Need for Network Security

In the past, hackers were highly skilled programmers who understood the intricacies of computer communications and how to exploit vulnerabilities. Today almost anyone can become a hacker by downloading tools from the Internet. These sophisticated attack tools and generally open networks have generated an increased need for network security and dynamic security policies.

The easiest way to protect a network from an outside attack is to close it off completely from the outside world. A closed network provides connectivity only to trusted known parties and sites; a closed network does not allow a connection to public networks. Figure 1-16 shows an example of a closed network.

Because they have no Internet connectivity, networks designed in this way can be considered safe from Internet attacks. However, internal threats still exist. The CSI in San Francisco, California, estimates that 60 to 80 percent of network misuse comes from inside the enterprise where the misuse has taken place.

Today, corporate networks require access to the Internet and other public networks. Most of these networks have several access points to public and other private networks, as shown in Figure 1-17. Securing open networks is important.

Figure 1-16 Closed Network

Figure 1-16 Closed Network

As previously mentioned, one of the challenges to security is that hacking a network has become easier for those with little or no computer skills. Figure 1-18 illustrates how the increasing sophistication of hacking tools and the decreasing skill needed to use these tools have combined to pose increasing threats to open networks.

Figure 1-17 Open Network

Figure 1-17 Open Network

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Figure 1-18 Hacking Skills Matrix

High

Figure 1-18 Hacking Skills Matrix

High

Sophistication of Hacker Tools

Technical

Knowledge

Required

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