1.2 IP: The Foundation of the Internet

The Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is the networking protocol suite all public Internet sites currently use to communicate and transmit data to one another. From a network security assessment methodology standpoint, this book comprehensively discusses the steps that should be taken during the security assessment of any IPv4 network.

IPv6 is an improved protocol that is gaining popularity among academic networks. IPv6 offers a 128-bit network space (3.4 x 1038 addresses) as opposed to the 32-bit space of IPv4 (only 4 billion addresses) that allows a massive number of devices to have publicly routable addresses. Eventually, the entire Internet will migrate across to IPv6, and every electronic device in your home will have an address.

Due to the large size of the Internet and sheer number of security issues and vulnerabilities publicized, opportunistic attackers (commonly referred to as script kiddies) will continue to scour the public IP address space seeking vulnerable hosts. The combination of new vulnerabilities being disclosed on a daily basis, along with the adoption of IPv6, ensures that opportunistic attackers will always be able to compromise a certain percentage of Internet networks.