Posts Tagged Network Security

Enterprise Network Security: Zero Trust Security Or VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Networking. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic in real time and disguise your online identity. This makes it difficult for third parties to track your online activities and steal data.

How Does VPN Work?

A VPN hides an IP address by letting the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. This states that when surfing online with VPN, the VPN server acts as the source of your data. Due to this, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties cannot see the websites you visit or data you send or receive.

Benefits Of VPN:

  • Secure Encryption: VPN ensures secure encryption of data transmitted and received. User requires an encryption key to read the data. This makes it difficult for the hackers or third parties to decipher the data, even if they corrupt the network.
  • Disguise The Location: VPN servers act as a proxy for you on the internet. This ensures that the actual location of the user is not determined. Additionally, most VPN services do not store activity log which further ensures that no information about user behavior is passed on to hackers or third parties.
  • Secure Data Transfer: As the trend of working remotely is gaining popularity, secure data transfer has become immensely important. Organizations can make use of VPN servers to ensure the security of data being transmitted and reduce the risks of data leakage.

Zero Trust Security

Main tenet of “zero trust security” is that vulnerabilities can appear if businesses are too trusting of individuals. This model maintains that no user, even if allowed on the network, should be trusted by default because it may lead to end point being compromised.

How Does Zero Trust Security Work?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is an important aspect of Zero Trust Security model. ZTNA uses identity based authentication to establish trust before providing access while keeping the network location (IP address) hidden. ZTNA secures the environment by identifying anomalous behavior such as attempted access to restricted data or downloads of unusual amounts of data at unusual time or from unusual location.

Benefits OF Zero Trust Security:

  • Increased Resource Access Visibility: Zero Trust Security model provides organizations better visibility into who accesses what resources for what reasons and understand the measures that should be applied to secure resources.
  • Decreased Attack Surface: As Zero Trust Security model shifts the focus to securing individual resources, it reduces the risk of cyber-attacks that target network perimeter.
  • Improved Monitoring: Zero Trust Security model includes the deployment of a solution for continuous monitoring and logging of asset states and user activity. This helps in detection of potential threats in a timely manner.

Zero Trust and VPN are both types of network security and although they seem to have different approaches, these can be used in conjunction for a comprehensive security strategy. Organizations can use Zero Trust concepts and VPNs to delineate clear network perimeter and then create secure zones within the network.

At Centex Technologies, we recommend network security protocols and solutions to formulate an effective network security strategy. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Protecting Your Computer Network: Tips To Configure Firewall

Firewall is a critical part of first line of defense against online attacks. This makes configuring firewall an important step for ensuring network security. Breaking down the process of firewall configuration into simpler steps can make the process more manageable.

Following are some crucial steps for firewall configuration irrespective of the firewall platform:

Ensure Firewall Is Secure: Securing firewall is the first step towards configuration and management of firewall. So, make sure to –

  • Disable simple network management protocol (SNMP)
  • Rename, disable or delete any default user account and modify default passwords.
  • Establish additional administrator accounts based on responsibilities, specifically if firewall will be managed by multiple administrators.

Create Firewall Zones & Corresponding IP Addresses: The more zones you establish, the higher will be network security. Before proceeding to defend valuable assets, it is first important to identify these assets and then plan out network structure to position networks based on functionality and data sensitivity. Now design a secure structure and create equivalent IP address structure. The next step is to architect firewall zones and allocate them to firewall interfaces.

Configure Access Control Lists (ACLs): After firewall zones have been created and allocated to firewall interfaces, the next step is to determine the traffic that will flow in and out of each zone. This is facilitated by Access Control Lists. Use both outbound & inbound ACLs to each interface and sub-interface on the network firewall.

Configure Other Firewall Services To Required Standards: Depending upon the chosen firewall platform and its abilities such as Intrusion Prevention System, Network Time Protocol, DHCP, etc, configure relevant firewall services and disable additional services.

Conduct Network Firewall Configuration Tests: Test the firewall configuration to testing and verify that the firewall is working as expected. Include both penetration testing and vulnerability scanning to test firewall configuration.

Constant Firewall Management: After completing firewall configuration, ensure secure firewall management. Take following steps to effectively manage firewall –

  • Perform Vulnerability Scans
  • Monitor Logs
  • Regularly Review Firewall Rules
  • Update Firmware
  • Document Progress

In addition to these crucial steps, implement following additional tips for firewall configuration:

  • Fulfill standard regulatory mandates
  • Frequently change configuration settings
  • Set default setting to block all traffic and monitor user access
  • Establish & use secure connection only

For more information on tips on how to protect your computer network from cyber-attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Understanding Network Security Threats

What Is A Network Security Attack?

A network security attack is an action or attempt aimed at gaining unauthorized access to an organization’s network. The objective of these attacks is to steal data or perform other malicious activity. Network attacks can be classified into two main types:

  • Passive Attack: In this type of attacks, attackers gain access to the organization’s network and monitor or steal data but without making any change to the data.
  • Active Attack: In an active attack, attackers not only gain unauthorized access to the data but also modify data by deleting, encrypting, or otherwise harming it.

The main focus of network security attackers is to bypass peripheral security of an organization and gain access to internal systems. But in some cases, attackers may combine other types of attacks such as endpoint compromise, malware induction, etc.

What Are Common Network Security Threats?

