The internet has turn out to be part of our lives that is easy to forget the inventors who had a vision of what worldwide networking could grow to be and toiled to make it ensue. According to a research done, the internet, which started as a minuscule and restricted community, is now diverse and accessible from all parts of the universe.
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As a result, the issue of internet security is a serious matter because a local problem can be a worldwide incident within a second. Therefore, an understanding of the internet and security is imperative for the development of protective measures that ensure confidentiality, integrity as well as availability of information.
The history of internet
According to Vacca (2009), the development of computers at approximately 1950 was the genesis of the history of the internet. At around 1970, the internet began as ARPANET and it was a project funded by Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA). The broad objective of the project was creation of a network that will not cease to function even if one of its components failed.
Therefore, the creation of the internet was in such a way that it had a capacity to resist attacks like viruses, intrusions and incidents. Additionally, the main aim of the internet was openness, flexibility, and not security because people needed to share information hence there were no restrictions.
The ARPANET led to development of internetworking which involved amalgamation of different networks to form a system (Speed, Juanita and Korper, 2010). As more sites linked with ARPANET, the significance of the internet increased.
For instance, ARPANET was initially a government and university site but at around 1970 it became public and many people could access and use it for research. As a result, the incidence of security violations increased but people did not consider it as an attack because they trusted each other.
In the year, 1982 access to ARPANET expanded with the development of Computer Science Network (CSNET). Besides, at around 1987, there was emergence of commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Therefore, Speed and Juanita (2009) state that the ARPANET came to a halt at around 1994 due to commercialization of the internet. The commercialization permitted people to carry out commercial traffics on the internet.
Since 1994, the internet has had a significant impact on the people’s lifestyle (Shoniregun, 2010). For instance, people use the internet to send text messages, make phone calls, shop and watch movies. In a recent research, Rhee (2010) states that people use the internet to find information.
Additionally, most of the researchers and educationists belong to an online discussion forum where they share information with people from different parts of the world. Therefore, the internet keeps on developing because of the relevant information that it contain.
In a survey done, Poole (2008) states that in 1994, the internet carried approximately one percent of information flowing in a two-way telecommunication and by the year 2000 the percentage had risen to ninety-eight. This led to an increase in internet insecurity. For example, Cliff Stoll identified an internet incident and it motivated him to publish a book that created awareness on the existence of destructive use of the internet.
The history of internet security
Garfinkel, Spafford and Shwartz (2008) state that a virus called vienna was detected in 1987. After the detection, a man named Ralph Burger dissembled it and published the result in a book. The published information led to creation of many viruses. In 1988, many of the research centers internet connections in the United States were under attacks.
For instance, Ferguson, (2009) states that a virus which was intended to infect computers in order to determine the number of connections ended up exploiting the UNIX vulnerability. Therefore, the virus spread swiftly infecting many computers thus making them unusable.
In a research done in 1988, Einar (2008) explain that the WANK worm attacked the VMS system of the internet leading to exploitation of vulnerabilities of the programs that assist in sending and receiving of mails.
Additionally, in 1994, an intrusion tool that interfered with the user name and password came out. This interrupted the security of data saved in the internet. For example, a person could log into any internet system and tamper with information.
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Additionally, in 1995, Citibank detected a virus that made them loose four hundred thousand dollars to a man called Levin (Cheswick and Bellovin, 2009). Since then, people have detected many viruses that cause great harm to computers and organizations. They include, amoeba, boza and strange view viruses. In 2007, information technology specialists identified a storm worm that spread as an email attachment.
Once a person opens a received email, he or she became part of the infected computers and spread the infection to others. As a result, many computers lost their functions. Therefore, computers are susceptible to attacks and people need to have information about internet security.
The principles of information protection
The three principles of information protection are confidentiality, veracity as well as accessibility. Cheswick and Bellovin (2009) state that information loose confidentiality when unauthorized person read and copy it. Some information like medical records and research data are vital and they require privacy. Therefore, it is the obligation of the organizations to ensure that client information is confidential.
In the event that someone alters information in a way that is not supposed to be, there is loss of veracity. This is common in networks that are not secure. For instance, Einar (2008) states that integrity is lost when there is intentional or accidental interference with information. Since veracity is imperative for financial as well as critical safety data, people should ensure that they institute information protective measures.
