As the Internet evolves and we have already digitized a huge part of our lives, it is more important than ever to take certain security measures to improve our online security and privacy. Ensuring network security is, without a doubt, one of them. “What exactly is network security?,” some of you may ask. Technopedia provides the definition that, in our opinion, describes the subject best: “network security is an over-arching term that describes the policies and procedures implemented by a network administrator to avoid and keep track of unauthorized access, exploitation, modification, or denial of the network and network resources.” The network security improvement plays a key part in reducing the chance of becoming a victim of cyber attacks, which, in fact, are becoming more and more sophisticated with every year. To be more specific, a network administrator can considerably decrease the likelihood of privacy spoofing, identity theft, and private data leakage, to name a few possible problems, by simply strengthening network security. Implementing network encryption to secure privacy is what companies and individuals should do in the first place.
Why are network security breaches so common?
Anything can be stolen and/or copied after a successful network security breach performed by cybercriminals, including software, important personal files, and even credentials that provide access to private accounts. Network hacks are extremely common these days and, unfortunately, continue increasing in frequency and severity. Specialists already know why it is so. According to them, the number of network security breaches has considerably increased over the past few years because hacking tools have become more sophisticated. Moreover, they can be used by any individual who has some technical/computer knowledge and a clear vision of what their primary goal is, and it’s extremely easy to access hacking software these days since it is promoted on underground forums. Generally speaking, super-intelligence is no longer a requirement for hackers these days. It might even turn out that your neighbor or another person you interact with on a daily basis is your worst enemy in the virtual world.
Telltale signs of a network security breach
Despite the fact that you turn on firewalls, implement encryption, and enable other security mechanisms, your network security may, theoretically, still be breached. The sooner you find out about the hack, the sooner you could react to the problem. There are several likely clues showing that the network has been hacked: increase in network activity, unauthorized installation of new unknown software, files become encrypted out of the blue, spam emails are sent from the network, and redirections to unfamiliar domains occur. Even though network hacks are a serious issue today, they can be prevented. Enabling a firewall, using network-based malware prevention appliances that analyze traffic, and activating web/spam filtering is what every network administrator has to consider before actually setting up a network. As previously mentioned, implementing network encryption to secure it would be extremely beneficial too. It will no doubt be easier to do that if you are familiar with the main encryption terms. You can find them listed below.
Top 5 terms you should know regarding encryption for a secure network
Let’s start with the basics. Generally, encryption is the process when a mathematical function is applied to a file thus making its contents inaccessible for those who do not have the key. For example, you could not access an encrypted Microsoft Office document unless you are the one who has the password that can unlock it. As for network encryption, which we focus on in this report, it is a process of encrypting private messages and other types of data that is transmitted over a computer network. Even if it is intercepted by cybercriminals along the way, they could not read any messages sent. Usually, encryption to secure a network is provided by special encryption software or using an encryption algorithm that is integrated on network devices/software.
While encryption locks data/messages to hide them from prying eyes, decryption is a reverse process. It turns ciphertext back to plaintext. There are two key elements the decryption procedure requires: the correct cryptographic key and the decryption algorithm. As for the decryption of messages that are sent in the encrypted form, they are decrypted on the recipient’s end.
The encryption procedure requires a key, also known as a cryptographic key, which determines the cryptographic algorithm’s output. It is very similar to a real key that unlocks your front door – it locks plaintext to ciphertext and vice versa. Two encryption algorithms (symmetric algorithm and asymmetric algorithm) that make use of different types of keys can be distinguished. The first one, i.e. symmetric algorithm, uses the same key for both encryption and decryption, whereas the second one, i.e. asymmetric algorithm, uses public and private keys. As their names suggest, the public key can be shared with other people, whereas the private key is known to the owner only. It should be emphasized that a cryptographic key is not the same as a password or a passphrase.
A Backdoor is definitely not the rear entrance of a building leading to a garden in cryptography. The term is one that refers to a method commonly used to bypass security or authentication. Two types of backdoors can be distinguished: explicit and implicit. The explicit backdoor is the one whose existence is known, whereas the implicit one is a backdoor that might remain undetected. Specialists also loudly discuss the safety of the so-called encryption backdoors that are deliberately left in encryption to make it possible for governments to access encrypted data belonging to suspected criminals.
Rainbow table attack
Do not let the word rainbow fool you – there is nothing cheerful or joyful about this type of attack. Instead, it is an attack that is used to reverse cryptographic hashes. Usually, it is used to crack password hashes using a rainbow hash table (a hash function used in cryptography). It differs from similar attacks hackers perform in the sense that it is mainly carried out offline.
To sum up, encryption can no doubt help make the Internet a less dangerous place and avoid privacy-related problems. It is everywhere in today’s world – even when you complete a payment in your Internet banking or purchase an item from Amazon. The peculiarities of the subject might seem to be quite complicated at times, but you should dig deeper into it as it is one of the most effective ways to ensure privacy. We hope the terms listed above will provide you with broader knowledge on encryption to secure network too.
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