Introduction to Computer Networks and Cybersecurity

Introduction to Computer Networks and Cybersecurity

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  • Explains cybersecurity in the context of computer networking by using a wealth of real-world examples
  • Covers every aspect of cybersecurity, including cryptography, firewalls, IDS/IPS, VPN, SSL, access control, wireless network security, endpoint security, malware defense, and web security
  • Discusses the recent and emerging IETF and IEEE standards and drafts that will impact future technology
  • Illustrates the design of Layer 2-7 switches using the newest Cisco technology, to help you understand the algorithms and their limitations
  • Addresses new technologies, including virtualization, data center and cloud computing, unified communication, VoIP, and multimedia communication
  • Includes more than 1,000 color diagrams, illustrations, and screen captures

Pedagogical Features

  • Uses a flexible modular structure that lets you select the material you want for self-study or a variety of one- or two-semester courses
  • Includes learning goals in each chapter to provide motivation for studying the material
  • Summarizes key concepts as bridges to new concepts
  • Illustrates complicated operations with step-by-step examples that use diagrams and screen captures to explain the configuration of parameters
  • Contains more than 1,600 end-of-chapter problems and questions designed to test understanding of the material in each chapter
  • Provides PowerPoint® animations for critical operations, which have proved useful for teaching and self-paced learning

A solutions manual and CD with PowerPoint® slides are available upon qualifying course adoption.

Watch J. David Irwin discuss the book.


If a network is not secure, how valuable is it? Introduction to Computer Networks and Cybersecurity takes an integrated approach to networking and cybersecurity, highlighting the interconnections so that you quickly understand the complex design issues in modern networks. This full-color book uses a wealth of examples and illustrations to effectively connect the principles of networks and networking protocols with the relevant cybersecurity issues.

Get the Fundamentals of Internet Architecture and the Protocol Layers

Organized into six parts, the book walks you through the fundamentals, starting with the way most people first encounter computer networks—through the Internet architecture. Part 1 covers the most important Internet applications and the methods used to develop them. Part 2 discusses the network edge, consisting of hosts, access networks, LANs, and the physical media used with the physical and link layers. Part 3 explores the network core, including packet/circuit switches, routers, and the Internet backbone, and Part 4 examines reliable transport and the management of network congestion.

Learn about Malware and Security Systems

Building on the concepts and principles, the book then delves into state-of-the-art cybersecurity mechanisms in Part 5. It reviews the types of malware and the various security systems, made up of firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other components. Crucially, it provides a seamless view of an information infrastructure in which security capabilities are built in rather than treated as an add-on feature. The book closes with a look at emerging technologies, including virtualization and data center and cloud computing unified communication.

Understand Cyber Attacks—and What You Can Do to Defend against Them

This comprehensive text supplies a carefully designed introduction to both the fundamentals of networks and the latest advances in Internet security. Addressing cybersecurity from an Internet perspective, it prepares you to better understand the motivation and methods of cyber attacks and what you can do to protect the networks and the applications that run on them.

Pedagogical Features

The book’s modular design offers exceptional flexibility, whether you want to use it for quick reference, self-study, or a wide variety of one- or two-semester courses in computer networks, cybersecurity, or a hybrid of both. Learning goals in each chapter show you what you can expect to learn, and end-of-chapter problems and questions test your understanding. Throughout, the book uses real-world examples and extensive illustrations and screen captures to explain complicated concepts simply and clearly. Ancillary materials, including PowerPoint® animations, are available to instructors with qualifying course adoption.

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Information Networks
The Internet Architecture
Access Networks
The Network Core
Circuit Switching vs. Packet Switching
Packet Switching Delays and Congestion
The Protocol Stack
Providing the Benefits of Circuit Switching to Packet Switching
Cyber Security
History of the Internet
Concluding Remarks


The Application Layer
Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer Architectures
Inter-process Communication through the Internet
Transport Layer Services
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http)
Cookies: Providing States to HTTP
The Design of Efficient Information Delivery through Use of a Proxy
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
Electronic Mail
Concluding Remarks

DNS and Active Directory
The Domain Name Service (DNS)
Active Directory (AD)
Concluding Remarks

