Network Security FAQ

Network Security FAQ

Risks to the Network

Risks to computers connected to a network

  • What are some of the threats that the school face?
  • Legacy infrastructure is a significant threat because maintaining on-premise servers will leave the school vulnerable if the network is compromised (Cox Business, 2018). Older hardware might have security flaws that can be manipulated and can be used to get deeper into the school’s network (Cox Business, 2018). Cyberattacks are another significant threat to the school, and the scale and complexity of the attacks will keep increasing. A lot of schools don’t have people who are up-to-date with maintaining online security so lack of training can be a treat to the school’s network (Cox Business, 2018).
  • How do schools fix some of those threats?
  • Switching over to a cloud-based server will help solve the legacy infrastructure (Cox Business, 2018). A cloud-based system will also provide the school with many benefits like protecting the students’ personal information (Cox Business, 2018). Layering the school’s security strategies with customized and advanced solutions will help protect the school from many cyberattacks (Cox Business, 2018). The school should provide the students with resources and training to help them understand the impacts of their actions when online.
  • What are some other ways to improve the school’s network?
  • Most schools tend to have a limited budget, and it isn’t easy for a school to keep their network secure. Schools need ways to secure their networks without breaking the bank. These improvements should be easy to accomplish without having training although training is recommended. Below is a list of ways that the school can use to keep their network and information safe:
    • Use a service set identifier (SSID) and make sure to hide it if the school is using a wireless network.
    • Use AP encryption on wireless access points
    • All PC should have antivirus software
    • Use a virtual private network or VPN as the access point to their local LAN
    • Use whole disk encryption
    • Schedule regular off-site backups

Ways to protect the network

  • What are some risks that the computers might face?
  • One risk to the computers is called phishing. Phishing is a type of fraud where the attacker masquerades either as a reputable entity, person in an email, or other forms of communications (Rouse, Cobb, & Loshin, 2017). The attacker can use phishing emails to send out malicious links or attachments that can extract login credentials, account information and many other things (Rouse, Cobb, & Loshin, 2017). Some other risks are viruses, spyware, and exposure to hackers.
  • What are viruses?
  • A computer virus is a malicious code that can spread through a computer by copying itself to other programs (Rouse, Wright, & Harris, 2016). Most viruses require someone either unknowingly or knowingly to spread them (Rouse, Wright, & Harris, 2016). Viruses can be spread by opening an email attachment, clicking on executable files, visiting infected websites, viewing infected online ads, and infected USBs (Rouse, Wright, & Harris, 2016). Antivirus programs usually take care of the viruses.
  • What is a hacker?
  • A hacker is someone who uses a computer, network, and other skills to solve technical problems (Rouse, Sjoholm, & Rosencrance, 2017). Hackers can refer to anyone with technical skills, but in this case, it is a person who gains unauthorized access to networks or systems by using their skills to commit crimes (Rouse, Sjoholm, & Rosencrance, 2017). Hackers can be very dangerous to schools because they can get ahold of faculty and student information and steal their identities. Most high-quality antivirus software also comes with anti-hacking software. The school should also teach their students and teachers to not open attachments from suspicious emails, don’t download unknown software, and don’t send banking logins or credit card numbers by email (Avast, 2018).

Ways to protect individual computers

  • What are some security threats that the school might face?
  • Protection against security threats should be a top priority, especially at a school because they have a lot of information about their faculty, students, and even the student’s parents. If someone where to get ahold of this information, it could potentially ruin someone’s life. Viruses and worms are a big network concern and are the building blocks for more advanced cyber threats (SecurityFirst, 2018). Another security threat is drive-by download attacks. Drive-by downloads are a type of attack that allows malicious code to be downloaded through a browser, app, or integrated OS (SecurityFirst, 2018). It is best to teach the staff and students to not go to websites or download files they do not trust.
  • What are some additional ways to secure the school’s network?
  • One way to make sure your network is secure is to keep patches and updates. Hackers like to look for vulnerabilities in operating systems, software applications, browser plug-ins, and web browsers so they can get into your network (Berry, 2012). The best thing is to keep the computers updated regularly (Berry, 2012). Another way is to secure the VPN. Some schools have open networks so having a secure VPN is very important. The school should also use a firewall to separate the VPN network from the rest of the network (Berry, 2012).
  • Should the school hire an IT security team?
  • Hiring an IT security team would be very beneficial to the school because they know how to care for the computer and can protect the network from possible threats. Hiring an IT security team can be very costly, and since schools have limited funds, some might not be able to hire their own team. Schools might want to think about training some teachers on the basics of protecting the school’s network, and this way would probably cost less. Schools can also teach the students about computer and network safety, so they don’t accidentally download a corrupted file or go to an unsecured website.

