Cyber and Network Security: Definition & Best Practices


Network security is any activity designed to protect the usability and integrity of your network and data. It includes both hardware and software technologies. Effective network security manages access to the network. It targets a variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network.

Network security combines multiple layers of defences at the edge and in the network. Each network security layer implements policies and controls. Authorized users gain access to network resources, but malicious actors are blocked from carrying out exploits and threats.

Digitization has transformed our world. How we live, work, play, and learn have all changed. Every organization that wants to deliver the services that customers and employees demand must protect its network. Network security also helps you protect proprietary information from attack. Ultimately it protects your reputation.

Types of Network Security Devices

Active Devices

These security devices block the surplus traffic. Firewalls, antivirus scanning devices, and content filtering devices are the examples of such devices.

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Passive Devices

These devices identify and report on unwanted traffic, for example, intrusion detection appliances.

Preventative Devices

These devices scan the networks and identify potential security problems. For example, penetration testing devices and vulnerability assessment appliances.

Unified Threat Management (UTM)

These devices serve as all-in-one security devices. Examples include firewalls, content filtering, web caching, etc.


A firewall is a network security system that manages and regulates the network traffic based on some protocols. A firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and the internet.

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Firewalls exist both as software that run on a hardware and as hardware appliances. Firewalls that are hardware-based also provide other functions like acting as a DHCP server for that network.

Most personal computers use software-based firewalls to secure data from threats from the internet. Many routers that pass data between networks contain firewall components and conversely, many firewalls can perform basic routing functions.

Firewalls are commonly used in private networks or intranets to prevent unauthorized access from the internet. Every message entering or leaving the intranet goes through the firewall to be examined for security measures.

An ideal firewall configuration consists of both hardware and software based devices. A firewall also helps in providing remote access to a private network through secure authentication certificates and logins.

Hardware and Software Firewalls

Hardware firewalls are standalone products. These are also found in broadband routers. Most hardware firewalls provide a minimum of four network ports to connect other computers. For larger networks ? e.g., for business purpose ? business networking firewall solutions are available.

Software firewalls are installed on your computers. A software firewall protects your computer from internet threats.


An antivirus is a tool that is used to detect and remove malicious software. It was originally designed to detect and remove viruses from computers.

Modern antivirus software provide protection not only from virus, but also from worms, Trojan-horses, ad wares, spy-wares, key-loggers, etc. Some products also provide protection from malicious URLs, spam, phishing attacks, botnets, DDoS attacks, etc.

Content Filtering

Content filtering devices screen unpleasant and offensive emails or webpages. These are used as a part of firewalls in corporations as well as in personal computers. These devices generate the message “Access Denied” when someone tries to access any unauthorized web page or email.

Content is usually screened for pornographic content and also for violence- or hate-oriented content. Organizations also exclude shopping and job related contents.

Content filtering can be divided into the following categories:

  • Web filtering
  • Screening of Web sites or pages
  • E-mail filtering
  • Screening of e-mail for spam
  • Other objectionable content

Intrusion Detection Systems

Intrusion Detection Systems, also known as Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems, are the appliances that monitor malicious activities in a network, log information about such activities, take steps to stop them, and finally report them.

Intrusion detection systems help in sending an alarm against any malicious activity in the network, drop the packets, and reset the connection to save the IP address from any blockage. Intrusion detection systems can also perform the following actions ?

Correct Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) errors

Prevent TCP sequencing issues

Clean up unwanted transport and network layer options

As discussed in the first chapter, the Government of India enacted the Information Technology (I.T.) Act with some major objectives to deliver and facilitate lawful electronic, digital, and online transactions, and mitigate cyber-crimes.

Salient Features of I.T Act

The salient features of the I.T Act are as follows ?

Digital signature has been replaced with electronic signature to make it a more technology neutral act.

It elaborates on offenses, penalties, and breaches.

It outlines the Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber-crimes.

It defines in a new section that cyber caf? is any facility from where the access to the internet is offered by any person in the ordinary course of business to the members of the public.

It provides for the constitution of the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee.

It is based on The Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, The Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891, The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, etc.

It adds a provision to Section 81, which states that the provisions of the Act shall have overriding effect. The provision states that nothing contained in the Act shall restrict any person from exercising any right conferred under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Digital Signature

A digital signature is a technique to validate the legitimacy of a digital message or a document. A valid digital signature provides the surety to the recipient that the message was generated by a known sender, such that the sender cannot deny having sent the message. Digital signatures are mostly used for software distribution, financial transactions, and in other cases where there is a risk of forgery.

Electronic Signature

An electronic signature or e-signature, indicates either that a person who demands to have created a message is the one who created it.

A signature can be defined as a schematic script related with a person. A signature on a document is a sign that the person accepts the purposes recorded in the document. In many engineering companies digital seals are also required for another layer of authentication and security. Digital seals and signatures are same as handwritten signatures and stamped seals.

Digital Signature to Electronic Signature

Digital Signature was the term defined in the old I.T. Act, 2000. Electronic Signature is the term defined by the amended act (I.T. Act, 2008). The concept of Electronic Signature is broader than Digital Signature. Section 3 of the Act delivers for the verification of Electronic Records by affixing Digital Signature.

