Any kind of unauthorized or forced activity on a digital network is known as network intrusion. These activities are almost always conducted to breach the security of the network and steal or cause damage to the data. These days companies and online brands are the main focus of these cyber-attacks, however individuals are equally prone and at risk. To properly deal with this, individuals as well as companies should have diligent cybersecurity in place.
In the case of the companies, it is recommended that a cybersecurity team be hired according to the size of the organization’s digital footprint. This team’s sole purpose is to understand how these intrusions are conducted and then devise detection and prevention systems accordingly. Once a foolproof security system is set up, the online activity needs to be monitored 24/7 to ensure that everything is running smoothly. However, in case a breach happens and it will, the team should be equipped to deal with such a situation and devise a strategy to prevent it in the future.
If you are an individual subscribed to an internet service like Optimum internet or some other residential internet service at your house then of course you cannot afford a security team. However, that does not mean you cannot keep your network and data security. To name a few off the top of my head would be to limit the access to your Wi-Fi network by using a password, installing antivirus software in all your devices that are connected to the internet, and using a VPN software to encrypt all the data sent and received over the internet.
For this article, we are going to focus on the threats faced by companies and how they can tackle them. Therefore, to get started we will look at some of the most common types of attack techniques to breach network security and access confidential data. Then we will move on to discuss the ways to detect and prevent such attacks.
Network Intrusion Attacks
One of the simplest and yet the deadliest network intrusion systems is known as worms. A worm is a computer virus that spreads through instant messaging or email attachments. The virus can use large volumes of network resources and can hinder authorized activity. Some worms can actively go after certain types of confidential information, for example, financial information or any kind of personal data relating to social security numbers.
- Traffic Flooding
To conduct this attack, intruders would create so much traffic that the network is unable to properly examine it. The congestion and chaos will cause the network to lack and give the intruders enough time to breach the network without being noticed.
- Trojan Horse Malware
Trojan horses seem harmless on the outside and they do not multiply like worms or viruses. However, they are no less when it comes to damage. They create a sort of a network backdoor that hackers can use to gain unrestricted access to your network and consequently all your confidential data. Trojan horses can be present even in files coming from sources you trust, e.g. your colleagues.
Also known as asymmetric routing, it is essentially the use of more than one route to access a network. Hackers use this method to avoid being detected by the intrusion sensors by sending in data packets through different sections of the network. Networks not configured for multi-routing remain unaffected by this attack.
- Protocol Specific Attacks
Every device on the planet uses a certain set of rules to function. These rules are known as protocols that include ARP, ICMP, or IP, etc. Such protocols can leave loopholes in the system for hackers to take advantage of. Widely known as spoofing the hackers impersonate these protocols to gain access to your network and therefore your data. They can not only steal data but also cause devices to crash.
- Buffer Overflow Attacks
This is a way of overwriting normal data in certain parts of your computer’s memory with a string of commands that can be used to aid a cyberattack later. If you have boundary checking logic in place then it may become difficult for hackers to execute this since malicious strings will not be saved to the buffer.
- Furtive Common Gateway Interface Scripts
All the interaction over the web between clients and servers happens through the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). This allows hackers to access secured networks and data that would not be accessible otherwise. Wherever back-tracking does not require verification or scan, intruders can simply add a directory label (“..”) or a pipe label (“│”) to the pathname of any file using convert CGI.
Intrusion Detection Methods
There are two methods of detecting intrusion in your network, as discussed below.
- Anomaly Based Method
This method was introduced to detect unknown malware attacks due to the rapid development of malware. The idea is to create an activity model that the machine can trust and uses to measure unknown activity. A certain activity that does not fit the model is declared malicious. Even the model can be trained it is susceptible to false alarms about harmless activity and allowing the previously unknown malicious activity.
- Signature Based Method
This method uses predefined criteria to detect malicious activity. These criteria are based upon previous traffic and identified malware attack patterns known as signatures. Even though this method is great for detecting known attack signatures, unknown patterns can go undetected and cause much damage.
Intrusion Prevention Systems
The following three systems can be used to prevent the above mentioned malicious activity from affecting your network.
- Network-Based Intrusion Prevention
This system conducts a thorough protocol analysis to closely examine the entire network for any unusual traffic.
- Host-Based Intrusion Prevention
This a software package installed to keep a check on a single host for any suspicious activity by examining and analyzing the host’s activity.
- Wireless Intrusion Prevention
This method scans your wireless network protocols for any suspicious activity.
Now that you know how intruders can crack the security of your network and how you can detect it, you must ensure the use of the above-mentioned prevention methods to keep your network free of intrusions.