Three specific software programs

  • What is a firewall?
  • A firewall is a type of firmware that can enforce a set of rules about which data packets will be allowed to leave or enter the network (Rouse, Clark, & Cobb, 2018). Firewalls are usually included with many networked devices to help filter traffic and lower the risk of malicious packets (Rouse, Clark, & Cobb, 2018). Firewalls can also be purchased as stand-alone software applications (Rouse, Clark, & Cobb, 2018). There are two main types of firewalls which are host-based and network-based, but there are other types such as packet-filtering, stateful inspection, proxy, and next generation (Rouse, Clark, & Cobb, 2018).
  • What is antivirus software?
  • Antivirus software helps to detect, prevent, and remove malicious software (Landesman, 2018). At the core of antivirus software, it has a signature-based malware detection software and a virus signature that is a unique segment of code in the malware (Landesman, 2018). Today most antivirus software has more dynamic behavioral-based and intrusion prevention technologies (Landesman, 2018). It is also good to have a layered security approach even with some of the high-quality antivirus software to help catch the malware that goes undetected.
  • What is system hardening?
  • System hardening helps to eliminate as many security risks as possible (Christensson, 2006). This is done by removing all the non-essential software and utilities from the computer (Christensson, 2006). Some advanced system hardening might involve reformatting the hard drive and only installing what is necessary for the computer to function (Christensson, 2006). File and print sharing is also turned off if they aren’t necessary and the admin account is renamed, and secure passwords are created for user logins (Christensson, 2006).

Avast. (n.d.). Hacker. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avast.com/c-hacker

  • What are three antivirus software?
  • Three antivirus software that I recommend are AVG, Avast, and Norton. AVG Antivirus was developed by AVG Technologies which was acquired by Avast in 2016. The free package of AVG stops viruses, spyware, and other malware, blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments, scans for PC performance problems, and you get real-time security updates (AVG, 2018). Avast also has free antivirus can it can detect and block viruses, phishing, and other types of malware, use CyberCapture to send suspicious files into the cloud for analysis, it can detect weaknesses in your Wi-Fi, and fills in the cracks that allow malware to slip in (Avast, 2018). Norton Antivirus was developed by Symantec Corporation, and they offer packages with LifeLock and Norton Secure VPN (Norton, 2018).
  • What are the prices of the antivirus software mentioned above?
  • AVG and Avast offer a free software, but they have very basic security. The best of AVG is called AVG Ultimate, and it is $99.99 per year, and it comes with every type of protection AVG has to offer (AVG, 2018). There is also AVG Antivirus Business Edition that starts at $44.99 per year, and it is built around what a business might need to protect themselves (AVG, 2018). Avast Ultimate has all four of Avast’s top-ranged security, privacy, and performance apps and it costs $119.99 per year for one computer (Avast, 2018). Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus includes firewall, Cybercapture, VPN, password manager, and many more programs and it costs $47.99 for one device per year (Avast, 2018). Norton Security Premium + Norton Secure VPN usually costs $149.98 for 10 devices per year, but of the first year, it only cost $89.98 (Norton, 2018).
  • Which Operating Systems are compatible to run these antivirus programs?
  • All the antivirus program I mentioned are all compatible with Windows, MacOS, and iOS. The system requirements for the antivirus programs I listed didn’t have Linux listed as a required OS. It is essential to take time and determine which program is best for your school. Most antivirus programs are easy to understand, so it makes it easier on the teachers to learn how to use them.
    • References

Avast. (n.d.). Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avast.com/en-us/business/products/business-antivirus-pro-plus

Avast. (n.d.). Avast Ultimate. The all-you-need bundle. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avast.com/en-us/ultimate#

AVG. (n.d.). Small Business Antivirus & Firewall | AVG Business. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avg.com/en-us/antivirus-business-edition

AVG. (n.d.). AVG Ultimate | Protection, Performance and Privacy. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avg.com/en-us/ultimate

AVG. (n.d.). AVG Free Antivirus Download | Virus Protection Software. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avg.com/en-us/free-antivirus-download

Bekele, A. (2018, June 22). What are some risks to computers connected to a network? Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-risks-to-computers-connected-to-a-network

Berry, M. (2012, April 16). Network Security: Top 5 Fundamentals. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from http://www.itmanagerdaily.com/network-security-fundamentals/

Chandana. (2018, September 12). Key Roles and Responsibilities of IT Security Professionals. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.simplilearn.com/it-security-professionals-key-roles-responsibilities-article

Cox Business. (n.d.). Cox Business. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.coxblue.com/the-five-biggest-threats-to-k-12-network-security-for-the-2017-18-school-year/

Gibbs, M. (2017, February 20). 12 steps to small business security. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.networkworld.com/article/3171657/security/12-steps-to-small-business-security.html

Landesman, M. (2018, August 22). How Antivirus Software Actually Protects Your Computer. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-antivirus-software-152947

Norton. (n.d.). Norton Security Premium. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://us.norton.com/norton-security-with-backup

Norton. (n.d.). Official Site | Norton™ – Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://us.norton.com/

Rentfro, R., Scherer, E., & Colley, D. (n.d.). Avast Free Antivirus. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.avast.com/en-us/free-antivirus-download#

Rouse, M., Wright, R., & Harris, J. (2016, December). What is virus (computer virus)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/virus

Rouse, M., Cobb, M., & Loshin, P. (2017, October). What is phishing? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/phishing

Rouse, M., Sjoholm, H., & Rosencrance, L. (2017, August). What is hacker? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/hacker

Rouse, M., Clark, C., & Cobb, M. (2018, February). What is firewall? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/firewall

SecurityFirst. (2018, August 24). The Top 9 Network Security Threats of 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://securityfirstcorp.com/the-top-9-network-security-threats-of-2019/

Christensson, P. (2006). System Hardening Definition. Retrieved 2018, Nov 19, from https://techterms.com