by Paul Rudo on 30/04/12 at 4:11 pm
Network administrators invest heavily in fortifications that keep out unwanted elements or prying eyes. And now that employees and other authorized parties are increasingly accessing internal resources from outside of the network, these precautions are more important than ever.
Network security is a highly developed field, and current technologies are fairly resilient against external threats. And the technologies are constantly evolving to keep up with new emerging threats.
But the most significant network security threats aren’t always from outsiders. Internal threats can be just as dangerous. And because the sources of these threats have been provided with authorized access, they can also be much more difficult to manage.
Here are just a few examples of the most common internal network security threats:
Although the majority of users in your network are honest, there will always be a small fraction who will want to cause trouble. And it’s because of these people that you need to have aggressive network security policies in place at all times.
Privileges and access should only be granted on an as-needed basis, and users should be logged and monitored for unusual activity.
And since people are only human, there is also the possibility of security breaches due to honest accidents. Crackers and fraudsters will often use “social engineering” to trick unsavvy employees into disclosing sensitive information.
Accidents happen, and you need to be prepared.
If a user selects an easy-to-guess password, if their password is stored in an insecure location, or if the user is tricked into disclosing their authentication credentials, there is a possibility that a legitimate internal account could be hijacked and used to cause harm to the company.
Many free software programs – such as torrent applications – contain hidden spyware that secretly collects information about your users. Also, there are a number of viruses, worms and Trojans which can wreak havoc on your PCs, servers and networks if they make their way past the firewalls and into your internal network.
This is why you need to make sure users don’t install any unauthorized software on their systems.
Also, your company could face stiff penalties in the event that your end-users install pirated software on your internal corporate systems. (But this is a topic for another blog post)
Most viruses don’t need to be manually or intentionally installed. They can make their way in through open ports, or by exploiting known software bugs. That’s why it’s important to ensure that all of your software is constantly updated with the latest security updates and patches. (This is especially true of antivirus)
Technological precautions alone are not enough. You must also take measures to battle the security risks posed by internal users and systems. Proper monitoring, controls, maintenance, testing and governance are absolutely essential in order to maintain a secure network.