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What is Network Intrusion? Definition, Detection, and Prevention

A network intrusion is any illegal activity carried out on a digital network. Network incursions frequently entail the theft of valuable network resources and virtually always compromise a network security and/or data security. Organizations and their cybersecurity teams must have a comprehensive understanding of how network intrusions operate and implement network intrusion, detection, and response systems that are designed with attack techniques and cover-up methods in mind in order to detect and respond proactively to network intrusions.

A network is often compromised for one of the following three reasons:

  • Hacktivism: Hacktivism is the combination of hacking with activism. Intruders that wish to hack to prove a political agenda or social cause are responsible.
  • Steal Money: This infiltration aims to steal money or data from the victim. Typically, the intent is to abuse the other person for monetary advantage.
  • Spying: Spying is the entrance of a state-sponsored network in order to spy on an adversary or occasionally an ally.

Network intrusion attacks can originate from individuals, major corporations, or even governments. These organizations' cybersecurity teams must comprehend how network intrusion is carried out in order to properly prevent it. A Network Intrusion Detection System must be implemented in order to address network intrusion-related difficulties.

There are two sorts of systems that can aid in the prevention of network attacks: intrusion detection and prevention systems.

Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a passive system that detects harmful behavior on a network, whereas Intrusion Prevention System not only detects but also blocks the same dangerous activity.

What Are the Risks of Network Intrusion?

A network intrusion is an unlawful intrusion into the digital assets of a business network. It is conducted with the intention of destroying or stealing personal information. Attempts are made by malicious parties to obtain access to the internal systems.

Network intrusions include DDoS (distributed denial of service), SQL injection, and Man in the Middle(MitM), among others.

Some of the major risks of network intrusion can be listed as follows:

  • Corruption of Data: A huge number of requests or illegal requests might corrupt the organization's or customers' vital data. The status of orders and workflows may shift, and client payments may become delayed. During audits, ledgers and tainted financial data can exacerbate issues for a business. It is essential for businesses to have a data backup.
  • Financial Loss for the Organization: In order to acquire the trust of their consumers and stakeholders, a business may need to provide rewards and incentives. Depending on the severity of the assault, they may also need to coordinate with third-party organizations that will handle and mitigate the attack on their behalf. It is also likely that the organization gets taxed based on the number of requests, which will only make matters worse. If an assault occurs during the season or during sales, possible orders are also lost, resulting in further financial losses. Repairing the damaged property is an additional expense.
  • Theft of Data: One of the most desired assets for attackers is the personal information of consumers. Their address/location, telephone numbers, email addresses, and even payment information can be exploited through social engineering and other means. In reality, corporations with access to cameras and contacts might pose far greater risks to their consumers.
  • Operational Disruption: In order to recover from the assault, the organization may elect to suspend operations and activities until it regains its health, causing a considerable delay in the workflows of operations.
  • Loss of Reputation: Reputation loss may be disastrous for a company. Loss of clients, an opening for rivals, a rise in liquidity risk, and the effect on the market and shares will only make it more difficult for the organization to recover.

The company must implement core security measures, train employees, construct firewalls, enable proper authentication and access control, manage passwords, and have data backups.

What is an Example of Network Intrusion?

Common, solitary computer viruses, or worms, are one of the simplest and most destructive network intrusion strategies. Worms, which are frequently sent by email attachments or instant messaging, use a substantial amount of network resources, so preventing the approved action from occurring. Some worms are designed to take certain types of secret information, such as financial information or social security number-related personal data, and then communicate that information to attackers waiting outside of an organization's network.

One of the well-known examples of worm attacks was the Moris Worm. The Morris Worm was a self-replicating computer software (worm) created by Cornell University student Robert Tappan Morris and distributed by MIT on November 2, 1988. According to Morris, the goal of the worm was to determine the scale of ARPANET, the forerunner to the "Internet" of the time, but it caused denial-of-service (DoS) for around 10 percent of the 60,000 machines connected to ARPANET in 1988. In addition to guessing weak passwords, the worm propagated by attacking weaknesses in UNIX sends mail, finger, and rsh/rexec.

What are the Types of Network Intrusion?

As the first line of defense, the following is a list of prevalent network intrusion attack vectors:

  • Asymmetric Routing
  • Buffer Overflow Attacks
  • Common Gateway Interface Scripts
  • Protocol-Specific Attacks
  • Traffic Flooding
  • Trojans
  • Worms

What are the Stages of Network Intrusion?

The good news is that cybercriminals are methodical in their attack preparation. By understanding their procedure and knowing your own network, you will be more prepared and able to keep ahead of the competition. In this part, we will discuss the six phases of infiltration and how to effectively defend against intruders attempting to penetrate your networks and computer systems.

  1. Reconnaissance: In the initial phase of an incursion, a nation-state attacker attempts to comprehend the target. This endeavor begins with scanning, investigating key persons and email addresses linked with the target, seeking open-source material about the company or government, and recording everything discovered on the network. While defenders may be aware of the technologies they intended to utilize on a network, attackers are aware of the technologies that are really in use. They also spend time researching the security features of the devices and identifying exploitable holes.
  1. Initial Exploitation: As soon as the reconnaissance is complete, the attackers identify a window of opportunity for the initial exploit. It is commonly considered that most hackers exploit zero-day vulnerabilities, however, they can also be persistent and patient with their exploits. Occasionally, it is known that intruders were there years prior to an attack.
  1. Maintain Persistence: Initial Exploitation is useless if the attackers wish to persistently take data. After the first exploitation, hackers employ many methods to remain in the network, including elevating their privileges and gaining access to scripts.
  1. Install Tools: Once the hackers have gained a thorough grasp of the system and the means by which they might build persistence, the malware will be deployed. In order to do more harm to a system, they initially install tools on the computer that execute numerous scripts.
  1. Move Laterally: Once these tools are in place, intruders will be able to traverse the network. The invaders attempt to advance laterally in order to accomplish their objectives.
  1. Collect Exfil and Exploit: Intruders have already established themselves within the network at this point. Now, the invaders must abuse the network and move without being noticed.

