Knowing the ways of the enemy


Most users have become so accustomed to networking that they never stop to ask if anyone may be listening. We all know we’d better be careful on the open Internet – even home users now use firewalls to keep intruders off the wires, and corporate admins throw in a Maginot line of proxy servers, honeypots, and tools of the DMZ. But what’s happening inside the firewall? How will you know if someone is listening – or maybe even impersonating another user? Statistics tell us that many attacks begin on the inside, from bored or disgruntled employees looking for a thrill, or possibly, from an even angrier sort looking for some form of revenge. In many corporate settings, a complete stranger can show up with a laptop and plug it to the network without exciting any response at all from the security system. The problem is even worse with wireless networks. A casual vandal standing across the street, or even in the next apartment, can make contact with your network.