Lastly, loss of accessibility occurs when authorized people cannot access information (Ferguson, 2009). This lead to a situation called denial of service because people cannot get relevant information that facilitates the running of the organizations or businesses. For that reason, many organizations authenticate and authorize their information so that it is available to those who require.
Authentication is a recognition process that allows specific people to use the internet. It involves the use of password, fingerprints or smart cards. On the contrary, authorization is a procedure that helps to establish if a system can execute a certain task. As a result, authentication and authorization allow authorized people to perform certain computer activities hence reducing the prevalence of cyber attacks.
The significance of internet security
According to a recent research, it is easy for unauthorized people to access information if the network environment is insecure (Garfinkel, Spafford and Shwartz, 2008). Additionally, it is very hard to determine the attackers. In a situation where the internet users do not have important data stored in the system, the attacked computer become useless.
Besides, it act as a source of infection transmitting viruses to other computers while permitting unauthorized people to access the organization information. The free access leads to loss of integrity and confidentiality of information because it becomes easy for people to alter the organization data.
Moreover, Poole (2008) states that network attacks put the computer system at a compromise. For example, information concerning the computer hardware, network connections, software, configuration and authentication are valuable for the attackers.
This is because it enables them to access the files as well as the programs hence decreasing the security of the system. Additionally, attackers who access the password of an organization network always alter the important files leading to loss of integrity and availability.
Furthermore, all computers with internet connections are vulnerable to attacks like viruses, intrusions and incidents (Rhee, 2010). The organizations that are mostly affected include banks, insurance, universities, brokerage houses, hospitals and the government. Besides, the attack interferes with the running of an organization in a number of ways.
To begin with, the organization loses a lot of time trying to repair the damage as well as recovering from the effects of the lost data. This lead to decrease in production, increase in expenditure and a loss of market opportunity as the organization can no longer fit in the competitive business environment. Therefore, computer users need to understand internet security incidents.
Internet security incidents
Incidents are activities related to the internet that have negative implication on the security. This is because they violate the internet security policies. Shoniregun (2010) states that internet security incidents vary in shapes and sizes and they come from any site although some originate from a specific system. Additionally, they spread fast resulting to massive destruction of systems within a short spell of time.
Furthermore, it is hard to determine the source of the internet security incident because anyone can cause an intrusion accidentally or intentionally. For instance, Speed and Juanita (2009) explain that a student who has created software, a person with an evil intention or someone who want to search for information about a particular company can cause an intrusion.
Additionally, an incident can also come from a fired employee or a consultant who accessed the information of an organization. Most of the times the intruder may want to seek political attention, logical challenge, entertainment as well as fiscal gain.
According to a research done in various parts of the world, it is possible to classify the different types of incidents into several kinds. Speed, Juanita and Korper (2010) explain that probe is a type of incident that usually occurs when one tries to access a system of find information about it. For instance, probing is trying to log into an account that is not functioning.
Although probing may be due to inquisitiveness or misunderstanding, it can cause a vital security event. On the other hand, a scan is a type of probing that one accomplishes using a programmed tool (Vacca, 2009). A scan can be due to an error but most of the time it is an attack of a vulnerable system by an intruder.
Additionally, account compromise is a type of incident where unauthorized person gain access in to someone else information. This can lead to data loss or theft of computer services. On the contrary, Vacca (2009) states that root compromise is a type of incident that is similar to account compromise.
The only difference is that in root compromise the intruder is able to change the look of the system as well as hide the track of their intrusion. As a result, it becomes hard for the owner to trace the source of the intrusion.
Moreover, a root compromise can lead to development of a packet sniffer, which is a program that enable an intruder to access data as it move over the internet. For instance, a packet sniffer can capture the user name or password of a person as information move around the internet connectivity.
Speed, Juanita and Korper (2010) state that Denial of Service (DoS) attack is a kind of incident in which the intruder try to make the internet functions unavailable to the intended customers. The intruder achieves this incident by disrupting the network or manipulating the data. Furthermore, other types of incidents include trust exploitation, malicious code and attacks of the internet infrastructures.
The development of the internet security incidents
As technology continues to advance, internet intruders gain more information about attacks resulting to an increase in the number of incidents (Shoniregun, 2010). For example instead of attacking a vulnerable system, they examine the source of the code to determine the weaknesses found on computer programs. The source can be unprotected internet programs.