As per the amendment, verification of electronic record by electronic signature or electronic authentication technique shall be considered reliable.

According to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), electronic authentication and signature methods may be classified into the following categories ?

Those based on the knowledge of the user or the recipient, i.e., passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), etc.

Those bases on the physical features of the user, i.e., biometrics.

Those based on the possession of an object by the user, i.e., codes or other information stored on a magnetic card.

Types of authentication and signature methods that, without falling under any of the above categories might also be used to indicate the originator of an electronic communication (Such as a facsimile of a handwritten signature, or a name typed at the bottom of an electronic message).

According to the UNCITRAL MODEL LAW on Electronic Signatures, the following technologies are presently in use ?

Digital Signature within a public key infrastructure (PKI)

  • Biometric Device
  • PINs
  • Passwords
  • Scanned handwritten signature
  • Signature by Digital Pen
  • Clickable “OK” or “I Accept” or “I Agree” click boxes


Cybersecurity denotes the technologies and procedures intended to safeguard computers, networks, and data from unlawful admittance, weaknesses, and attacks transported through the Internet by cyber delinquents.

ISO 27001 (ISO27001) is the international Cybersecurity Standard that delivers a model for creating, applying, functioning, monitoring, reviewing, preserving, and improving an Information Security Management System.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology under the government of India provides a strategy outline called the National Cybersecurity Policy. The purpose of this government body is to protect the public and private infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity Policy

The cybersecurity policy is a developing mission that caters to the entire field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) users and providers. It includes ?

Home users

Small, medium, and large Enterprises

Government and non-government entities

It serves as an authority framework that defines and guides the activities associated with the security of cyberspace. It allows all sectors and organizations in designing suitable cybersecurity policies to meet their requirements. The policy provides an outline to effectively protect information, information systems and networks.

It gives an understanding into the Government’s approach and strategy for security of cyber space in the country. It also sketches some pointers to allow collaborative working across the public and private sectors to safeguard information and information systems. Therefore, the aim of this policy is to create a cybersecurity framework, which leads to detailed actions and programs to increase the security carriage of cyberspace.

Cyber Crime

The Information Technology Act 2000 or any legislation in the Country does not describe or mention the term Cyber Crime. It can be globally considered as the gloomier face of technology. The only difference between a traditional crime and a cyber-crime is that the cyber-crime involves in a crime related to computers. Let us see the following example to understand it better ?

Traditional Theft ? A thief breaks into Ram’s house and stealsan object kept in the house.

Hacking ? A Cyber Criminal/Hacker sitting in his own house, through his computer, hacks the computer of Ram and steals the data saved in Ram’s computer without physically touching the computer or entering in Ram’s house.

The I.T. Act, 2000 defines the terms access in computer network in section 2(a)

  • computer in section 2(i)
  • computer network in section (2j)
  • data in section 2(0)
  • information in section 2(v).

To understand the concept of Cyber Crime, you should know these laws. The object of offence or target in a cyber-crime are either the computer or the data stored in the computer.

Nature of Threat

Among the most serious challenges of the 21st century are the prevailing and possible threats in the sphere of cybersecurity. Threats originate from all kinds of sources, and mark themselves in disruptive activities that target individuals, businesses, national infrastructures, and governments alike. The effects of these threats transmit significant risk for the following public safety security of nations stability of the globally linked international community

Malicious use of information technology can easily be concealed. It is difficult to determine the origin or the identity of the criminal. Even the motivation for the disruption is not an easy task to find out. Criminals of these activities can only be worked out from the target, the effect, or other circumstantial evidence. Threat actors can operate with considerable freedom from virtually anywhere. The motives for disruption can be anything such as simply demonstrating technical prowess theft of money or information extension of state conflict, etc.

Criminals, terrorists, and sometimes the State themselves act as the source of these threats. Criminals and hackers use different kinds of malicious tools and approaches. With the criminal activities taking new shapes every day, the possibility for harmful actions propagates.

Mission and Vision Cybersecurity Program


The following mission caters to cybersecurity ?

To safeguard information and information infrastructure in cyberspace.

To build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats.

To reduce vulnerabilities and minimize damage from cyber incidents through a combination of institutional structures, people, processes, technology, and cooperation.


To build a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses, and Government.

The recent Edward Snowden revelations on the US surveillance program PRISM have demonstrated how a legal entity network and computer system outside a particular jurisdiction is subject to surveillance without the knowledge of such legal entities. Cyber cases related to interception and snooping are increasing at an alarming rate. To curb such crimes, cyber laws are being amended quite regularly.


Cyber security is a complex subject whose understanding requires knowledge and expertise from multiple disciplines, including but not limited to computer science and information technology, psychology, economics, organizational behavior, political science, engineering, sociology, decision sciences, international relations, and law. In practice, although technical measures are an important element, cyber security is not primarily a technical matter, although it is easy for policy analysts and others to get lost in the technical details. Furthermore, what is known about cyber security is often compartmented along disciplinary lines, reducing the insights available from cross-fertilization.

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Cyber and Network Security: Definition & Best Practices. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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