Network Security Threats & Solutions

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November 3, 1988, is considered as a turning point in the world of Internet. 25 Years ago a Cornell University graduate student created first computer worm on the Internet, “Morris Worm.” The Morris worm was not a destructive worm, but it permanently changed the culture of the Internet. Before Morris unleashed his worm, the Internet was like a small town where people thought little of leaving their doors unlocked. Internet security was seen as a mostly theoretical problem, and software vendors treated security flaws as a low priority.

Today, there is a paradigm shift, Morris worm was motivated more by intellectual curiosity than malice, but it is not the case today. According to a 2015 Report, 71% of represented organizations experienced, at least, one successful cyber attack in the preceding 12 months (up from 62% the year prior).

According to survey report, discloses that, among 5500 companies in 26 countries around the world, 90% of businesses admitted a security incident. Additionally, 46% of the firms lost sensitive data due to an internal or external security threat. On average enterprises pay US$551,000 to recover from a security breach. Small and Medium business spend 38K.

Incidents involving the security failure of a third-party contractor, fraud by employees, cyber espionage, and network intrusion appear to be the most damaging for large enterprises, with average total losses significantly above other types of the security incident.

Let’s Take a Look at Recurrent Security Threats Types-

Denial of Service Attacks

A denial of service (DoS) attack is an incident in which a user or organization is deprived of the services of a resource they would normally expect to have. These attacks are very common, accounting for more than one-third of all network attacks reviewed in the report. A standard approach is to overload the resource with illegitimate requests for service.

Brute Force Attacks

Brute force attack tries to kick down the front door. It’s a trial-and-error attempt to guess a system’s password. The Brute Force Attack password cracker software simply uses all possible combinations to figure out passwords for a computer or a network server. It is simple and does not employ any inventive techniques.

Identity Spoofing

IP spoofing, also known as IP address forgery. The hijacker obtains the IP address of a legitimate host and alters packet headers so that the regular host appears to be the source. An attacker might also use special programs to construct IP packets that seem to originate from valid addresses inside the corporate intranet.

Browser Attacks

Browser-based attacks target end users who are browsing the internet which in turn can spread in the whole enterprise network. The attacks may encourage them to unwittingly download malware disguised as a fake software update or application. Malicious and compromised websites can also force malware onto visitors’ systems.

SSL/TLS Attacks

Transport layer security (TLS) ensures the integrity of data transmitted between two parties (server and client) and also provides strong authentication for both sides. SSL/TLS attacks aim to intercept data that is sent over an encrypted connection. A successful attack enables access to the unencrypted information. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) attacks were more widespread in late 2014, but they remain prominent today, accounting for 6% of all network attacks analyzed.

Network Security is an essential element in any organization’s network infrastructure. Companies are boosting their investments in proactive control and threat intelligence services, along with better wireless security, next-generation firewalls and increasingly advanced malware detection. The U.S. Federal Government has spent $100 billion on cyber security over the past decade, $14 billion budgeted for 2016.

Increased use of technology helps enterprises to maintain the competitive edge, most businesses are required to employ IT security personnel full-time to ensure networks are shielded from the rapidly growing industry of cyber crime. Following are the methods used by security specialists to full proof enterprise network system-

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is a form of hacking which network security professionals use as a tool to test a network for any vulnerabilities. During penetration testing IT professionals use the same methods that hackers use to exploit a network to identify network security breaches.

Intrusion Detection

Intrusion detection systems are capable of identifying suspicious activities or acts of unauthorized access over an enterprise network. The examination includes a malware scan, review of general network activity, system vulnerability check, illegal program check, file settings monitoring, and any other activities that are out of the ordinary.

Network Access Control

Network Access Controls are delivered using different methods to control network access by the end user.  NACs offer a defined security policy which is supported by a network access server that provides the necessary access authentication and authorization.

Network Security is a race against threats, and many organizations are a part of this race to help enterprises to secure their network systems. Organizations like IBM, Symantec, Microsoft have created solutions to counter the global problem of network security threat. These cutting-edge products show genuine promise and are already being used by enlightened companies.

Good Network Security Solutions Traits

A real security solution should have four major characteristics;

Detect Threats

Targeted attacks are multi-faceted and specially designed to evade many point technologies attempting to identify and block them. Once they are inside, the only way to find these cyber threats is to understand the behavior of the individual attack components and use analytics to understand their relationships.

Respond Continuously

Today it is not important that an organization will be attacked, but important and more crucial is to identify when and how much they can limit the impact and contain their exposure. This means having the capability to respond quickly once the initial incident has been discovered.

Prevent Attacks

Malware is gettings quick-witted day by day. They utilize heuristics to change their code dynamically. A capable solution should have an adaptive architecture that evolves with the changing environment, and threats today’s business faces.

Integration

Today’s threats have multiple facets, and a single software or solution is not sufficient. Protection system should have the capability to integrate with other security tools from different vendors to work together as a single protection system, acting as connective tissue for today’s disjointed cyber security infrastructure.

Solutions In Market

Like infectious diseases, cyber threats will never be eradicated entirely, but they can be better contained and understood, and their effects minimized. How can this be achieved? IBM has built an enterprise-level “immune system,” an adaptive security architecture to battle today’s cyber pathogens. IBM has developed a vast fleet of products, QRadar, X-Force Threat Intelligence, Trusteer Pinpoint Malware Detection, IBM Threat Protection System a dynamic, integrated system to meddle the lifecycle of advanced attacks and prevent loss.

The IBM Threat Protection System integrates with 450 security tools from over 100 vendors acting as connective tissue for today’s disjointed cyber security infrastructure.

Symantec is another major player in catering enterprise network security systems with Symantec Advanced Threat Protection. Symantec ATP operates via a single console and works across endpoints, networks, and emails, integrating with Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), and Symantec Email Security cloud, which means organizations do not need to deploy any new endpoint agents. Symantec says, ATP is the only threat protection appliance that can work with all three sensors without requiring additional endpoint agents. With ATP, Symantec’s goal is to deliver end-to-end threat protection, prevention, detection, and response in a single pane of glass, offering more value to businesses than individual point products can provide. Symantec Advanced Threat Protection combines multiple layers of prevention, detection, and response.