Networks Under Attack

Networks Under Attack

The Internet has become mission critical for many institutions today, including large and small companies, universities, and government agencies. Many individuals also depend on the Internet for many of their professional, social, and personal activities. But behind all this utility and excitement, there is a dark side, a side where "bad guys" attempt to cause destruction in our daily lives by damaging our Internet-connected computers, violating our privacy, and rendering inoperable the Internet services on which we rely on [Skoudis 2006].

The field of network security is about how the bad guys can attack computer networks and about how we, soon-to-be experts in computer networking, can protect networks against those attacks, or better yet, design new architectures that are resistant to such attacks in the first place. Given the frequency and variety of existing attacks as well as the threat of new and more destructive future attacks, network security has become a central topic in the field of computer networking in recent years. One of the features of this blog is that it brings network security problems to the forefront. We'll begin our foray into network security in this section, where we'll briefly explain some of the more widespread and damaging attacks in today's Internet. Then, as we cover the many computer networking technologies and protocols in greater detail in following sections, we'll consider the different security-related problems associated with those technologies and protocols. Finally, in "Security in Computer Networks", armed with our newly acquired expertise in computer networking and Internet protocols, we'll study in-depth how computer networks can be protected against attacks, or designed and operated to make such attacks impossible in the first place.

Since we don't yet have know-how in computer networking and Internet protocols, we'll begin here by surveying some of today's more prevalent security-related issues. This will whet our appetite for more extensive discussions in the upcoming sections. So we begin here by simply asking, what can go wrong?  How are computer networks vulnerable? What are some of the more prevalent types of attacks today?


network security, computer networking, protocol

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