Essay on Small Office Network Set-Up
Number of words: 2295
A small office comprises a home office environment and the business culture that informs it. The Small Office is a privately-owned business characterized by small office space and a minute number of employees using the network. The small business network design is a function of the number of users and the programs it comprises. A peer-to-peer network consisting of a file server, router, and a few workstations will be ample. Having a formidable network infrastructure is fundamental to ensuring the IT system works effectively and efficiently. For Small Office, a custom network.
Transmission media comprises the communication avenues that relay information from one end to the other through electromagnetic signals. The primary functionality of transmission media is carrying information as bits through local area networks. The transmission media links transmitters and receivers in the communication process (Marshall, 2020). Transmission media are primarily classified into two categories, namely wired and wireless media. Characteristics for wired media are more profound, although the signal characteristics in wireless communication are vitally important.
Wired/guided transmission media transmit signals directly through physical links. The main features of these media include high speed, security, and application over small distances. This category comprises three primary channels types: twisted pair cable, coaxial cable, and optic fiber cable. The coaxial cable includes an external plastic cover housing two parallel conductors with separate protection covers. Coaxial cables are used to transmit data in baseband and broadband mode and are used mainly in cable TVs and analog TV networks. They are beneficial for high bandwidth, superb noise immunity, and cheap and straightforward installation. However, a cable failure can disrupt the entire network (GeeksforGeeks, 2021). Optical fiber cables apply the notion of light reflected through plastic or glass-enclosed with thick plastic cladding used for large volume data transfers. The twisted-pair cable comprises two separate conductor wires tucked jointly in a protective cover. They are the most used transmission media and are available in two forms; unshielded twisted pairs and shielded twisted pairs. Shielded twisted pairs apply for high-speed transference and removing crosstalk, although they are complex to manufacture and install due to their bulky nature.
Unguided media is also called unbounded or wireless transmission. These mediums do not require physical channels for transmitting electromagnetic signals. The prominent features are more minor security features, transmission through air, and plication over large distances. Various types of unguided media include radio waves, microwaves, and infrared waves (GeeksforGeeks, 2021). Infrareds apply across small distances as they do not go through obstacles such as walls. Microwaves are sightline transmissions that require an alignment of the transmitting and receiving antennas. The distance the signal covers is directly proportional to the antenna’s height.
A bridge is a device that operates t the data link layer. Majorly, it is a repeater with an added functionality of filtering content by reading the MAC addresses of the source and the recipients. It also applies to interconnecting different LANs working on a similar protocol. A bridge comprises a single input and output port that makes it a 2-port device (RMON Networks, 2019). Different bridges include transparent bridges where the stations are unaware of the bridge’s existence and its inclusion or exclusion from a network or significance of reconfiguration. Another form is source routing bridges, where routing operations are by source stations, and the frame defines which route to follow.
A router refers to a device used to route data packets depending on their IP addresses. The router is primarily a network layer device that connects LANs and WANs (GeeksforGeeks, 2021). Routers have a dynamic updating routing table depending on those who make routing decisions on the data packets. The router divides broadcast domains of the hosts connected via its connection.
A switch is a multiport bridge that comprises a buffer and design that enhances its efficiency and performance. A switch performs the role of checking errors before forwarding data making it very efficient. It does not forward packets with errors and transmits good packets selectively to the appropriate ports alone (RMON Networks, 2019). The switch classifies the collision domains of the host while the broadcast domain remains intact.
A hub is generally a multiport repeater that connects several wires emerging from different branches, such as connectors in star topology that connect other stations. Because hubs cannot filter information, package data is transmitted to all connected devices. All collision domains of connected hosts in the hub remain one (RMON Networks, 2019). Further, the lack of intelligence to identify the best path for different data packets results in inadequacies and wastages. The different types of hubs include active hubs with their own power supplies, passive hubs that collect wiring from nodes and power supply from active hubs, and intelligent hubs that function like active hubs and comprise remote management abilities.
Contrasting to routers and switches, a firewall is a network security appliance that monitors the traffic and blocks unauthorized traffic emanating from outside sources trying to infiltrate the network (GeeksforGeeks, 2021). Firewall offers enhanced security with in-line deep packet evaluation, an intrusion protection system, SSL/TSL encrypted traffic inspection, bandwidth management, website filtering, third-party identity management, and anti-virus inspection. Basically, a firewall serves as a gatekeeper for valuable computer networks.
Significance of DNS
A domain name system (DNS) applies to convert IP addresses into readable domains. It is easy to recall random numbers that help one different access sites or IP addresses with a DNS. A DNS keeps the address records and mail exchange records up-to-date, ensuring constant access to the domain. Incorrect descriptions cause sporadic or failed mail delivery, while inaccurate records prevent website access. When individuals interact with domains, the surfing device runs several requests to convert URLs into machine-readable IP addresses. The first stage of correcting domains is looking at the local DNS cache. A query is sent to the root nameserver if the information is missing on the local DNS cache. The DNS is transferred to TLD nameservers to the authoritative DNS servers before eventually reaching the nameservers that contain specific information stored in its records. While the process seems a long one, the entire process takes milliseconds to accomplish. The risk of incorrectly stored records poses substantial threats to a business; a potential client will be redirected elsewhere when they cannot access the necessary data.
