In the computing world, encryption is the conversion of data from a readable format into an encoded format that can only be read or processed after it’s been decrypted.
Encryption is the basic building block of data security and is the simplest and most important way to ensure a computer system’s information can’t be stolen and read by someone who wants to use it for nefarious means.
Utilized by both individual users and large corporations, encryption is widely used on the internet to ensure the sanctity of user information that’s sent between a browser and a server.
That information could include everything from payment data to personal information. Firms of all sizes typically use encryption to protect sensitive data on their servers and databases.
The Need for Encryption
Beyond the obvious benefit of protecting private information from being stolen or compromised, encryption also provides a means of proving that information is authentic and comes from the point of origin it claims to come from. It can be used to verify the origin of a message and confirm that it hasn’t been altered during transmission.
The Key to the Door
The basics of encryption revolve around the concept of encryption algorithms and “keys.” When information is sent, it’s encrypted using an algorithm and can only be decoded by using the appropriate key. A key could be stored on the receiving system, or it could be transmitted along with the encrypted data.
A number of methods are used to code and decode information, and those methods evolve as computer software and methods for intercepting and stealing information continue to change. These methods include:
Symmetric Key Cipher: Also known as a secret key algorithm, this is a singular method of decoding the message that must be provided to the receiver before the message can be decoded. The key used to encode is the same as the one used to decode, which makes it best for individual users and closed systems. Otherwise, the key has to be sent to the receiver, which increases the risk of compromise if it’s intercepted by a third party, such as a hacker. The benefit is that this method is much faster than the asymmetric method.
Asymmetric Cryptography: This method uses two different keys — public and private — that are linked together mathematically. The keys are essentially just large numbers that have been paired with each other but aren’t identical, hence the term asymmetric. The public key can be shared with anyone, but the private key must remain a secret. Both can be used to encrypt a message, and the opposite key from the one originally used to encrypt that message is then used to decode it.
Network security is the security provided to a network from unauthorized access and risks. It is the duty of network administrators to adopt preventive measures to protect their networks from potential security threats.
Computer networks that are involved in regular transactions and communication within the government, individuals, or business require security. The most common and simple way of protecting a network resource is by assigning it a unique name and a corresponding password.
Types of Network Security Devices
These security devices block the surplus traffic. Firewalls, antivirus scanning devices, and content filtering devices are the examples of such devices.
These devices identify and report on unwanted traffic, for example, intrusion detection appliances.
These devices scan the networks and identify potential security problems. For example, penetration testing devices and vulnerability assessment appliances.
Unified Threat Management (UTM)
These devices serve as all-in-one security devices. Examples include firewalls, content filtering, web caching, etc.
A firewall is a network security system that manages and regulates the network traffic based on some protocols. A firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and the internet.
Firewalls exist both as software that run on a hardware and as hardware appliances. Firewalls that are hardware-based also provide other functions like acting as a DHCP server for that network.
Most personal computers use software-based firewalls to secure data from threats from the internet. Many routers that pass data between networks contain firewall components and conversely, many firewalls can perform basic routing functions.
Firewalls are commonly used in private networks or intranets to prevent unauthorized access from the internet. Every message entering or leaving the intranet goes through the firewall to be examined for security measures.
An ideal firewall configuration consists of both hardware and software based devices. A firewall also helps in providing remote access to a private network through secure authentication certificates and logins.
Hardware and Software Firewalls
Hardware firewalls are standalone products. These are also found in broadband routers. Most hardware firewalls provide a minimum of four network ports to connect other computers. For larger networks − e.g., for business purpose − business networking firewall solutions are available.
Software firewalls are installed on your computers. A software firewall protects your computer from internet threats.
An antivirus is a tool that is used to detect and remove malicious software. It was originally designed to detect and remove viruses from computers.
Modern antivirus software provide protection not only from virus, but also from worms, Trojan-horses, adwares, spywares, keyloggers, etc. Some products also provide protection from malicious URLs, spam, phishing attacks, botnets, DDoS attacks, etc.
Content filtering devices screen unpleasant and offensive emails or webpages. These are used as a part of firewalls in corporations as well as in personal computers. These devices generate the message “Access Denied” when someone tries to access any unauthorized web page or email.
Content is usually screened for pornographic content and also for violence- or hate-oriented content. Organizations also exclude shopping and job related contents.
Content filtering can be divided into the following categories −
Screening of Web sites or pages
Screening of e-mail for spam
Other objectionable content
Intrusion Detection Systems
Intrusion Detection Systems, also known as Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems, are the appliances that monitor malicious activities in a network, log information about such activities, take steps to stop them, and finally report them.
Intrusion detection systems help in sending an alarm against any malicious activity in the network, drop the packets, and reset the connection to save the IP address from any blockage. Intrusion detection systems can also perform the following actions −
Correct Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) errors
Prevent TCP sequencing issues
Clean up unwanted transport and network layer options
5G, the next generation of telecommunications technology, has security engineered into its very foundation. That includes the radio access network, or RAN, which lets users onto the network. It also includes network core, responsible for authentication, encryption, and digital traffic management.
The prior generation of mobile, 4G, has operated for almost 10 years without any major security issues. 5G makes use of 4G’s best defensive technology, while adding new innovations that make it even more secure.
Glenn Schloss of Huawei looks at the features of 5G that will improve on the previous generation of wireless technology, and explains why 5G will deliver a more secure communications environment.