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Modernity and technological advancements have popularized the use of computers. More people are embracing the use of devices that process data of different kinds to give meaningful results. Computers make work easy. Once they are given instructions, they process them. Computer network has made things even better since it enables computers to exchange information. For instance, the Internet enables computers to pass data through the network link that is provided. The ever-growing interaction that is facilitated through computer network has made it necessary for the network administrators to monitor and thus prevent an unauthorized access to computer network. Access to data and information in a network is only allowed to the authorized users. I am interested in the topic on “Computer and network security” because I would like to pursue a degree in Ethical hacking and computer security. I am interested in this area to provide solutions and it can only be possible once I obtain the necessary skills.
The use of computers has widely spread throughout the countries. Although the world is vast, people can access information from different parts of the world. However, as information and other data are exchanged amongst computers some people misuse the information or data. Other people also make modifications on the content that is exchanged for the personal benefit. Therefore, there are policies and provisions that network administrators have to adopt to ensure that the content in the Internet is protected from unauthorized users, some of whom might have bad intentions and cannot be trusted (Pfleeger & Pfleeger 2006). Network security ensures that the network is secured. Therefore, it protects the operations that go on in various computer networks. Such protection is necessary in communication and carrying out daily transactions.
The use of a unique name as identification and a corresponding password is the most common method used in protecting computer networks. The unique name is used as the user name. The user name and the password are used to gain an access to computer networks that do not allow free access. Such type of authentication is referred to as one-factor authentication. The two-factor authentication requires from the user to use a specific possession such as a cell phone or security token. The three-factor authentication, on the other hand, requires the user to use his/her body parts for scanning fingerprint or retina. Once authentication has been confirmed as valid, a network user is allowed to use the services being provided. Network security also ensures that there is privacy as people communicate over the Internet. Honeypots may also be used in network security. Usually, the honeypots are designed to appear as part of a specific network because they contain valuable information. However, they are traps to detect or divert the attention of attackers. If a network is large and diverse, more than one honeypot may be used since they are likely to attract a higher number of attackers.
How to Improve Network Security
Computer networks always face the threat of attacks by unauthorized people. Therefore, network administrators constantly work out the ways to improve network security. A combination of different strategies can be used for protection. The first step one should take is to encrypt information and pages that need to be kept private. However, concealing these pages is not enough; network administrators need to ensure that these requirements are kept as stringent as possible. In addition to encrypting pages and information, one should continuously carry out auditing and mapping of the network. To do this, one has to be conversant with basics such as firewall configurations, Ethernet cabling, routers and wireless access points. It will enable an individual to monitor the network’s connectivity path. Knowledge on these basics would enable a network administrator to identify areas that are exposed to security vulnerabilities. Therefore, a network administrator will be in a position to increase security and thus the network performance and reliability.
Network security can also be improved by ensuring that the network is kept up-to-date. Network administrators have to check software continuously and firmware updates on the entire network infrastructure. By doing so, network administrators would be in a position to make changes on configuration settings that are insecure and passwords that have defaults. Network administrators also have to collect information about hackers. It will enable the network administrators to know what hackers are up to and what they are capable of doing. The network administrators can respond to the possibilities of attacks by making software updates regularly. In addition to that, policies on network security should be put in writing so that all users of the networks can follow them to the latter (Quinn 2012). It will help reduce cases of complacency, which may expose the networks to attacks. This coupled with physical security can go a long in improving network security since cases, such as wireless access to the networks, are reduced.
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One of the main tasks of network administrators is to ensure network security. However, no network can be monitored perfectly to ensure that it is safe from viruses, attacks or identity and data theft. As time passes, more technological advancements are made. Network attackers are also not left behind as they continue sharpening their hacking skills. Since network administrators are yet to find ways of ensuring that network attackers are contained, they can employ the aforementioned strategies to make it difficult for unauthorized users and attackers to gain access to the networks. The aforementioned ways of improving network security serve as preventive measures. When these preventive measures are complemented with close monitoring of these networks, many gains can be registered as far as the issue of preventing network attacks is concerned. It should be noted that the world of computers is ever evolving. Therefore, network administrators have to improve their network security.