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Network Security & Attacks

Network Security & Attacks

Network Security consists of the provisions and policies adopted by a network administrator to prevent and monitor unauthorized access, misuse, modification, or denial of a computer network and network-accessible resources. Network security involves the authorization of access to data in a network, which is controlled by the network administrator. Users choose or are assigned an ID and password or other authenticating information that allows them access to information and programs within their authority. Network security covers a variety of computer networks, both public and private, that are used in everyday jobs conducting transactions and communications among businesses, government agencies and individuals. Networks can be private, such as within a company, and others which might be open to public access. Network security is involved in organizations, enterprises, and other types of institutions. It does as its title explains: It secures the network, as well as protecting and overseeing operations being done. The most common and simple way of protecting a network resource is by assigning it a unique name and a corresponding password.

Security Management

Security management for networks is different for all kinds of situations. A home or small office may only require basic security while large businesses may require high-maintenance and advanced software and hardware to prevent malicious attacks from hacking and spamming.

Types of Attacks

Networks are subject to attacks from malicious sources. Attacks can be from two categories: “Passive” when a network intruder intercepts data traveling through the network, and “Active” in which an intruder initiates commands to disrupt the network’s normal operation.

Types of attacks include:

  • Passive
    • Network
      1. Wiretapping
      2. Port scanner
      3. Idle scan
  • Active
    1. Denial-of-service attack
    2. Spoofing
    3. Man in the middle
    4. ARP poisoning
    5. Smurf attack
    6. Buffer overflow
    7. Heap overflow
    8. Format string attack
    9. SQL injection
    10. Cyber attack



Telephone tapping (also wire tapping or wiretapping in American English) is the monitoring of telephone and Internet conversations by a third party, often by covert means. The wire tap received its name because, historically, the monitoring connection was an actual electrical tap on the telephone line. Legal wiretapping by a government agency is also called lawful interception. Passive wiretapping monitors or records the traffic, while active wiretapping alters or otherwise affects it.

Port Scanner

A port scanner is a software application designed to probe a server or host for open ports. This is often used by administrators to verify security policies of their networks and by attackers to identify running services on a host with the view to compromise it.

Port Scanner
Port Scanner

A port scan or portscan can be defined as a process that sends client requests to a range of server port addresses on a host, with the goal of finding an active port. While not a nefarious process in and of itself, it is one used by hackers to probe target machine services with the aim of exploiting a known vulnerability of that service. However the majority of uses of a port scan are not attacks and are simple probes to determine services available on a remote machine.

To portsweep is to scan multiple hosts for a specific listening port. The latter is typically used to search for a specific service, for example, an SQL-based computer worm may portsweep looking for hosts listening on TCP port 1433.

Types of Port Scanner:

  1. TCP scanning
  2. SYN scanning
  3. UDP scanning
  4. ACK scanning
  5. Window scanning
  6. FIN scanning
  7. Other scan types

Idle Scan

The idle scan is a TCP port scan method that consists of sending spoofed packets to a computer to find out what services are available. This is accomplished by impersonating another computer called a “zombie” (that is not transmitting or receiving information) and observing the behavior of the “zombie” system.

Idle Scan
Idle Scan

Denial-of-Service Attack

Denial-of-Service Attack
Denial-of-Service Attack

Denial-of-Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users.

Although the means to carry out, the motives for, and targets of a DoS attack vary, it generally consists of efforts to temporarily or indefinitely interrupt or suspend services of a host connected to the Internet.



A spoofing attack is a situation in which one person or program successfully masquerades as another by falsifying data and thereby gaining an illegitimate advantage.

Man in the Middle

In cryptography and computer security, the man-in-the-middle attack (often abbreviated to MITM, MitM, MIM, MiM or MITMA) requires an attacker to have the ability to both monitor and alter or inject messages into a communication channel. One example is active eavesdropping, in which the attacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them to make them believe they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker. The attacker must be able to intercept all relevant messages passing between the two victims and inject new ones. This is straightforward in many circumstances; for example, an attacker within reception range of an unencrypted Wi-Fi wireless access point, can insert himself as a man-in-the-middle.

Man in the Middle
Man in the Middle

As an attack that aims at circumventing mutual authentication, or lack thereof, a man-in-the middle attack can succeed only when the attacker can impersonate each endpoint to their satisfaction as expected from the legitimate other end. Most cryptographic protocols include some form of endpoint authentication specifically to prevent MITM attacks. For example, TLS can authenticate one or both parties using a mutually trusted certification authority.

ARP Poisoning

ARP Spoofing/ Poisoning is a technique whereby an attacker sends fake (“spoofed”) Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) messages onto a Local Area Network. Generally, the aim is to associate the attacker’s MAC address with the IP address of another host (such as the default gateway), causing any traffic meant for that IP address to be sent to the attacker instead.

