At a time where internet connectivity is usually an absolute necessity, businesses and household computers are often interconnected. This leads to benefits, but it also poses risks, particularly to security. A few of the risks involved when computers are networked are viruses along with other malware spreading across local computers, hacking and intrusion externally, and sensitive information being stolen by individuals with malicious intent.
Therefore, network administrators usually see it necessary to install network security software to make certain that software and knowledge are safe. There isn’t any single software that may control all kinds of intrusions, and therefore network administrators often use a suite of various software to deal with these different threats. Here are some examples of free network security software, and where to find them.
Intrusion detection. Network intrusion is probably the more serious threats that the network can face. It is because there is often a malicious person behind these intrusions, and the intent is usually to access sensitive information. One good illustration of a totally free intrusion detection software programs are Snort, which has versions readily available for Windows and Unix-based systems. Snort lets network administrators detect whether you will find applications running around the network, or ports being opened using the intent of gaining access.
Packet sniffing. Another essential aspect of network security is packet sniffing. This enables a network administrator to investigate what data goes through the network, which can involve malicious code, break-ins or any other forms of risks. Packet sniffing is actually a tool that hackers also employ to get into data moving around a network, however it may also be used proactively by network administrators. Some examples are Ethereal, that has been renamed into Wireshark. The program lets network administrators capture network traffic and re-build it, to determine what kind of information is being sent, received and accessed.
Port scanning. Networks can often be broken into when you will find open, unsecure ports running around the server. A port scan is really a relatively quick way of detecting any open ports, which can then be closed or secured having a password. There’s a number of port scanners available for free download. A few examples include Shields Up! and LAN Spy.
Encryption. Network traffic is often sent and received in clear text. Therefore, a person with physical use of your network (even when wireless) can sniff packets, and rebuild these on their computer, effectively having the ability to eavesdrop on conversations, and maybe even pick up passwords. Encryption helps to ensure that information is securely sent and received, which the sender’s and receiver’s identity are also secure. A good example of free encryption software is PGP.
Antivirus. Lastly, a series is just as strong since it’s weakest link. A network is just as secure because the weakest node or computer in it. Therefore, like a first line of defense, a network administrator should make sure that computers that are connected to the network both physically and wirelessly should be running Antivirus software. You will find dozens to select from, which include both paid and free offerings. A few examples of free Antivirus software which are effective, lightweight and simple to use are AVG and Avast!. These software also provides automatic updates on a regular basis, so that you can make sure your computers are secure even with viruses being created every day.
The best defense against malware and malicious intrusions is, obviously, a well-informed user. Like a network administrator, it is your responsibility to coach users how they should take care of their data and information. Responsible utilization of information and IT tools will help minimize these complaints. However, using free tools to help protect the network against these risks would greatly help with preventing any untoward incidents.