more often or a not network does get infected.

There is another type of attack which commonly the companies ignore and eventually costs them badly. These attacks are known as inside attacks.  For example Ex-employ of the company can be a big threat to the company’s networks especially if he has had worked as network administrator, since he/she knows all the critical information about the network he worked on. He can easily connect to the company’s network remotely using VPN or using other methods. He/she can transfer viruses, malicious software which can leack secret and information for organization perspective.

There are other threats which can give hard time to any company. To avoid these threats, make sure to update all virus database signatures, access control i.e username and password as soon as a network job related leaves the company.

Administrator information should be updated once in 24hrs any way to keep network safe from any un wanted situations.

Steps for Securing Network:

The follow are recommended steps to keep the network secure from attacks. If these steps are properly followed by Network Administrator, there are greater chances to avoid security threats of computer networks at the first place.

  • Divide the network into segments for efficient network management.
  • Filter Internet access by blocking port1433 and port 1434 or use any firewall software to implement such type of filters.
  • Block all unwanted ports for any chance of being misused; keep open the required communication ports only to data transfer.
  • External Internet access to SQL systems must be allowed.
  • Monitor open ports, Port 80 is the most commonly used port for http access.
  • Keep all systems updated including server operating systems files and latest patches. These important updates and patches keep the system secure from vulnerabilities.
  • In windows platform, keep client system's automatic update option enabled, so that when ever updates are released clients machines download and installed them and secure them to the maximum level, do the same for server operating system but do monitor to  update server OS.
  • 3rd party security softwares are also available and can be installed to test security measures taken.
  • IT managers can also use powerful authentication techniques to keep the network secure from security threats.
  • Keep Network Administrator lesser in number because, sometimes, lesser the number of Network Administrator, lesser the number of chances the network to be victimized.
  • Older known threats can infect the system again, Network Administrator  should keep in mind  to keep computer network secure from latest ones as well as from previously know attacks.
  • Do not disable Windows known services Talnet, Clipbook, they have certain things to do.
  • Do not disable any default service until you are sure and you know what you are doing.
  • Create, configure and deploy security policies. Train network users on using these policies and make sure to send out notice to all clients if any updates are made in these policies.
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