How to Detect Network Intrusion?

IDS (Intrusion Detection System) monitors networks for suspicious and malicious activities, as well as false alarms. It implies that enterprises must have intrusion detection systems to distinguish between normal network traffic and malicious activities. There are two distinct types of intrusion detection systems:

  1. Host Intrusion Detection System: This system operates on network hosts or standalone devices. It takes a snapshot of the current system files and compares it to prior snapshots. Similarly, if the analytical system files are modified or destroyed, an alert is sent to the administrator for further inquiry.
  1. Network Intrusion Detection System: They are strategically located across the network to monitor traffic from all devices connected to the Internet. Primarily, it performs an analysis of passing traffic on the whole subnet and compares that information to a database of known threats. When it detects an assault or detects strange activity, it alerts the administrator. An intrusion detection system (IDS) is a hardware device or software program that employs established intrusion signatures to recognize and analyze both incoming and outgoing network data for specific abnormal actions. It is accomplished largely through the following methods:
    • Monitoring system setups and settings
    • Monitoring user behavior in order to identify nefarious intent
    • Scanning techniques that discover hazardous pattern indicators
    • System file comparisons against malware signatures

With the identification of a security policy violation, malware, or configuration issue, IDS can remove a malicious user from the network and notify security personnel. Despite these advantages, which include in-depth network traffic analysis and attack detection, the IDS has intrinsic downsides, such as a lack of flexibility. It employs known intrusion signatures to identify assaults; freshly discovered threats are not identified. Additionally, an IDS may identify ongoing attacks, not just incoming ones. To avoid all of these threats, intrusion prevention solutions are essential.

  1. Protocol-based Intrusion Detection System (PIDS): It attempts to protect the web server by continuously checking the HTTPS protocol stream and allowing the associated HTTP protocol. As HTTPS is not secured, this system would need to live in this interface prior to accessing its web presentation layer in order to use HTTPS.
  1. Application Protocol-based Intrusion Detection System (APIDS): APIDS is a system or agent that often lives within a cluster of computers. It discovers intrusions by monitoring and analyzing application-specific protocol traffic. This would monitor, for instance, the SQL protocol specific to the middleware as it interacts with the database on the web server.
  1. Hybrid Intrusion Detection System: A hybrid intrusion detection system is comprised of two or more intrusion detection system techniques. In the hybrid intrusion detection system, host agent or system data is coupled with network data to get a comprehensive view of the network system. The effectiveness of the hybrid intrusion detection system surpasses that of the other intrusion detection.

How to Prevent Network Intrusion?

Typically, intrusion prevention systems are placed behind a firewall to serve as an additional filter against malicious activities. As a result of their in-line placement, intrusion prevention systems are able to analyze and automatically respond to all network traffic flows. These steps may include informing administrators, discarding harmful packets, suspending traffic from the malicious activity's originating address(es), and resuming connections. Importantly, a good intrusion prevention system must be efficient so as not to degrade network performance. In order to detect harmful activity in real-time and minimize false positives, intrusion prevention systems must also function swiftly and correctly.

What is a Network Intrusion Prevention System?

Intrusion prevention systems are a kind of network security devices that monitor for harmful network or system activity. Indeed, the primary duties of an intrusion prevention system (IPS) are to recognize harmful behavior, collect information about it, report it, and attempt to block it.

Both Intrusion Prevention Systems and Intrusion Detection Systems monitor network traffic and system activity for harmful behavior. IPS can take proactive measures, such as sending an alert, resetting a connection, or blocking traffic from a malicious IP address.

There are four subtypes of intrusion prevention systems, each of which is briefly discussed below.

  1. Network Behavior Analysis: Network Behavior Analysis(NBA) system meticulously monitors network traffic in order to discover dangers that create abnormal traffic flows, such as DDoS attacks, a sort of malware.
  1. Network-based Intrusion Prevention System(NIPS): NIPS searches the whole network for protocol analysis of unusual traffic.
  1. Host-based Intrusion Prevention Systems: They are the software packages deployed and configured to monitor a single host for suspicious behavior by identifying the host's internal events.
  1. Wireless Intrusion Prevention Systems: Examining the wireless networking standards, it analyzes wireless networks for any suspicious activities.

How are Viruses and Threats Different from Intrusion?

In computer security, a threat is a potential risk that might exploit a vulnerability to breach security and create potential damage. Danger may be deliberate (e.g., hacking: an individual hacker or a criminal organization) or unintentional (e.g., a circumstance, capacity, action, or occurrence).

A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is secretly installed on your computer and operates without your permission. Viruses are also capable of self-replication. All computer infections are man-made. A basic virus that can replicate itself several times is quite simple to generate. Even such a straightforward infection is harmful since it would rapidly consume all available memory and put the machine to a standstill. The most hazardous sort of virus is one that can spread across networks and circumvent security solutions.

On the other hand, compromising a computer system by compromising its security or putting it into an insecure condition is known as an intrusion. Intrusion, or illegal access to a system, generally leaves traces that are detectable by intrusion detection systems.