Network Computer Security
Upon hearing the terms "network computer security," you might imagine two armed guards in a fortress guarding a huge group of machines. In actuality, it simply describes the line of defense that prevents intruders and other threats from accessing a network of computers. Corporations put sophisticated systems in place to not only prevent intrusion, but to understand what impact an attack may have as well.
Security and private networking are important as networks often handle sensitive data, such as online banking details and credit card numbers among other details.
How Networks are Exploited
Intruders attempt to exploit networks in various ways. Some use other computers to launch attacks. This is done by customizing malicious software to cripple a system. Malware is currently one of the biggest threats facing computer networks today. Targeted attacks that focus on a single network are often able to avoid signature detection.
Because the malware is designed to penetrate a certain form of network computer security, it's likely that no signature exists. This means that no detection mechanism will be able to identify it whether it's an anti-virus or intrusion detection solution. Malicious software can also be hidden from detection through polymorphic genetics that constantly change the code, producing a different signature every time the program is recreated.
Polymorphic toolkits like ADMutate and CLET put a tremendous amount of power in the hands of a malware writer with basic skills. The Gozi Trojan is one such program that went on a rampage for nearly two months in the beginning of 2007. It's been estimated that the first variant infected well over 5,000 hosts and thieved account details from more than 10,000 users. Gonzi was programmed to steal sensitive details being transmitted over SSL connections before they had a chance to be encrypted. This Trojan and others like it have put a major emphasis on network computer security.
Zero Day Attacks
Malware isn't an intruder's only weapon. Every day, more vulnerabilities are being discovered, giving hackers more ways to attack. These types of exploits are more commonly known as day zero or zero day attacks. A zero day attack exploits a vulnerability as soon as it's known, giving the attacker a better chance of succeeding as no solutions are available for it. Once a patch is released, day zero is essentially over.
A recent example of a zero day vulnerability involved the Windows Animated Cursor Remote Execution function. This was a very critical security breach as it could allow chosen code to be remotely executed by attackers. The piece of code that targeted this vulnerability was active in the wild for several days before Microsoft released a patch. Instances like this are reasons why you should practice network computer security by configuring your system for automatic updates.
Intruders are testing your network computer security every day in search of vital information. The tactics they employ are becoming more dangerous and harder to detect. It's important to understand how these intruders function, which will in turn help you locate vulnerabilities and points of intrusion in your network. Formulating a thorough incident strategy is crucial to protecting your network against the plethora of attacks in the world of computer networking.