Identifying a videogames development company's network infrastructure entails recognizing the possible threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities of the system. However, the process does not end there, as the next step is to discover solutions either to prevent or mitigate the problem, depending on whether the network issues are already being experienced or not. Therefore, protecting data and system integrity is a crucial step that all companies using information technology must consider. This paper focuses on strategies on dealing with identified risks and vulnerabilities, including controls to mitigate possible network problems.
Strategies and Controls to Mitigate Attacks and Threats
Among the identified attacks and threats to the network system were reconnaissance, access, denial of service (DoS), and worms, viruses, and Trojan Horses. For reconnaissance, attackers typically use network analyzers to identify network password or usernames to enter a secured network. Packet capturing utilities may also be used to determine live IP addresses to eavesdrop on conversations or gather network configuration data. This includes packet sniffers such as WhoIs and Nslookup ("Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Attacks", n.d., p. 24-26). To thwart any attempts to break into the network system through eavesdropping, the company may opt to use data encryption methods to protect the integrity of the data and the system. For instance, the Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a technique that requires the use of a private key. With more than 72 quadrillion possible keys to choose from, attackers will find it tedious to crack the codes considering that apart from the various key choices, both sender and receiver must identify and apply the same private key (“Data Encryption Standard,” 2012). Another method is to set up antivirus software that will avert Trojan attacks, which are commonly used to learn about "sensitive, valuable information such as user credentials" ("Understanding Network Attacks").
Password-based attacks may be prevented by ensuring that crucial aspects of the network are protected by a password and that only those who use the system have access to the network and the password itself ("A Beginner's Guide to Network Security", n.d., p. 7). In addition, imposing password policy settings such as number of characters, use of at least 3 of the 4 class characteristics (non-alphanumeric characters, symbols, punctuations, numerals), definition of minimum and maximum password age, maintenance of password history, and implementation of intrusion detection systems ("Understanding Network Attacks"), among others, help avert these attacks. In instances when an attacker inputs incorrect password, specifying lockout policies will also help determine whether there were attempts to hit the system or not. However, when implementing such policies, companies must allot a certain percentage of user error, thus, an account lockout duration and reset facilitates manual unlocking of passwords after a certain time has lapsed already ("Understanding Network Attacks").
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks happen when attackers disable users' access rights to the system. This cannot be detected easily unless erroneous figures and irregular termination of systems occur ("A Beginner's Guide to Network Security", n.d., p. 4). To defend against DoS attacks on the network, the company must impose that all users employ strong passwords only and not those that can easily be detected or manually guessed by hackers. For the IT Department, the team must ensure to perform regular system configuration data back up and turn off all redundant and pointless network services ("Understanding Network Attacks").
Viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses reproduce and replicate by attaching to executable files. As these can easily be controlled, installing anti-virus software both on "the user level  and [on] the network level ("Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Attacks", n.d., p. 39) is a must to ensure data integrity checking is done regularly. This involves routine scanning of network activities, registries, and all processes that are running on the network. In case of suspicious and unaccountable device drivers, the IT team must immediately delete questionable activities happening on the network (Awodele, Onuiri, & Okolie, 2012, p. 62). In addition, it is also highly important that all installed antivirus software are updated regularly ("Understanding Network Attacks").
Strategies and Controls to Mitigate Vulnerabilities
There are instances when susceptibility to viruses and security network breaches are brought about by users and not the computer or network itself. For instance, users who mindlessly type their passwords in the presence of other users, opening email attachments without regard if the files have viruses or not, downloading from untrustworthy sites, and leaving their computers on at night, among others ("Strategies for Managing Malware Risks", 2006). All these contribute to exposure to network risks. Known network vulnerabilities identified earlier were password storage on materials that can easily be stolen or compromised, weak implementation of passwords, poor anti-virus implementation, use of removable media such as USB thumb drives, and Human Trojans, among others.
In all these, the most important thing to do is to educate users, IT personnel, and management about best practices in network security to ensure that everyone in the company understands the potential impact of risks and vulnerabilities to the company's business. This include changing passwords after a certain period of time, never sharing personal passwords to anyone, not replying to suspicious emails, preventing users from installing illegal applications, and locking the computers when not in use ("Strategies for Managing Malware Risks", 2006).
When it comes to using USB thumb drives, users must be educated that although "rate of infection is not as rapid as with network-based malware" ("Strategies for Managing Malware Risks", 2006), the hazard of transmitting viruses is present due to data movement from one system to another. Therefore, ensuring that virus protection subscriptions are always current and running virus updates are necessary tasks for all users.
The last identified threat is Human Trojans. These individuals either leave the company or work from home (or in some other location). Network access of employees who leave the company must immediately be removed to protect the physical, technical, and operational security of the company (Awodele et al., 2012, p. 63). This will hinder those who have feelings of resentment towards the company to execute any plans that could be detrimental to the company's network security. On the other hand, those employees who are allowed to work from home must be provided with a "secure, centrally managed server for remote traffic" ("A Beginner's Guide to Network Security", n.d., p. 5).
In all these, user education plays a large role in the success of the implementation of the security policies and procedures ("Strategies for Managing Malware Risks", 2006). Thus, to support the users, the IT staff members must themselves be dependable, responsible, and have the technical competency to handle confidential information and perform network troubleshooting ("A Beginner's Guide to Network Security", n.d., p. 6).
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