On the 6th of August, Stemettes spoke to the STEMazing Holly Walker, a perimeter security engineer at Schroeder's. She discussed with us the various ways in which organisations will protect their data online and how they detect attacks in real time in order to prevent damage.

Where do we begin with protection? An important aspect of protection online is the implementation of firewalls. A firewall can control and filter what information is allowed inside a single computer or a whole network. Knowing this information, you may think that all firewalls do the same thing. However, the different types of firewall include:

  • Network Layer Firewalls that filter based on IP addresses.
  • Transport Layer Firewalls that filter based on source.
  • Application Layer Firewalls that filter based on service.
  • Context Aware Application Firewalls that filter based on the user.
  • Proxy Servers that filter based on web content.
  • Reverse Proxy Servers that are placed in front of web servers.
  • Network Address Translation Servers that hide private addresses.
  • Host Based Firewalls that filter ports on a single operating system.

We know that security works best when appliances are working together. For example, we can use a firewall alongside antivirus software to give the best chance of protection from a potential virus. What security appliances can you think of? Some common security devices include:

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN) which work by creating a private network via secure encryption tunnelling.
  • Routers which have the same capacities as a firewall.
  • Firewalls.
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS).
  • Malware and Antivirus software.

When you think of online attacks you might picture a large scale, dangerous, anonymous attack. These attacks, known as zero day attacks, are the most difficult for an organisation to protect themselves against. However, whilst the most favourable scenario would be to prevent these attacks all together, this is not always possible Instead, organisations try to see how quickly they can respond to an attack when it happens. This is done by a process called real time scanning from edge to endpoint– where active scanning of attacks occur, aided by the help of online global threat centres.

To conclude, it is important for individuals and organisations to protect their online data as soon as possible.


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