ARP spoofing may allow an attacker to intercept data frames on a LAN, modify the traffic, or stop the traffic altogether. Often the attack is used as an opening for other attacks, such as denial of service, man in the middle, or session hijacking attacks.

ARP Poisoning
ARP Poisoning

The attack can only be used on networks that make use of the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), and is limited to local network segments.


  • Static ARP Entries
  • ARP Spoofing Detection Software
  • OS Security

Smurf Attack

The Smurf Attack is a distributed denial-of-service attack in which large numbers of Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets with the intended victim’s spoofed source IP are broadcast to a computer network using an IP Broadcast address. Most devices on a network will, by default, respond to this by sending a reply to the source IP address. If the number of machines on the network that receive and respond to these packets is very large, the victim’s computer will be flooded with traffic. This can slow down the victim’s computer to the point where it becomes impossible to work on.

Smurf Attack
Smurf Attack

Buffer Overflow

In computer security and programming, a buffer overflow, or buffer overrun, is an anomaly where a program, while writing data to a buffer, overruns the buffer’s boundary and overwrites adjacent memory. This is a special case of violation of memory safety.

Buffer overflows can be triggered by inputs that are designed to execute code, or alter the way the program operates. This may result in erratic program behavior, including memory access errors, incorrect results, a crash, or a breach of system security. Thus, they are the basis of many software vulnerabilities and can be maliciously exploited.

Programming languages commonly associated with buffer overflows include C and C++, which provide no built-in protection against accessing or overwriting data in any part of memory and do not automatically check that data written to an array (the built-in buffer type) is within the boundaries of that array. Bounds checking can prevent buffer overflows.


  1. Stack-based exploitation
  2. Heap-based exploitation
  3. Barriers to exploitation
  4. Practicalities of exploitation
    • NOP sled technique
    • The jump to address stored in a register technique

Protective Countermeasures

  1. Choice of programming language
  2. Use of safe libraries
  3. Buffer overflow protection
  4. Pointer protection
  5. Executable space protection
  6. Address space layout randomization
  7. Deep packet inspection

Heap Overflow

A heap overflow is a type of buffer overflow that occurs in the heap data area. Heap overflows are exploitable in a different manner to that of stack-based overflows. Memory on the heap is dynamically allocated by the application at run-time and typically contains program data. Exploitation is performed by corrupting this data in specific ways to cause the application to overwrite internal structures such as linked list pointers. The canonical heap overflow technique overwrites dynamic memory allocation linkage (such as malloc meta data) and uses the resulting pointer exchange to overwrite a program function pointer.

Format String Attack

Uncontrolled format string is a type of software vulnerability, discovered around 1999, that can be used in security exploits. Previously thought harmless, format string exploits can be used to crash a program or to execute harmful code. The problem stems from the use of unchecked user input as the format string parameter in certain C functions that perform formatting, such as “printf()”.A malicious user may use the “%s” & “%x” format tokens, among others, to print data from the stack or possibly other locations in memory. One may also write arbitrary data to arbitrary locations using the “%n” format token, which commands “printf()”and similar functions to write the number of bytes formatted to an address stored on the stack.

SQL Injection

SQL Injection
SQL Injection

SQL injection is a code injection technique, used to attack data-driven applications, in which malicious SQL statements are inserted into an entry field for execution (e.g. to dump the database contents to the attacker). SQL injection must exploit a security vulnerability in an application’s software, for example, when user input is either incorrectly filtered for string literal escape characters embedded in SQL statements or user input is not strongly typed and unexpectedly executed. SQL injection is mostly known as an attack vector for websites but can be used to attack any type of SQL database.

In a 2012 study, security company Imperva observed that the average web application received 4 attack campaigns per month, and retailers received twice as many attacks as other industries.

Technical implementations

  1. Incorrectly filtered escape characters
  2. Incorrect type handling
  3. Blind SQL injection
    • Conditional responses
    • Second Order SQL Injection


  1. Parameterized statements
    • Enforcement at the coding level
  2. Escaping
  3. Pattern check
  4. Database permissions

Cyber Attack

Cyber-attack is any type of offensive maneuver employed by individuals or whole organizations that targets computer information systems, infrastructures, computer networks, and/or personal computer devices by various means of malicious acts usually originating from an anonymous source that either steals, alters, or destroys a specified target by hacking into a susceptible system. These can be labelled as either a Cyber campaign, cyberwarfare or cyberterrorism in different context. Cyber-attacks can range from installing spyware on a PC to attempts to destroy the infrastructure of entire nations. Cyberattacks have become increasingly sophisticated and dangerous as the Stuxnet worm recently demonstrated.

Cyber Attack
Cyber Attack

Factors for Cyber-Attacks

  1. Fear factor
  2. Spectacular factor
  3. Vulnerability factor


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