The types of network security threats are defined by the threat vectors used by the network security attackers to penetrate the network:

  • Unauthorized Access: The attackers gain access to the network without receiving legitimate permission. Some causes of unauthorized access are weak passwords, insufficient protection against social engineering, compromised accounts, and insider threats.
  • Distributed Denial of Service Attacks: Attacks build a network of bots and compromised devices to direct false traffic at the organization’s network or server. This overwhelms the server resulting in interruption of security layers.
  • Man In The Middle Attack: It involves interception of traffic between organization’s network and external sites. If the communication is insecure, attackers can circumvent the security and steal the data being transmitted.
  • Code & SQL Injection Attacks: Many websites accept user inputs through forms but do not sanitize them. Attackers fill out these forms or make an API call, passing malicious code instead of expected data values. Once the code is executed, it allows attackers to compromise the network.

What Are The Best Practices To Stay Protected Against Network Security Threats?

Following are some best practices to stay protected against network security threats:

  • Segregate the organization’s network
  • Regulate internet access via proxy server
  • Place security devices correctly
  • Use network address translation
  • Monitor network traffic
  • Use deception technology

For more information on things to know about network security threats, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Network Security Tools

The importance of data in business growth is imperative; however, network holds equal importance as it facilitates the flow of data. This makes it important to secure the organizational network to protect data as well as secure network endpoints. Thus, organizations need to implement effective network security and network visibility strategy.

Here is a list of network security tools that can help organizations in securing their network against security attacks:

  • Access Control: The best way to control damage caused by threat actors is to keep them out of the network. In addition to limiting the access of outside threats, it is equally important to take care of insider threats. Access control tools help organizations in keeping out threat actors and limiting user access to network areas that directly apply to user’s responsibilities.
  • Anti-Malware Software: Malware including virus, trojans, worms, keyloggers, spyware, etc. are designed to spread across computer systems and infect an organization’s network. Anti-malware tools assist organizations in identifying, controlling and resolving malware infections to minimize the damage caused to network.
  • Anomaly Detection: In order to detect anomalies in a network, it is first important to understand usual operations of the network. Network security tools such as Anomaly Detection Engines (ADE) allow organizations in analyzing a network, so that when and if any anomaly or network breach occurs, the IT team will be alerted quickly enough to limit the damage.
  • Application Security: Most cyber attackers consider applications to be a defensive vulnerability that can be exploited to cause network disruptions. Including application security tools can help organizations in establishing security parameters for applications.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Threat actors tend to use humans to cause data breach or network security breach. DLP technologies and policies help in protecting the employees and other users from misusing or possibly compromising sensitive data or allowing data flow out of the network at any of the endpoints.
  • Email Security: Email security tools are another set of network security tools that help organizations in minimizing human-related security weaknesses. Hackers or cyber criminals persuade employees to share sensitive information or inadvertently download malware into targeted network via phishing strategies. Email security tools assist organizations in identifying dangerous emails and blocking attacks.
  • Endpoint Security: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture has become highly integrated in organizations to an extent that it has become tough to distinguish between personal and business devices. Cyber attackers take this as an opportunity and attack personal devices to launch a network security attack. Endpoint security tools add a layer of defense between remote devices and business networks.

For more information on network security tools, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Different Areas Of Cyber Security

Cyber security strategies aim at protecting any user or organization’s inter-connected systems, hardware, software, and data from cyber attacks. Absence of stringent cyber security strategies can offer an opportunity for hackers to access the computer system and network and misuse organization’s data such as trade secrets, customer data, etc.

In order to formulate an efficient cyber security strategy, it is imperative to pay heed to all areas of cyber security.

Following are different areas of cyber security:

  • Critical Infrastructure Security: This area of critical infrastructure security consists of cyber-physical systems that modern societies rely on. Some examples of such systems include electricity grid, water purification, traffic lights, shopping centers, hospitals, etc. Hackers can attack the vulnerable infrastructure systems to gain access to connected devices. Organizations which are responsible for managing the infrastructure systems should perform due diligence to understand the vulnerabilities for society’s safety. Other organizations which are not responsible for the systems but rely on them for some part of their business operations should develop contingency plans to be prepared for any cyber attack or network breach that can be launched via an infrastructure system.
  • Application Security: It is one of the most important areas of cyber security strategies of an organization. The branch of application security uses both software and hardware methods to tackle external threats that can arise in development or implementation stage of an application. As applications are majorly accessible over network, they are highly vulnerable. Thus, it becomes highly important to include application security in cyber security strategy of an organization. Types of application security include antivirus programs, firewalls, and encryption programs. Application security techniques ensure that unauthorized access to applications is prevented. Also, these techniques can help organizations in detecting sensitive data sets and implementing relevant measures to protect these data sets.
  • Network Security: This area of cyber security guards an organization against unauthorized intrusion of internal networks due to malicious intent. Network security protocols inhibit access to internal networks by protecting the infrastructure. For better management of network security monitoring, network security teams use machine learning to flag abnormal traffic and issue threat alerts in real time. Common examples of network security protocols include multi-level logins, password security, etc.
  • Cloud Security: Cloud security is a software-based security tool that monitors and protects organizational or personal data stored in cloud resources. Increasing use of cloud services has made way for stringent cloud security strategies.
  • IoT Security: IoT devices can be highly vulnerable and open to cyber security attacks for numerous reasons including unawareness of users. Threat actors target IoT’s data centers, analytics, consumer devices, networks, legacy embedded systems and connectors. So, organizations have to implement stringent IoT security protocols.

For more information on different areas of cyber security, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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