Network Security


Network security refers to all the strategies and features used to prevent unauthorized access to a computerized network as well as monitor and control its use by authorized users. It aims at protecting network user privacy as well as preventing access to classified information. Network security covers all protective devices which span a computerized network and all network accessible devices. Computerized networks could be private or public but all require the provision of features to safeguard the interests of its users or owners. The most basic form of network security is by assigning it a unique network identification and the use of passwords. In providing network security, users are usually given an ID and password or other unique and secret information.

Network Security Strategies

The first step in the creation of network security is the concept of authentication. There are several kinds of authentications, the most basic being the provision of a password. This is referred to as One-factor authentication. In the two-factor kind of authentication, apart from the use of a password, something that the user has is used as well, for instance an ATM card. In the three-factor authentication mode apart from password and what you may call a security token, something that is part of the user is incorporated for instance, the fingerprint. Once authentication has been successfully carried out, the next stage in network security is the provision of a firewall. The main purpose of a firewall is to control access to services and enforce access policies on the network.

Firewalls and Network Security

Firewalls are effective in dealing with unauthorized access but may be ineffective against malicious software such as worms, Trojans and viruses. The use of anti-virus software as well as programs that are designed to prevent intrusion are the required strategies to deal with such malware. A detection system which works by monitoring anomaly on the network may also be used to deal with malicious intrusions on the network. Feedback from such advanced monitoring systems may be logged for high level analysis and for audit. Encryption may also be used to maintain privacy between two users communicating on a network. Honeypots are decoy networks set up with the aim of diverting the attention of network hackers from the real server and also gain the advantage of studying the hackers’ methods without compromising the real network. The data gathered from such decoy networks are used to enhance security features in the real networks.