Once in possession of the code, the intruders use it to determine the weaknesses of the programs. As a result, they can target the network infrastructures like the routers and the firewalls and conceal their functions.
For example, an intruder can log into a system and the site owner does not detect due to lack of reflection of his activities on the system logs. This is because they use Trojan horses to mask their activities from the network owner. As a result, no one can trace the cause of the altered information.
In a survey done, Rhee (2010) states that, intruders keep on identifying new and complex ways of attacking the internet as they become more stylish. For instance, intruders have a technique of determining a new connection to the internet thus making it susceptible to cyber attacks. Additionally, they use intrusions like packet sniffer to capture all information circulating in the internet thus confidentiality and integrity of data is lost.
According to the survey, the percentage of the attack keeps on rising as the years go by. Besides, in 1996 approximately thirty three percent of the computers had a root compromise attack. This shows that intruders keep on attacking the internet because they have diverse knowledge about it.
Additionally, any person regardless of his or her knowledge on computer system and the internet can use the software to accomplish the attack (Speed and Juanita, 2009). This means that any person with a burning desire can attack a system even if he or she does not possess technical skills. It is unfortunate that the intruders use the systems used to assess the vulnerability of a program to attack a system.
As a result, the intruders can use minimum effort and time to identify weaknesses, alter information or attack a system. Therefore, many companies have developed software packages that assist in exploitation of vulnerabilities. The package include network scanners, tools for cracking passwords, modifying configured files, reporting check sums, concealing activities and amending the logs into systems.
The vulnerabilities of the internet to attacks
Poole (2008) states that internet is vulnerable to attacks because the designers did not consider security. Hence, it is difficult to defend the network. Moreover, the extensive use of the internet for research and communication complicate the protective measures.
For example, an attacker needs not to be present at a particular area for him or her to accomplish his or her mission. This means that one can compromise the integrity, confidentiality and availability of information from any part of the world and within the shortest time possible.
Many people place a lot of trust in the internet without being aware of the risk. This is because they do not know what can happen to their information as well as their systems. Besides, they have a strong believe that they have sufficient protective measures. As the technology keep on changing, attackers also develop new ways of attacking the internet (Garfinkel, Spafford and Shwartz, 2008).
As a result, it is vanity to believe that protective measures are always effective. Besides, the achievement of confidentiality as well as integrity is difficult because an internet may have a security compromise whose origin is a site that the organization has no control over. For example, a packet sniffer may be in a specific country but the attacker can access information found in different parts of the world.
The fast growth as well as widespread internet use contributes to the vulnerability of the internet to attacks. This is because many people use complex services yet they do not safely design, configure, or maintain them (Ferguson, 2009). For example, as people hurry to procure new products through the internet, the system designers do not make sure that the network is free from vulnerabilities.
Hence, intruders gain quick access into the system and interfere with the procurement and selling processes. Lastly, the growth of the internet has led to an increase in demand of information technology specialists and engineers. Due to shortage of these people, inexperienced people address the maters of internet security resulting to an increase of vulnerability to attacks.
Types of internet vulnerabilities
Einar (2008) states that a fault in the computer software or the design of the protocol renderers a system vulnerable. Protocols are procedures that facilitate communication between computers. In the event that a fault exists, the computer is vulnerable to intrusion. For instance, intrudes usually target the Network File System because it lacks authentication.
Additionally, designers usually leave out security component during the development of software. Therefore, the integration of security into the software takes place later after its procurement. Since the added security was not part of the initial software, it interferes with its function leading to an increase in vulnerability.
Moreover, a fault in the implementation of protocol as well as the software increases the vulnerability of the computer system (Cheswick and Bellovin, 2009). For example, the implementation of the protocol for sending messages may be in such a way that allows attackers to alter the internet and permit the system to perform unintended tasks. This attack leads to exploitation of the system as well as the software.
Besides, Einar (2008) states that any fault in network configurations increases vulnerability of the computer system. For instance, a network configuration may require that people separate password from the rest of the system. In case the separation does not take place; an attacker can access authentication information and intrude the computer.
The improvement of internet security
Two ways are imperative in improving the security of the internet and according to Ferguson (2009); they deal with policies and procedures as well as the technology. To begin with, procedures involve the measures that people should take to prevent an attack. On the other hand, policies help in the decision making process.
For example, it helps people to determine the type of defense program to use as well as the internet configuration process. Therefore, policy entails the description of a secure information environment and guidelines for reacting to an internet threat.
