Security Issues in Emerging High Speed Networks

Security Issues in Emerging High Speed Networks

Abstract

In the current digital world the usage of internet around the world has been increased tremendously and the main reason behind this was due to the availability of mobile devices to the common man in an easy way. As the mobile phones and the tablets devices provide the medium to connect to the internet from any of the remote places around the world, the usage of internet in the past recent years has an exponential growth. The consequences for this changes resulted in the introduction of high speed networks, which helps users to access the internet with an increased speed. More over each and every part of the industry in the world such as banking, automobiles, manufacturing industries, health industries, government sectors, educational institutions are moving their own information from the files which were manually written to the digital world and storing them remotely and securely. And also millions of users has their personal accounts in many of the social media websites. Considering all these factors, the importance to the Network Security also increased along with the increase of the speed in the network. The security to the network connectivity should be provided by the network providers as a basic element, if not there will be serious consequences to be faced. The person who tries to break into the network is technically referred as an Intruder. Knowing the attack methods allows the prevention of the attacks. Many businesses secure themselves from the internet by means of firewalls and encryption mechanisms. The businesses create an "intranet" to remain connected to the internet but secured from possible threats.

Introduction

The world is becoming more interconnected with rapid growth of the Internet and new networking technology. All over the world there is a large amount of information stored on the internet which belongs to military, hospitals, educational institutions, government information and many more. Safeguarding all the information is much more important task before the network providers. Because of the intellectual property which can be easily acquired through internet, the network security is becoming very prominent.

Currently there were a couple of network types. Data network and synchronous network. Internet is treated as a data network as it consists of computer based routers and the information is acquired by some special programs called Trojan Horses which are planted in the routers. On the other hand the synchronous network which comprises of switches dose not buffer data and so there will be no threatens from the intruders.

History of Internet

The internet was first introduced and developed by Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANet). It was originally designed in such a way that the scientists can access the computers remotely, share data and email. This was a huge success and soon it became as popular as it was used as a high speed digital post office. People use this for their discussion on the general topics. Vinton Cerf is elected the first chairman of the INWG (InterNetworking Working Group), and later becomes known as a "Father of the Internet.

In 1980s, Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf are prominent among the team that created TCP/IP, which serves as the common language of all Internet computers. The mid 1980's is famously know for the raise of the personal and super computer industries and the combination of these computers along with the internet was marked as the milestone in the emerging digital world. This remarkable combination attracted many companies to the field of internet and began using the internet for their internal communication and for the communication with the customers as well.

In 1990's due to the development of World Wide Web famously known as WWW, facilitated the usage of internet to the public. Many companies were making their effort to design a browser so that the computer user can easily use the internet.

During 2000's the combination of the mobile phones and the internet revolutionized the entire digital world which kept the internet in the pockets of the users. In the current day scenario every 9 put of 10 were connected through internet and it was already a part of everyone's day to day life.

Network Security

Any network needs to be developed by the development team and then the security to the network will be provided by the security team. There exists some gap between the developers of the networks and the developers of the security technologies. In general the developers of the network use the Open Systems Interface Model, famously called as OSI model in developing the networks. This OSI model provides many advantages over other models such as flexibility, ease in use, modularity etc. OSI uses standardized protocols.

When dealing about the network security, it must be made sure that the entire network is secured rather than concentrating only on the end to end computer terminals which resides at the end of the communication channel. The below parameters needs to be taken care of whenever a network is being developed:

1.      Authentication: All the users who use the network should be properly authenticated.

2.      Access: Only the authenticated users should be provided the access to the network.

3.      Confidentiality: All the information on the network will remain as a private and it would be the right of the owner to decide on whom should be given the access.

4.      Integrity: During the transmission of any kind of messages, care must be taken in such a way that the message remains same in both sending and receiving ends.

5.      Non-repudiation: Ensure the user does not refute that he used the network.

The security issues needs to be known before developing or planning any effective security plan. This involves in understanding of security issues, potential attackers, needed level of security, and also the factors that make a network vulnerable to attack. There are many devices or products available to minimize the vulnerability which includes encryption, authentication mechanisms, intrusion-detection, security management and firewalls.The architecture of internet itself leads to the vulnerability of the network. Understanding the security issues of the internet greatly assists in developing new security technologies and approaches for networks with internet access and internet security itself. Network intrusions consist of packets that are introduced to cause problems for the following reasons:

  • To consume resources uselessly.
  • To interfere with any system resource's intended function.
  • To gain system knowledge that can be exploited in later attacks.

The last reason is the most commonly guarded against and considered by most as the only intrusion motive.

Data Security vs Network Security

Data security deals on securing the client data that is to be transformed into unintelligible data for transmission.Most commonly this data will be encrypted and a key must be known by the person who wants to decrypt this message or data. This was used a bit earlier and the strongest cypher keys that were used at that times are easily broken by using a special kind of algorithms, Brute Force Algorithm for example which tests all the possibility of the character combination and finally breaks it. When transferring cipher text over a network, it is helpful to have a secure network. This will allow for the ciphertext to be protected, so that it is less likely for many people to even attempt to break the code. A secure network will also prevent someone from inserting unauthorized messages into the network. Therefore, hard ciphers are needed as well as attack-hard network.

