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7. Conclusions

To guard against network intrusions, we must understand the variety of attacks, from exploits to malware to social engineering. Direct attacks are prevalent, but a class of pull attacks has emerged, relying on lures to bring victims to a malicious Web site. Pull attacks are much more difficult to uncover and in a way defend against. Just about anyone can become victimized.

Much can be done to fortify hosts and reduce their risk exposure, but some attacks are unavoidable. Defense in depth is a most practical defense strategy, combining layers of defenses. Although each defensive layer is imperfect, the cost becomes harder to surmount for intruders.

One of the essential defenses is intrusion detection. Host-based and network-based intrusion detection systems have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Research continues to be needed to improve intrusion detection, particularly behavior-based techniques. As more attacks are invented, signature-based techniques will have more difficulty keeping up.


  

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