On the other hand, security technology assists people to secure their systems as well as information from the attackers. Security technology focuses on different areas but the most common are operational and cryptography (Garfinkel, Spafford and Shwartz, 2008). Operational technology ensures that the available data is secure. On the other hand, cryptography facilitates privacy, integrity and originality of information.
Cryptography is a system that prevents attackers from using the captured information (Poole, 2008). This is because attackers can modify the information of an organization and cause havoc. Therefore, encryption and decryption processes are imperative in enhancing the privacy, integrity and originality of information.
For instance, a sender can encrypt a message with a password that the receiver knows. The receiver will then use a similar password to decrypt the message. This process ensures that there is maintenance of confidentiality of the message because without the corresponding decryption password, one cannot read it.
Operational technology involves the use of passwords, firewalls and tools for monitoring and performing security analysis (Rhee, 2010). To begin with, the use of password prevents unauthorized people from gaining access into the internet. Secondly, firewalls ensure that people who do not attain the security criteria of an organization do not access the network.
Thirdly, monitoring tools facilitate continuous monitoring and evaluation of the internet to ensure that people are confident about the security. For example, the monitoring tool can destroy viruses and malicious programs that can create harm to the computer. Finally, tools for analyzing security are significant in determining the vulnerabilities of the systems.
The way forward
In order to improve the internet security, research is of great importance because it will ensure availability, authenticity as well as integrity of information.
As a result research need to be done about the internet protocol, detection of intrusion, engineering of software, computer system survival, web programs and computing paradigms (Vacca, 2009). This research will assist in detection of the current internet security problems and recommend the way forward.
To begin with, Speed, Juanita and Korper (2010) state that there is little change in the internet protocol, therefore, people need to address the weaknesses of the computer in order to develop sophisticated procedures. The weaknesses include, lack of confidentiality, authenticity and integrity.
Therefore, designers need to develop protocols that facilitate protection of information from unauthorized people. An example of such protocol is the use of cryptography to prevent intruders from accessing information.
Additionally, research about intrusion detection is imperative because it will help people to know when the internet systems are under attack (Speed and Juanita, 2009). Therefore, researches need to focus on extensive analysis of the detection of anomaly as well as recognition of pattern. The detection of anomaly involves recognition of the usual behavior of the internet followed by determination of the abnormal characteristics.
This is achieved through collection of data for a long period of time and it assist in the development of an intrusion detection device. On the other hand, recognition of pattern entail determination of network activity that is similar to an intrusion attack.
Although this method is useful for the detection of future intrusions, it does not apply to new attacks. Therefore, information technology specialists require developing detection tools that can function at present and in future. This mean that extensive research on intrusion detection processes is imperative.
In a recent research, Shoniregun (2010) explains that many designers develop software systems that lack security measures. In the event of integrating security measures to the software, weaknesses develop and the system becomes vulnerable to attacks.
This is because breaching of systems becomes simple despite the efforts of rendering them invulnerable. Therefore, the concept of internet security should be present during the software development process.
Moreover, computer system survival is the ability of a machine to function during an attack (Rhee, 2010). This mean that computer designers need to develop machines that are reliable. Therefore, researchers need to undertake research about software engineering. The research should involve testing dependability as well as fault tolerance of the machine.
This will assist in the detection of weaknesses of the current machines and development of sophisticated computers that withstand intrusions. As a result, computers will be in a position of detecting threats while still performing the normal functions. This mean that people will not suffer from the consequences of lost data.
Additionally, Poole (2008) states that downloading information from the internet put ones computer at risk of an attack. This is because most of the internet programs do not have security measures. Furthermore, attackers usually target internet programs like entertainment and tamper them.
When one downloads it to his or her computer, the machine gets an attack and stops its normal function. In order to prevent this problem, web designers need to develop programs with security functions. This will ensure that the downloaded information is safe for use. For instance, some internet programs like java have security measures. Therefore, internet users need to have knowledge on secure internet programs.
In conclusion, an understanding of the internet and security is imperative for the development of protective measures that ensure confidentiality, integrity as well as availability of information.
This is because knowledge about the concept of internet security as well as the different types of intrusions is imperative for the development of a sophisticated protective measure. Therefore, information technology specialists should strive to understand the history of internet and internet security as it would help them curb the current problem of insecurity.
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