Stability Networks Blog

Network Security Solutions

Lee Lovell - Friday, September 09, 2011

85: the percent of email sent that is spam. 8600: the number of new malicious websites created each day. 1500: the price some organizations charge to send out 32 million spam emails. 1,300,000,000: the number of attempts to infect someone’s computer a year.

The numbers are staggering and the threat is real: cybercriminals are working hard to take control of your computer and compromise its security. The numbers are increasing but so are the solutions available to combat these problems.

Prevention and cure are the focus of these solutions. Things such as firewalls and anti-viruses are designed to constantly monitor a system or network malicious activity and stop it from causing any problem. These programs also provide a cure to remove the problem if it somehow makes it on to your system.

In this piece, we will look at four different security solutions, what they do and what they protect against. Whether it is a business looking to secure a critical network infrastructure or an individual looking to keep their workstation running well, following these guidelines will ensure that your computer can endure the constant attacks of cyber criminals around the world.

OpenDNS:

When you go to a website, a DNS server helps direct traffic to the correct place (more information on Wikipedia). Normally your internet server provider does this but OpenDNS replaces it, allowing you more control. As an organization dedicated to DNS services, they focus a lot on security. It can prevent users from accidentally accessing bad websites and downloading malicious files. It also prevents any software that might have made it on to the computer from communicating with the outside world and thus often preventing its spread.  OpenDNS also improves employee productivity.  OpenDNS can be configured to allow or disallow access to specific web sites (e.g. prevent access to social media sites like Facebook or MySpace).

Here is an example of a threat that OpenDNS protects against:

Botnets

  • A botnet is a type of malware that allows a command and control server to take control of a computer, effectively rendering it a “zombie” system. Once a computer is taken over by a botnet, it might be used unsuspectingly to attack other computers or distribute spam emails.

Anti-virus and anti-malware:

This security solution is one of the most important. Software like AVG Anti-Virus and Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware Pro both provide real-time monitoring to help prevent malicious software from infecting a computer. Extensive virus definitions help these programs to remove any malicious software if it did get on the computer. To understand why these are so important, click this link.The following are types of threats that anti-virus and anti-malware software protects against:

Computer viruses

  • A computer virus is defined as piece of software that is designed to infect a computer and then spread to another computer. The virus will often overload system resources making a computer difficult to use.

Rogue security software

  • Rogue security software will pose as legitimate anti-virus software stating that the computer is infected and that only they can remove the problem. They are, if fact, the problem that needs removed because if it is installed, it will reduce the functionality of your computer and often display unsolicited advertisements. Click this link to learn more about rogue security software.

Firewall:

A firewall is the first line of defense in securing a network. Like a moat around a castle, a firewall keeps unauthorized connections from getting into an internal network. Placed before an internal network, a firewall uses a predefined set of rules to keep bad traffic out and allow legitimate traffic to pass through, keeping the network safe.

Here is an example of a threat that a firewall protects against:

IP spoofing

  • IP spoofing is the creation of internet packets with forged address for the intent of concealing the identity of the sender. When data packets are sent across the internet, it contains, among other things, the address of the source and the address of the destination. Hackers use IP spoofing to fool a network into believing that the malicious data they are sending is from a trusted source.

Email Security Software

Email security software helps protect your email inbox from spam and malware. Email security software is set up to work in line with a company’s email vendor to filter emails before they get to the users inbox. Email is a common way for malware to spread and email security software helps stop that.

Here is an example of a type of threat that email security software protects against:

Phishing scams

  • Phishing is described as a way to acquire personal information such as usernames, passwords and bank details by impersonating a trusted source. Used as a type of social engineering, phishing emails often look and feel of legitimate company communication but will ask a user to enter their credentials to prevent something bad from happening. Spelling errors are a common way to detect this of scam.

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