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Types of Security

Protecting the Network

The most common form of security is a user name and password. By developing a personal word, the user can input his or her word and access the account or network. All university networks require the user to authenticate its identity by entering in a user name and password for access to the network. UF encourages its users to change its password frequently. According to UF net services, a password is like underwear: change it often, don’t share them with friends, the longer the better, be mysterious and don’t leave it lying around.

University networks apply Audit Control, a security measure to ensure the activities of all users are monitored. Audit control includes command logging and system monitoring. It records the activities of the user and if the user violates any policy or creates damage, the activity can be reversed. It can identify if a security breach has occurred on the network.

Another common thread in the security inseam is a firewall. A firewall is a program that sits between a computer and the Internet connection. It watches the traffic that goes back and forth and restricts traffic that the user would not want to associate with. A firewall also permits traffic to the user. The purpose and importance of a firewall is to block hackers or Internet criminals who intend on hindering your computer experience if not destroying it altogether.

UF employs firewalls for Gatorlink, its email service. The firewall protects the network against attacks and unauthenticated logins on the email service. Some firewalls prohibit users to access the system from the outside but allow users from the inside to access the outside Internet world. For instance, if an Internet user wanted to access information on a school system, he/she would have to input a user name and password.

Unfortunately, firewalls don’t protect well against viruses. A virus is a piece of programming code that is disguised as something else, like an e-mail. The virus can cause an unexpected and disastrous event. A virus is designed so it can automatically spread to other computers. Most commonly, viruses are transmitted as attachments in an e-mail. Often, the subject to the email is ambiguous. Often, viruses transmit their infection as soon as the infected document is opened or downloaded.

If a user willingly opens an infected file that has been emailed to them, the firewall can’t do anything about it. Only if a virus is transmitted through a firewall can the firewall protect the network against it. Users are encouraged to user anti-virus programs, such as Norton Anti-Virus, to protect the system from a virus.

Another very common way to ensure security is encryption. Encryption is the conversion of data into a form, called a ciphertext that cannot by understood by an unauthorized user. A cipher is employed to keep hackers from obtaining the contents of transmissions, like e-mail. Some ciphers include the substitution of letters for numbers or the rotation of letters in the alphabet.

In order to understand the encrypted information, a person must use decryption, the process of converting the encrypted data into its original form. A decryption key is necessary to convert the data. Typically, encryption is used to mask e-mail or login passwords. More and more, encryption is used to keep hackers from accessing important codes and information. Encryption is becoming increasingly important with wireless networks and communications because wireless circuits are easier to tap into.

Leah is now happy because she found out all the ways the university network can protect her from any security breaches.



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By Patrick Lombard


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