XML-Based Web Services
Overview of XML-Based Web Applications
Client/Server Web Application Development
The PHP Server Script
XML Schema
The XML Document Object Model (DOM)
Concluding Remarks

Socket Programming
Socket Concepts
TCP Socket Programming
Single-Thread TCP Socket Programming
Multi-thread TCP Socket Programming
UDP Socket Programming
Multi-thread UDP Socket Programming
IPv6 Socket Programming
Concluding Remarks

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Networks and Applications
Types of P2P Networks
Pure P2P: Gnutella Networks
Partially Centralized Architectures
Hybrid Decentralized (or Centralized) P2P
Structured vs. Unstructured P2P
P2P Client Software
Peer-to-Peer Name Resolution (PNRP)
Apple’s Bonjour
Wi-Fi Direct Devices and P2P Technology
P2P Security
Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
Concluding Remarks


The Data Link Layer and Physical Layer
The Physical Layer
Link Layer Functions
Link Layer Realization
Multiple Access Protocols
The Link Layer Address
MAC Layer Frame Format
The 802.2 Logic Link Control (LLC) Sublayer
Loop Prevention and Multipathing
Error Detection
Concluding Remarks

The Ethernet and Switches
Ethernet Overview
The 802.3 Medium Access Control and Physical Layers
The Ethernet Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection Algorithm
Ethernet Hubs
Minimum Ethernet Frame Length
Ethernet Cables and Connectors
Gigabit Ethernet and Beyond
Bridges and Switches
A Layer 2 (L2) Switch and Layer 3 (L3) Switch/Router
Design Issues in Network Processors (NPs) and ASICs
Design Issues for the Packet Buffer/Memory and Switch Fabric
Cut-Through or Store-and-Forward Ethernet for Low-Latency Switching
Switch Management
Concluding Remarks

Virtual LAN, Class of Service, and Multilayer Networks
The Virtual LAN (VLAN-802.11q)
Class of Service (CoS-802.11p)
Switch Design Issues in CoS, Queues and Switch Fabric
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
Classical IP over ATM
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
Multilayer Network (MLN) Architectures
Concluding Remarks

Wireless and Mobile Networks
An Overview of Wireless Networks
802.11 Wireless LANs
Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN)
WLANs and WPANs Comparison
WiMAX (802.16)
Cellular Networks
Concluding Remarks


The Network Layer
Network Layer Overview
Connection-Oriented Networks
Connectionless Datagram Forwarding
Datagram Networks vs. Virtual Circuit ATM Networks
Network Layer Functions in the Protocol Stack
The IPv4 Header
IP Datagram Fragmentation/Reassembly
Type of Service (ToS)
The IPv4 Address
The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
IP Multicast
Routing between LANs
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
Network Address Translation (NAT)
The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)
The Mobile Internet Protocol
Concluding Remarks

The Need for IPv6
The IPv6 Packet Format
IPv6 Addresses
The Transition from IPv4 to IPv6
IPv6 Configuration and Testing
Concluding Remarks

Routing and Interior Gateways
Routing Protocol Overview
Configuring a Router
VLAN Routing
Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)
The OSPF Routing Algorithm
The Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
Concluding Remarks

Border Gateway Routing
Autonomous Systems
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Overview
A Real-World BGP Case
BGP Route Advertisements
BGP Route Selection
BGP Import and Export Policies
BGP Security
Concluding Remarks


The Transport Layer
Transport Layer Overview
The Socket
The User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
A Reliable Transport Protocol: TCP
The TCP Packet Header and Options
The Buffer and Sliding Window
Features of the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)
The SCTP Packet Format
SCTP Association Establishment
SCTP Multi-Homing
Concluding Remarks

Packet Loss Recovery
Packet Acknowledgment (ACK) and Retransmission
Round Trip Time and Retransmission Timeout
Cumulative ACK and Duplicate ACK
The Sliding Window and Cumulative ACK
Delayed ACK
Fast Retransmit
Lost Synchronization (SYN) Packet and Recovery
The Silly Window Syndrome/Solution
The TCP Selective Acknowledgment (SACK) Option
Concluding Remarks

