The Importance of Network Security
Am I safe? This is question that all reasonable human beings ask. It is an inherent needs humans to be safe in their everyday activities. The same is true with the network. Users need to be safe. But what is network security? This is composed of various provisions merged together in order to protect unauthorized access to the network and its accessible resources by effectively securing and putting up a protected computer network infrastructure and protective policies by the network administrator.
The infrastructure is founded upon the policies imposed in securing the network. These policies may include reduction and elimination of legal liabilities, protection of classified proprietary information to those who are not supposed to have access to it such as theft, misuse, improper disclosure or worse, modification. Another policy that may be imposed is the prevention of waste of an organization’s resources through network security. (Andress, 2003, p. 47)
Why is there a need for network security? This question has been partially answered, as previously mentioned. Security is very important although in many cases, it is not given strict attention by some organizations. The moment computer was introduced to humans, network security was brought up to life as well. Network security in the mainframe system can provide protection to systems “from resource abuse-either authorized users hogging resources or unauthorized users gaining access and using spare resources” .(Andress, 2003, p. 1) Another area that organizations or individuals need to be secured is in the Internet which uses a public network allowing anyone on the Net to view other systems that are also available on the Net. With today’s massive information sharing through the Internet, these information become sensitive to attackers. In fact, as early as 2002, there were thousands of sites that were defaced. And what is the catch for this? Attackers defacing those sites or re-engineering those Web sites usually mean an attack to control the entire network of the organizations represented or connected with that site.
When a network is taken over or controlled, this means a loss of confidential and valuable information, money, or anything of value. Up to how much? In 2001, $66,708,000 was lost only due to proprietary information theft. (Andres, 2003 p.3) This does not include sabotage of data and networks, eavesdropping, system penetration, insider abuse of net access, denial of service, spoofing, virus, and wire tapping among others that cost at least another hundred million dollars in that same year only. These are some examples of security threats that organizations must be careful of. The list actually is not exhaustive and not limited to the mentioned risks and threats. In fact using firewall is one way to minimize the risks these threats pose.
What is firewall and why it is important? When there is a fire, the firewall is a good preventive material allowing more time before the fire gets through it and burn more things. The same concept applies with the firewall when computer is being talked about. In this case, its purpose is to stand “between the system and attackers, holding the line against intruders who would probe the ports, take over the system, launch attacks to knock off line, crash the computer, mail spam through machine, infect the system, and a lot more. (Rohan, 2004, p. 57)
What can firewalls do to protect users? With a software firewall, attacks are constantly logged. causing hackers getting far enough inside the computer for the firewall to record the attempts. On the other hand, a hardware firewall all stopped outside the personal computer. If an attack ever began to overwhelm the hardware firewall, it would shutdown, and nothing would get into the computer. (Rohan, 2004, p. 57)
Thus, a firewall in one’s computer is the first line of defense against attacks. It is therefore very important to have it to protect security and interest of the user against the bad intentions of attackers. Again, security is an essential human thing.
Andress, A. (2003). Surviving Security: How to Integrate People, Process, and Technology. Boca Raton, FL: Auerbach Publications.
Rohan, R. (2004, March). Don’t Get Burned Online: Hardware or Software, a Firewall Is Your First Line of Defense. Black Enterprise, 34, 57.