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Threats and Attacks

Before we begin our discussion of threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks, it is important to review TCP/IP basics and the seven-layer OSI model. This review is important because many of the attacks that are utilized today take advantage of some of the inherent vulnerabilities designed into the TCP/IP protocol suite. The attacks actually use the functioning of TCP/IP to defeat the protocol.


Protocols are nothing more than a set of formal rules or standards that are used as a basis for communication. Protocols are designed to facilitate communications. We'll use the example of a protocol officer at an embassy to describe how protocols function. The job of a protocol officer is to ensure proper communication between the embassy and the host country. A network protocol functions much in the same manner, only it ensures communications between network devices. Before network devices are able to exchange data, it is necessary for the devices to agree on the rules (protocol) that will govern a communication session.