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Benefits & Pitfalls of firewalls in a network

Izunna Okpala

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network firewall

network firewallSecures a computer network from hostile intrusions.

Firewalls can monitor and record information. This can be of value in determining who is accessing what type of information.

Firewalls can be used to complement or supplement content and email filtering solutions.

 network firewall

Benefits

  • Secures a computer network from hostile intrusions.
  • Firewalls can monitor and record information. This can be of value in determining who is accessing what type of information.
  • Firewalls can be used to complement or supplement content and email filtering solutions.
  • Firewalls can automatically block most email viruses and malware attacks even before they start.
  • Firewalls can be set up to allow access for certain users to access certain information but prevent others from doing so.
  • Firewalls can also calculate usage of the internet, i.e. who spends most time using the internet and how this affects the performance of the network.
  • Some firewalls can cause constraints or bottlenecks on the network as they concentrate security in one area.
  • Organisations need to have a written policy or procedure that outlines what information can be accessed by employees and by whom. A firewall can be used to enforce these policies.

Pitfalls

  • Because firewalls inspect every piece of information transferred between users sending information or people downloading information from the Internet, they can slow down the network.
  • You have to bear in mind that running and managing a firewall can be costly in terms of resources and budget. There tend to be issues about who manages the firewall and who decides on the policies, i.e. who can access what information and what websites are appropriate or relevant to the organisational needs.
  • Firewalls cannot alert an administrator that pornographic material is being accessed so it is sometimes best to implement a content monitoring or filtering program as well.
  • Some firewalls claim to be proficient at protecting networks from virus attacks and other malware. This is generally not the case and the user needs to check how effective the firewall is or purchase third party antivirus software.
  • Firewalls can be restrictive in certain circumstances. If, for example, an email with an important attachment such as a business proposal is stopped by the firewall because it is deemed to be in breach of the company’s security policies, it might have an effect on the business.
  • If a firewall is installed incorrectly it can prevent users accessing important information on the internet.
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Network Security

Seychelles’ Intelvision is investing US$-25M in 5G Network

Izunna Okpala

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The mobile operator of Seychelles Intelvision says it will launch the 5G network of the country next year at a cost of US$ 25 million.

The company said with the help of China’s Huawei Technologies, it will roll out the network in June 2020.

Intelvision creator Mukesh Valabihji said the 5G network is going to cover 95% of the island nation, unlike the current 4 G network that only covers 50% of the region.

Valabihji added that the network would initially be launched in the capital city of Victoria and at the international airport, and later on.

He said that integrating state-of the-art technology, 5G should provide networks that are multitudes faster than current country connections with average download speeds of about 1Gbps. The company holds 65% of the residential internet users market in the country, according to Valabihji.

Valabihji was quoted by the local Seychelles Nation newspaper as saying “For Seychelles, what is more important is the after-service. Huawei has over 200 technicians based in Mauritius and many more in South Africa and so if there is a problem, someone can be here within 24 hours. And that is the agreement we have with them. It is a turkey project so they will do everything from start to finish until they hand over the whole system to us.”

Commenting on the development, Andrew Makanya, a telecom analyst at Computer Association of Zambia said the deployment of 5G network in Africa is becoming unstoppable and inevitable.

“Africa is moving faster in deploying the 5G network than industry experts thought or expected. Plans for the 5G network are already advanced in Zambia, Nigeria among other countries and now it’s Seychelles. South Africa already has the network in some places,” Makanya said.

A recent survey by GSMA Intelligence revealed that the adoption of 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa is inevitable as it will be part of the future digital landscape.

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Network Security

The Leading Cause Of security breaches

Izunna Okpala

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web application

Web applications are the leading cause of security incidents for financial services, according to the 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report; this is up from 31 percent from last year’s report.

Verizon describes web app attacks as any incident in which a web application was the vector of attack. This includes exploits of code-level vulnerabilities in the application as well as thwarting authentication mechanisms. Key findings of the 2016 DBIR highlighted the information and retail sectors as top industries, alongside financial services, under attack. The report also revealed that “the breaches within this pattern are heavily influenced by information gathered by contributors involved in the Dridex botnet takedown. Hundreds of breaches involving social attacks on customers, followed by the Dridex malware and subsequent use of credentials captured by keyloggers, dominate the actions. Defacements are still commonplace and CMS plugins are also a fruitful attack point.”

“This is why web application security matters,” says Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited, a South African value-added distributor of converged technology-, data centre-, networking-, and security technology solutions, operating throughout Africa. “Victim demographics range far and wide, and when it comes to having your data compromised, no country, industry or business is bulletproof.”

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Network Security

What Is Network Sniffing?

Izunna Okpala

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hacking2

Network sniffing is a method of using specialized hardware and software to access information that isn’t being sent to someone or analyzing networks to which individuals don’t have legitimate access. Most sniffers work by analyzing data packets. Depending on which type of network sniffing is being used, the sniffer can read these packets both inside and outside a network. While network sniffing does have several legitimate uses, it is generally associated with the hacking community.

After information is sent over a network, it is broken up into packets. These packets contain a small amount of the information, the addresses of the receiver and sender and some technical data. Specialized hardware or software can intercept and copy these packets. Once she has a copy, a user is able to open the packet and read the information and addresses.

When done from inside a network, this is usually an internal security and troubleshooting method. System administrators will randomly monitor packets to make sure that the intended addressee is not attempting to circumvent Internet security protocols or access blocked locations. With this form of network sniffing, typically only the addresses are read.

If used as an internal network troubleshooting method, packets are analyzed in streams, often from across an entire network switch. Packets are checked for degradation in data or missing sequences. If there are any problems, then the network likely has a faulty piece of hardware. Additional locations are tested using similar methods until the faulty piece is found.

External network sniffing has two basic areas; wireless and wired. Wireless sniffing involves physically moving around and looking for wireless hotspots. Packet analyzers are used on outgoing information across the wireless system to find the types of hardware used for broadcast. It is then possible to find its default login information and access the security capabilities and vulnerabilities of that specific piece of hardware.

Wired sniffing is usually done for one of two reasons. The more common reason is to attempt to find information related to the network that the packets originate from or are destined to go to. By analyzing the addresses and packet information, a person can learn about internal network hardware and specific addresses. This may highlight a security vulnerability or a previously unknown method of entering the network.

The other main reason to intercept wired packets is for information theft. The packets contain a small amount of information. While this information is lightly encoded, it is far from secure. People can open the packets and search through the data for important information. Some systems have greater internal security, such as online credit card systems, that prevent data from being stolen in this manner.

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