TCP Congestion Control
TCP Flow Control
TCP Congestion Control
Standard TCP End-to-end Congestion Control Methods
TCP Tahoe and TCP Reno in Request for Comment (RFC) 2001
An Improvement for the Reno algorithm—RFC 2581 and RFC 5681
TCP NewReno
TCP Throughput for a Real-World Download in Microsoft’s Windows XP
A Selective Acknowledgment (SACK)-Based Loss Recovery Algorithm
High-Speed TCP (HSTCP) Congestion Control Design Issues
Loss-Based TCP End-to-End Congestion Control Summary
Delay-Based Congestion Control Algorithms
Compound TCP (CTCP)
The Adaptive Receive Window Size
TCP Explicit Congestion Control and Its Design Issues
The Absence of Congestion Control in UDP and TCP Compatibility
Concluding Remarks


Cyber Security Overview
Security from a Global Perspective
Trends in the Types of Attacks and Malware
The Types of Malware
Vulnerability Naming Schemes and Security Configuration Settings
Obfuscation and Mutations in Malware
The Attacker’s Motivation and Tactics
Zero-Day Vulnerabilities
Attacks on the Power Grid and Utility Networks
Network and Information Infrastructure Defense Overview
Concluding Remarks

Unified Threat Management
Stateless Packet Filtering
Stateful/Session Filtering
Application-Level Gateways
Circuit-Level Gateways
A Comparison of Four Types of Firewalls
The Architecture for a Primary-Backup Firewall
The Windows 7/Vista Firewall as a Personal Firewall
The Cisco Firewall as an Enterprise Firewall
The Small Office/Home Office Firewall
Emerging Firewall Technology
Concluding Remarks

Intrusion Detection/Prevention System
The Approaches Used for IDS/IPS
Network-Based IDS/IPS
Host-Based IDS/IPS
The Detection of Polymorphic/Metamorphic Worms
Distributed Intrusion Detection Systems and Standards
The TippingPoint IPS
The McAfee Approach to IPS
The Security Community’s Collective Approach to IDS/IPS
Concluding Remarks

Hash and Authentication
Authentication Overview
Hash Functions
The Hash Message Authentication Code (HMAC)
Password-Based Authentication
The Password-Based Encryption Standard
The Automated Password Generator Standard
Password-Based Security Protocols
The One-Time Password and Token
Open Identification (OpenID) and Open Authorization (OAuth)
Concluding Remarks

Symmetric Key Ciphers and Wireless LAN Security
Block Ciphers
Stream Ciphers
The US Government’s Cryptography Module Standards
Side Channel Attacks and the Defensive Mechanisms
Concluding Remarks

Public Key Cryptography, Infrastructure and Certificates
The Digital Signature Concept
Public Key Cryptography Characteristics
Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)
Certificates and the Public Key Infrastructure
Public Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS)
X.509 certificate and Private Key File Formats
U.S. Government Standards
Attacks Which Target the Public Key Infrastructure and Certificates
Email Security
Concluding Remarks

Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) Protocols for Transport Layer Security
Introductory Overview
The Handshake Protocol
Attacks on the Handshake Protocol
The Record Protocol
SSL/TLS Cryptography
Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS)
US Government Recommendations
Extended Validation SSL (EV-SSL)
Establishing a Certificate Authority (CA)
Web Server’s Certificate Setup and Client Computer Configuration
A Certificate Authority’s Self-Signed Root Certificate
Browser Security Configurations
Concluding Remarks

Virtual Private Networks for Network Layer Security
Network Security Overview
Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)
The Internet Key Exchange (IKE)
Data Link Layer VPN Protocols
VPN Configuration Procedure Examples
Concluding Remarks

Network Access Control and Wireless Network Security
An Overview of Network Access Control (NAC)
The Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
Multiple Factor Authentications: Cryptographic Tokens and TPM
Enterprise Wireless Network Security Protocols
Concluding Remarks

Cyber Threats and Their Defense
Domain Name System (DNS) Protection
Router Security
Spam/Email Defensive Measures
Phishing Defensive Measures
Web-Based Attacks
Database Defensive Measures
Botnet Attacks and Applicable Defensive Techniques
Concluding Remarks


