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By: imarchany
July 11, 2017

Introduction to Network Security: Protocols

By: imarchany
July 11, 2017
imarchany s profile image
By: imarchany
July 11, 2017

Network security has been a top notch in the cybersecurity field due to the interconnected devices across the world. It has become very important in our lives because the Internet continues to evolve and computer networks grow dramatically. The fundamentals of network protocols give you a better understanding how the network is structured and how communications are being transmitted. In this topic, I would mention ten protocols that I believe are the most important ones to acknowledge.

TCP/IP Protocol: The TCP/IP protocol is the fundamental communication protocol of the Internet and it consists of two protocols, the TCP, and the IP. The TCP/IP was developed in the Unix operating system in 1989. The purpose was to have computers communicate in a simple way and transmit information across the network. For example, a user interacts with an application and TCP is responsible for sending the message to the destination host. After the TCP sends the message it returns an IP header which includes the location and the IP address destination.

HTTP Protocol: The HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) protocol is based on the www (World Wide Web) which transmits messages around the network. For example, when a user is entering the browser and enters in the URL a search, the URL transmits the messages by HTTP to the web server that the user requested. Then the web server responds and delivers the results of the search criteria you had requested.

UDP Protocol: The UDP (User Datagram Protocol) protocol is an additional protocol to TCP which focuses on low-latency and loss connections between applications on the internet. UDP offers port numbers to differentiate what the user requests and offers checksum to count the number of bits in a transmission and to validate that the data has been completely delivered. UDP is part of the OSI model in the transport layer. One of the advantages of this is that it does not require a connection to send data and THE UDP header is smaller than TCP header.

TCP Protocol: The TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) protocol is a standard protocol which describes how to manage a network communication using applications that can transmit data. It also communicates to other networks using Internet protocol. It requires a connection to transmit messages.  The TCP works with IP which transmits packets of data to each other. TCP is a network device used for data transmission from the network layer. In the OSI model, TCP belongs to a portion of the transport layer and session layer. The purpose is to make it easy for computers to communicate with each other and send information across the internet.

FTP Protocol: The FTP (File Transfer Protocol) protocol is usually used to transfer files over the Internet. FTP uses a client-server to share files by a remote computer. The way the FTP works is like HTTP for sending web pages from a server back to the user. Files can be transmitted by two computers using an FTP software. One computer would be the local host and the other computer would be the remote host also using the same FTP software. There are three steps to transmit the files: first, the local host computer connects to the remote host using their IP address; second, the user must authenticate by entering a username and a password. Third, The FTP software often has a graphic user interface (GUI) to grant the users to drag and drop the files between each other.

SSH Protocol: The SSH (Secure Socket Shell) protocol focuses on network operations and provides a secure way to access via remote computer. SSH provides authentication and encryption between two computers connecting to the Internet. SSH is well used by network administrations to manage systems by remote access. It also uses a client-server just like FTP, but instead of transmitting files IT connects into a secure application.

DNS Protocol: DNS (Domain Name System) protocol maintains a directory of domain names translated into IP addresses. The DNS tracks the user to locate the web address to the corresponding IP address. For example, if a user types in the URL google.com, the web server is not reading the name google.com is reading the NUMERICAL IP address that corresponds to google.com which in this case is 208.65.155.84.

TLS Protocol: TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol is based on SSH but focuses on data integrity and secrecy. TLS is widely used for web browsers that ensure a secure transmission by a network, such as voice over IP, VPN connections, etc. TLS provides secure communications between servers and browsers on websites. Using TLS can provide secure connections between a client and a server using symmetric encryption which provides secrecy. Integrity is ensured by checking each message being transmitted using a message authentication code.

DHCP Protocol: DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a network protocol which provides IP host that contains IP addresses, AND A default gateway and subnet mask. DHCP is being used by network administrations to manage network configuration to make sure each user requesting information to the server using its IP address would respond back to the corresponding IP address. For example, if the DHCP server is not responding then each computer must be manually assigned to an IP address.

MAC Protocol: The MAC (Media Access Control) protocol belongs to the data link layer which is layer 2. It focuses on systems that share communications by local networks. MAC is being assigned to a network interface card to move data packets from one device to another by a shared channel. The MAC protocol is also known as MAC address that contains 12-digit hexadecimal numbers which are part of the internet protocol.

Once you understand the fundamentals of the network protocols you should be able to understand how different mechanisms can communicate with each other and this It gives you a better understanding of how the Internet sends information from one point to another. This topic can be easily expanded by additional protocols but I wanted to give an introduction for the main protocols for new users who want to understand the basics of network protocols.
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