Common Internet Attacks Methods

The attacks on the internet can be categorized into different categories as some of the attacks tries to gain access the personal information stored in the system and some other tries to target to destroy the entire network system by making the system malfunctioning by introducing harmful viruses and Trojans. Some of the below are the examples of common attacks:

Eavesdropping:Interception of communications by an unauthorized party is called eavesdropping. Passive eavesdropping is when the person only secretly listens to the networked messages. On the other hand, active eavesdropping is when the intruder listens and inserts something into the communicationstream. This can lead to the messages being distorted. Sensitive information can be stolen this way

Viruses: Viruses are self-replication programs that use files to infect and propagate. Once a file is opened, the virus will activate within the system.  

Worms:A worm is similar to a virus because they both are self-replicating, but the worm does not require a file to allow it to propagate [8]. There are two main types of worms, mass-mailing worms and network-aware worms. Mass mailing worms use email as a means to infect other computers. Network-aware worms are a major problem for the Internet.  A networkaware worm selects a target and once the worm accesses the target host, it can infect it by means of a Trojan or otherwise.

Trojans:Trojans appear to be benign programs to the user, but will actually have some malicious purpose. Trojans usually carry some payload such as a virus.

Phishing: Phishing is an attempt to obtain confidential information from an individual, group, or organization [9]. Phishers trick users into disclosingpersonal data, such as credit card numbers, online banking credentials, and other sensitive information.

IP Spoofing Attacks: Spoofing means to have the address of the computer mirror the address of a trusted computer in order to gain access to other computers. The identity of the intruder is hidden by different means making detection and prevention difficult. With the current IP protocol technology, IP spoofed packets cannot be eliminated.

Denial of Service: Denial of Service is an attack when the system receiving too many requests cannot return communication with the requestors. The system then consumes resources waiting for the handshake to complete. Eventually, the system cannot respond to any more requests rendering it without service.

Technology for Network Security

Attacks against Internet will goes on to be a major problem in the digital world as long as information is accessible and transferred across the Internet. Many defense and detection mechanisms were developed to deal with these attacks. Some of those mechanisms are as follows:

Cryptographic systems:Cryptography is a useful and widely used tool in security engineering today. It involved the use of codes and ciphers to transform information into unintelligible data.

Firewall: A firewall is a typical border control mechanism or perimeter defense. The purpose of a firewall is to block traffic from the outside, but it could also be used to block traffic from the inside. A firewall is the front line defense mechanism against intruders. It is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both.

Intrusion Detection Systems:An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is an additional protection measure that helps ward off computer intrusions.  IDS  systems  can  be  software  and hardware  devices  used  to  detect  an  attack.  IDS products  are  used  to  monitor  connection  in determining  whether  attacks  are  been  launched. Some IDS systems just monitor and alert of an attack, whereas others try to block the attack.

Anti-Malware Software and scanners:Viruses, worms and Trojan horses are all examples of malicious software, or Malware for short. Special so-called anti Malware tools are used to detect them and cure an infected system.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL):The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a suite of protocols that is a standard way to achieve a good level of security between a web browser and a website. SSL is designed to create a secure channel, or tunnel, between a web browser and the web server, so that any information exchanged is protected within the secured tunnel. SSL provides authentication of clients to server through the use of certificates. Clients present a certificate to the server to prove their identity.

Security in Different Networks

The businesses today use combinations of firewalls, encryption, and authentication mechanisms to create "intranets" that are connected to the internet but protected from it at the same time.Although intranets can be set up quickly to share data in a controlled environment, that data is still at risk unless there is tight security. The disadvantage of a closed intranet is that vital data might not get into the hands of those who need it. Intranets have a place within agencies. But for broader data sharing, it might be better to keep the networks open, with these safeguards:  

1.  Firewalls that detect and report intrusion attempts.

2.  Sophisticated virus checking at the firewall.

3.  Enforced rules for employee opening of e-mail attachments.

4.  Encryption for all connections and data transfers.

5.  Authentication by synchronized, timed passwords or security certificates.

Current Developments in Network Security

The network security field is continuing down the same route. The same methodologies are being used with the addition of biometric identification. Biometrics provides a better method of authentication than passwords. This might greatly reduce the unauthorized access of secure systems. New technology such as the smart card is surfacing inresearch on network security.  The software aspect of network security is very dynamic. Constantly new firewalls and encryption schemes are being implemented. The research being performed assists in understanding current development and projecting the future developments of the field.

Hardware Developments: Hardware developments are not developing rapidly. Biometric systems and smart cards are the only new hardware technologies that are widely impacting security.The most obvious use of biometrics for network security is for secure workstation logons for a workstation connected to a network. Each workstation requires some software support for biometric identification of the user as wellas, depending on the biometric being used, some hardware device. The cost of hardware devices is one thing that may lead to the widespread use of voice biometric security identification, especially among companies and organizations on a low budget.The main use of Biometric network security will be to replace the current password system. Maintaining password security can be a major task for even a small organization.

Software Developments: The software aspect of network security is very vast. It includes firewalls, antivirus, VPN, intrusion detection, and much more. The research development of all security software is not feasible to study at this point. The goal is to obtain a viewof where the security software is heading based on emphasis being placed now. The improvement of the standard security software still remains the same. When new viruses emerge,  the  antivirus  is  updated  to  be  able  to guard  against  those  threats.  This processis the same for firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Many research papers that have been skimmed were based on analyzing attack patterns in order to create smarter security software.

Conclusion

Network  security  is  an  important  field  that  is increasingly  gaining  attention  as  the  internet expands. The security threats and internet protocol were analyzed to determine the necessary security technology.  The  security  technology  is  mostly software  based,  but  many  common  hardware devices  are  used.  The current development in network security is not very impressive.

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