Network and Information Infrastructure Virtualization
Virtualization Overview
The Virtualization Architecture
Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) Architecture Options
CPU Virtualization Techniques
Memory Virtualization
I/O Virtualization
Server Virtualization
Virtual Networking
Data Center Virtualization
Cloud Computing
Concluding Remarks

Unified Communications and Multimedia Protocols
Unified Communications (UC)/Unified Messaging (UM)
Internet Protocol Telephony and Public Service Telephone Network Integration
Implementations of Unified Communications
The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
The SIP Distributed Architecture
Intelligence in Unified Communications
The Media in a Session Initiation Protocol Session
The Real-Time Protocol (RTP) and Its Packet Format
The Real-Time Control Protocol (RTCP) and Quality of Service (QoS)
Integrated Services in the Internet
The Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)
Unified Communication/Unified Messaging Security
Concluding Remarks

Glossary of Acronyms


Author Bio(s)

Editorial Reviews

"Introduction to Computer Networks and Cybersecurity is much more than an introductory book. ... It is a well written, organized, and comprehensive book regarding the security in the Internet. The authors present analytically a useful manual concerning wireless security, malware defense, and the applications in Web security. The book helps readers to follow their own paths of learning while it is structured in distinctive modules that allow for flexible reading. It is a well-informed, revised, and comprehensible educational book that addresses not only professionals but also students or anybody else interested in cyber security and needs an integrated source."
—Nicolas Sklavos, Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective (April 2014)

"This book touches every corner of the topic of computer network and cybersecurity. It explains thoroughly the concept of network layers. There are detailed instructions and illustrations on the design of each network layer employing the newest Cisco technology. In addition, the book discusses the security issues in the context of computer networks. Then it presents different prevention algorithms and techniques, starting with cryptographic techniques. Firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, authentication using hash, secure socket layer, virtual private network, and wireless network security are some of the security topics, which are described with real-life scenarios. The strength of the book lies in the fact that it also includes the recent and emerging Internet Engineering Task Force and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers standards and drafts that govern computer network and security technologies. Both the Instructor and the students would be able to maintain an up-to-date knowledge on the state-of-the-art technologies regarding network security. ... The text book presents a comprehensive overview of the fundamental concepts as well as state-of-the-art technologies in computer networks and security in cyber domain. The modular structure of the book makes it easy to adapt it for a variety of programs, including computer engineering, computer science, computer networks, computer security, and security systems, with different student backgrounds."
—Nazrul Islam, Farmingdale State College, New York, USA, Journal of Applied Security Research (January 2014)

"This book represents one of the most comprehensive overviews of computer security I have seen recently. The reader can quickly identify and learn about various cyber attacks, and become familiar with terminology of attacks, authentication, and protocols (chain of trust, phishing attacks, cross-site request forgery attacks, bonnet attacks, DNSSEC, DKIM, SNMP, …). ... The coupling of networking protocols and networks with their corresponding cybersecurity issues is a very good idea."
—Milos Manic, University of Idaho, Idaho Falls, USA

"This book combines good technical details with higher-level insights designed to help the reader focus on the right things and to understand them sufficiently. ... an up-to-date and well-written book on an exciting area of computing that forms the foundation for our modern, connected lives."
—Tim Watson, Cyber Security Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

"This book is an invaluable resource for students at all levels interested in computer cybersecurity. It also serves as an excellent reference in cybersecurity for professionals in this fast-evolving and critical field. This is an excellent text, content is very refreshing, informative, and easy to follow for students ranging from novice to advanced levels. It contains an impressive collection of up-to-date cybersecurity issues and analysis."
—Simon Y. Foo, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA

"... this book offers a full and comprehensive view of the state of the art on computer networks and cyber security issues and could serve as a sort of handbook for this area by providing clear and detailed explanations of the related various topics."
—Huijun Gao, Institute of Intelligent Control and Systems, Harbin Institute of Technology, China

"Easy-to-read, current and very well-written text."
—Jayantha Herath, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA

"One cannot deal with cybersecurity without being familiar with networking (and systems and programming for that matter) but I cannot remember seeing them in the same book, especially treated at that level of detail."
—Phil Janson, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne), Switzerland

