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Introduction To Network Security - Part 1

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Introduction

By Sahir Hidayatullah - Firewall.cx Security Advisor

As more and more people and businesses have begun to use computer networks and the Internet, the need for a secure computing environment has never been greater. Right now, information security professionals are in great demand and the importance of the field is growing every day. All the industry leaders have been placing their bets on security in the last few years.

All IT venodors agree today that secure computing is no longer an optional component, it is something that should be integrated into every system rather than being thrown in as an afterthought. Usually programmers would concentrate on getting a program working, and then (if there was time) try and weed out possible security holes.

Now, applications must be coded from the ground up with security in mind, as these applications will be used by people who expect the security and privacy of their data to be maintained.

This article intends to serve as a very brief introduction to information security with an emphasis on networking.

The reasons for this are twofold:

Firstly, in case you did not notice.. this is a networking website,

Secondly, the time a system is most vulnerable is when it is connected to the Internet.

For an understanding of what lies in the following pages, you should have decent knowledge of how the Internet works. You don't need to know the ins and outs of every protocol under the sun, but a basic understanding of network (and obviously computer) fundamentals is essential.

If you're a complete newbie however, do not despair. We would recommend you look under the Networking menu at the top of the site...where you will find our accolade winning material on pretty much everything in networking.

Hacker or Cracker?

There is a very well worn out arguement against using the incorrect use of the word 'hacker' to denote a computer criminal -- the correct term is a 'cracker' or when referring to people who have automated tools and very little real knowledge, 'script kiddie'. Hackers are actually just very adept programmers (the term came from 'hacking the code' where a programmer would quickly program fixes to problems he faced).

While many feel that this distinction has been lost due to the media portraying hackers as computer criminals, we will stick to the original definitions through these articles more than anything to avoid the inevitable flame mail we will get if we don't !

On to the Cool Stuff!

This introduction is broadly broken down into the following parts :

• The Threat to Home Users
• The Threat to the Enterprise
• Common Security Measures Explained
• Intrusion Detection Systems
• Tools an Attacker Uses
• What is Penetration-Testing?
• A Brief Walk-through of an Attack
• Where Can I Find More Information?
• Conclusion

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