Network Security 101: The Essential Protocols You Need to Know - PRR Computers, LLC

by Andrew Turkhurst
2 weeks ago
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An Introduction to Network Security

Hey there tech geek, ever wondered what’s happening behind the scenes to keep your data safe online? Network security is kinda like an iceberg – you only see the tip sticking out above the surface. But below lies a complex world of protocols that encrypt your connections, authenticate your identity, and allow you to browse in private. In this post, we’ll decode the mysterious alphabet soup of network security and make TLS, SSH, IKE, IPsec, and friends less intimidating. You’ll learn what each protocol does, why it matters, and how they work together to protect your digital life. No need to be a security expert to follow along. We’ll break it down in simple terms to demystify these essential pillars of network security. So plug in and let’s get you up to speed on the protocols powering privacy and security every time you go online.

Must-Know Network Security Protocols and Standards

When it comes to network security, you need to understand a few essential protocols to keep your network safe. 

Firewall: 

A firewall is your network’s first line of defense. It monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and allows or blocks data packets based on a set of security rules. You’ll want to enable firewalls on your network devices like routers as well as client machines like laptops and smartphones.

Encryption:

Encryption scrambles data into unreadable code that can only be decoded with a special key. For web traffic, enable HTTPS which uses SSL/TLS encryption. For wireless networks, use WPA2 security with a strong, unique password. Encryption protects data in transit from prying eyes.

VPN:

A virtual private network or VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a VPN server, masking your online activity. VPNs are great for using public Wi-Fi hotspots securely or accessing region-locked content. Choose a reputable VPN provider that doesn’t log your activity.

Antivirus and Anti-malware:   

Malicious software like viruses, worms, and spyware can compromise your network security. Install antivirus and anti-malware programs on all of your network devices and keep them up to date.  They scan for threats and block or remove them to keep your network safe.

With firewalls, encryption, VPNs, and antivirus software in place, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a secure network environment. Staying vigilant and keeping all software up to date is key to long-term network protection.  Your network security is worth the investment!

FAQs About Network Security Protocols

Secure Shell (SSH)

If you want to securely access and communicate with remote computers, SSH is essential. It encrypts all network communications to prevent eavesdropping and hijacking. SSH replaces older, insecure protocols like Telnet and FTP. Use SSH whenever you need to remotely log in to a server or transfer files.  

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

Ever wonder how websites keep your information safe? SSL, now called TLS, encrypts communications between your browser and websites. When you see “https” in the URL and a lock icon, that means the site is using SSL. This prevents hackers from stealing things like your passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.

IP Security (IPSec) 

For connecting multiple devices over networks, IPSec is crucial. It encrypts all communications at the IP layer, authenticates and secures VPN tunnels between firewalls, and more. Whether you have an intranet or need site-to-site connectivity, IPSec should be your go-to.  

Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)

Passwords are often stored as hashes instead of plaintext for security. A hash function like SHA converts your password into a string of characters.  If a hacker steals the hashes, they can’t recover the original passwords. There are a few versions of SHA (SHA-1, SHA-2, SHA-3) with different strengths. For the best security, always use the latest standard.

Following essential protocols and standards like these, along with general best practices, will put you well on your way to locking down your network. Stay up-to-date with the latest versions and regularly check for vulnerabilities to keep everything secure. Your network, and your users, will thank you!

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