Threats for Computer Network Users/ Data Security and Strategies
Malware is malicious software that includes computer viruses, worms, spyware, and adware developed by cyber attackers, commonly known as “hackers.” Its main goal is to gain authorized access to a computer network and damage its systems. It is often delivered in links or files sent through emails and is activated when a user clicks the link or attachment. When the malware is successfully executed, it can block one’s access to critical network components. Malware can also contain other intrusive software that disrupts systems and siphon personal information or data. To prevent this from infecting your computer network is to install anti-virus software and regular updates. Anti-virus software is one of the most important ways to protect against the threats of malicious software. Anti-viruses scan your computer to detect issues and clean the malware. However, installing anti-virus software is not enough; it is also important to regularly update it to stop attackers from gaining access to your computer because outdated software is more vulnerable to network security threats. Another vital tip to prevent infection by malware is to avoid clicking on suspicious links and to avoid downloading attachments from unknown sources. It might look intriguing or enticing, but don’t click it and make sure it is safe.
Rogue security software: Rogue software is a new approach by scammers to influence computer users to access information from their devices. Rogue security software comprises malicious software that misleads users to apply them under the disguise of suitable applications without any network security threats. Common experiences include the installation of computer viruses that compromise the security feature of a device. A pop-up message citing lack of updates or requiring specific downloads results in installing threats that draw information from these users. This rogue software mimics the process of malware, or anti-virus software, including scanning for threats and resolving issues, bar that they demand payments to address the problems. Rogue software is downloaded actively or passively unknowingly (Essential Tech, 2021). Therefore, computer users need to be vigilant always to read anti-virus reviews keenly to avoid infiltration. Certain companies may hire professionals to put positive reviews to prevent negative perceptions. Besides, computer users must look for deeper information about specific software. Importantly, customers can use reputable security software such as McAfee. Visiting the official site of software manufacturers is critical since some scammers copy brands from reliable sources. Most effectively, users should avoid clicking suspicious pop-up texts or links to ignore the tactics to eliminate the risks of falling for malicious downloads.
Another risk for computer users is the trojan horse, a malicious software application or code designed by infiltrators in the form of legitimate or credible software whose primary objective is gaining access to the computer. The trojan horse threat occurs as emails with attachments that look like official sources. However, these attachments comprise a malicious code that is activated once the user clicks, uses, or downloads the file. Trojan threats are advanced when users click on false advertisements appearing on websites. Once the threat gets into the system, it records the passwords by keylogging and hijacking the webcam to steal sensitive personal data (University of North Dakota, 2020). Besides installing cybersecurity software to minimize threats by trojan horses, a few practices include refraining from installing software from untrusted sources. I addition, users must avoid downloading and opening suspicious attachments or programs sent to emails. A simple trick is updating all software in time and installing a trojan anti-virus on the computer.
The Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a cybersecurity threat that attacks and intercepts private communication between two computer nodes. For instance, MITM is known for DNS spoofing, Wi-Fi hacking, HTTPS spoofing, ARP spoofing, and SSL hijacking. When interceptors mark their position in the two-way nod transaction, they can filter and steal sensitive information when communicators use unsecured public network connections. Precautionary measures include preventing MITM threats before they strike (University of North Dakota, 2020). Therefore, users must install strong encryption on wireless access points and devices to minimize unnecessary network traffic. Besides, putting in place strong router credentials can limit the number of users on a network. Implementing more robust encryption translates to a better and safer. A safer practice includes changing the default user and passwords of the router devices to prevent attackers from accessing the network. When using public networks, individuals should utilize VPNs to create a secure environment and safeguard sensitive data. This way, intrusive parties cannot decipher VPN traffic. Enforcing HTTPS can prevent attackers from accessing any data since it is more secure than HTTP.
Lastly, phishing is the form of social engineering attack disguised as a responsible party attempting to access sensitive and confidential data such as login credentials, network credentials, and credit card credentials through fraudulent instant messages and emails. Phishing emails appear deceivingly legitimate and trustworthy, as some are even personalized to suit a user that is hitting their targets at their softest (Essential Tech, 2021). For instance, some phishing messages bait victims to provide their bank details, accounts, and personal information in the pretense of reputable persons or organizations. Prevalent incidences such as email alerts that resemble bank communication on emails redirect users to other links that indicate errors with individual accounts requiring instant resolutions by logging in to approve the changes. Once the login credentials are provided, users are redirected to the actual sites to re-enter their credentials. Users barely notice that they have given away critical information to attackers who can misuse the data. Therefore, users must be vigilant to spot phishing emails. Simple protection strategies include deleting suspicious-looking emails without reading them to prevent virus activations. Also, users can manually bar email senders from preventing receiving similar emails (Essential Tech, 2021). Another effective strategy of avoiding phishing by employing commonsense before submitting sensitive information. Refraining from clicking links on emails and opening official addresses directly can eliminate such threats. Lastly, users must be keen to avoid trusting alarming messages and not opening attachments from suspicious communications.
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Essential Tech. (2021). 5 most common network security risks by essential tech Brisbane. Managed IT Services Provider in Brisbane – Essential Tech. https://www.essentialtech.com.au/blog/5-most-common-network-security-risks
GeeksforGeeks. (2021). Types of transmission media. https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/types-transmission-media/
Marshall, M. (2020). Designing and building the best small office network from the ground up. Library Technology Guides. https://librarytechnology.org/document/1236
RMON Networks. (2019). What’s the difference between a switch, a router, and a firewall? https://rmonnetworks.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-switch-a-router-and-a-firewall/
University of North Dakota. (2020). 7 types of cyber security threats. University of North Dakota Online. https://onlinedegrees.und.edu/blog/types-of-cyber-security-threats/