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Network Security Protocols

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What are Network security protocols?

Protocols are a set of rules governs the communications between two sources. Network security protocols are a type network protocol that ensures the security and integrity of data in transit over a network connection. Network security protocols define how to secure network data from any illegitimate attacks.

There are around 3,885,567,619 internet users in this world and World Wide Web is full of sensitive information necessary for e-commerce, online transactions etc. As database driven applications are increasing their hold on the systems market, the systems are being developed rapidly. Unauthorized and malicious users are finding ways into these systems – and creating new ways to retrieve sensitive information. So it is important to secure the data that is transmitted in such network.

Several very popular network protocols such as, “Localtalk” (Apple) or “Token Ring” (IBM), commonly used in the 90’s and early 21st century have now largely fallen into disuse as there is an increase in Internet-based networks, which use IP/TCP , are becoming the leading protocols for most networks But simple TCP/IP doesn’t provide the security necessary for e-commerce, online banking and company extranets Additional tools along with these protocols are required for better security. One way of mitigating a potential attack during a user’s session would be to use a secure communication protocol to encrypt data in transit between the user and the server on which the sensitive information resides. This is where the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) come into the picture.

Some attacks on Network

We can group network attacks based on the skills possessed by the attacker.

  • Unstructured–These attacks are done by unskilled hackers. The person behind the attack uses the tools available on the net and often does not know the environment he is attacking. These threats should not be neglected because they can potentially expose precious information to malicious users.
  • Structured– These attacks a far more dangerous compared to the previous attacks and are done by individuals who possess advanced computing skills. Such hackers are experts in exploiting system vulnerabilities. By gaining enough information about a company’s network, these individuals can create custom hacking tools to breach network security.


Layer Communication Protocols, Security Protocols, Application Layer, HTTP FTP SMTP, PGP. S/MIME, HTTPS, Transport Layer, TCP /UDP, SSL, TLS, SSH, Network Layer, IP, IPsec, Secure Socket Layer

In a broad sense Secure Socket Layer is a security protocol. It is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted links between a client and a server—typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client. There are many applications of SSL in existence, since it is capable of securing any transmission over TCP. Secure HTTP, or HTTPS, is a familiar application of SSL in e-commerce or password transactions

The 3 key features of the SSL that collectively provide security are:

  • Privacy – connection through encryption
  • Identity authentication – identification through certificates
  • Reliability –dependable maintenance of a secure connection through message integrity checking


Generally to use certain protocols, there are some protocol specific criteria to be met by the communicating systems. Since the SSL protocol is integrated into most web browsers, and those browsers are normally used to access web applications, no further configuration is required from the client’s side of the SSL connection.


There are four protocol layers in the SSL protocol. They are:

  • Record Layer
  • ChangeCipherSpec Protocol
  • Alert Protocol
  • Handshake Protocol

These protocols encapsulate all communication between the client machine and the server.


It provides:

  • Confidentiality : A shared secret Key is used for encryption.
  • Message Integrity: A shared secret key is used to form a MAC(message authentication code)

The record layer manages the ChangeCipherSpec, Alert and Handshake protocol messages.It takes the message being transmitted and fragments the data into manageable blocks. It provides a header for each message, and a hash, generated from a Message Authentication Code (MAC) is appended at the end. This MAC is ensures the non-repudiation of the message.

It encrypts the data along with the MAC and transmits the result. The fields that comprise the five-byte header of the Record Layer are: Protocol Definition (1 byte), Protocol Version (2 bytes) and the Length (2 bytes). The protocol messages that follow the header cannot be longer than 16,384 bytes, as specified by the SSL protocol.

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Network Security Protocols. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 26, 2021, from
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