"Every chapter presents its own goals, giving the students the proper perspective. Identifying learning goals is the first step to proper learning. ... [This book] makes cybersecurity a concrete object that students can touch and feel, rather than just an abstract concept."
—Alptekin Küpçü, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey

"This book by Wu and Irwin is one-stop shopping for a book that covers introduction to computer networks and to network security. Based on their industrial experience the authors selected the most important topics of both areas and created a text that can be used to learn about issues of network security while catching up on necessary details of computer networks."
—Aleksander Malinowski, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, USA

"I will recommend this book to any one that seeks to have in-depth knowledge in network security."
—Inah Omoronyia, School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK

"A very flexible textbook, suitable for a number of different types of lectures."
—Peter Palensky, Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna

"This book provides valuable details of many key network protocols and algorithms that help the readers gain insight quickly. ... Examples and homework problems given in the book are highly valuable, considerably beneficial for the readers to better understand the materials covered."
—Nian-Feng Tzeng, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, USA

"This is an excellent book to teach a course on network security. ... The material will prepare the students for exercising better protection in terms of understanding the motivation of the attackers and how to deal with and mitigate the situation."
—Shambhu Upadhyaya, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, USA

"This is a fantastic and practical book that provides great introduction to computer networking technology and comprehensive treatment of cybersecurity. The scope of the book covers the technology widely used in today’s computers, Internet, and servers through practical examples. The book provides important insights into how to enjoy a better and secure Internet life–it is a must read."
—Maria C. Yuang, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

"Chapters dealing with cybersecurity are solidly rooted in modern computer networking technologies and are well situated in real interconnection scenarios. ... Concepts are introduced with a clear language and progressively explained with a satisfactory degree of accuracy without exceeding in formalism. This enables understanding cybersecurity principles with small effort and makes the book suitable also to readers with little or no specific background in this area. ... The coverage of topics is very comprehensive and well balanced to satisfy a large number of teaching and learning requirements through different possible selections of parts of the material presented."
—Adriano Valenzano, CNR-IEIIT National Research Council, Italy

"It gives a complete treatment of the critical important field of computer networks and cybersecurity in a clear and methodical manner. ... The learning features are comprehensive, including the learning goals for each chapter, extensive examples to illustrate fundamental principles, numerous diagrams and illustrations to enhance the presentation, and a large number of end-of-chapter problems and questions to evaluate the student’s understanding of the chapters’ content."
—Gerhard P. Hancke, University of Pretoria, South Africa

"This is the main strength of the book—it is specifically designed to be helpful to teach courses on networks and its security. It is student-oriented as well as instructor-oriented—it makes the job of learning and teaching easier to the both sides."
—Wojciech Mazurczyk, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

"... stands out as a different book. ... This book can be adopted as a primary textbook for the undergraduate and the graduate classes in computer security. Even professionals working in the networking and security domain will find this book as an invaluable reference material. The strength of this book is its complete coverage of various layers of network layers from a security point of view."
—Professor Tony Thomas, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala, India

"The authors seem to have struck the right balance between technical detail and descriptiveness. Without glossing over the operational aspects of the multitude of architectures and protocols they discuss, the authors manage to retain the holistic picture across all the communication-oriented layers of the ISO OSI Model. Numerous elaborate examples illustrate new concepts immediately after they are introduced, and guide the reader almost by hand in understanding ‘how stuff works’. Inclusion of wireless and mobile networking, network virtualization and cybersecurity makes the book truly state of the art. The last part that deals with cybersecurity is especially exciting and documents the authors' vast knowledge of information security, communication protocols and application-level programming alike."
—Jerzy Konorski, Gdansk University of Technology, Poland

"To do something in the real world of networks, you need to understand the protocols in bit-by-bit, byte-by-byte level of details, as done in this book. I would also encourage my graduate students to read this book, since following through the book can guide the students to easily understand the networking protocols in a straightforward way as a software engineer and also as a network designer."
—Lynn Choi, Korea University, Seoul, Korea

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Correction List Cross Platform April 16, 2014

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