Network intelligence analyzes data that passes through computer networks, filtering Internet protocol information to collect data patterns and locate malicious activity. Network intelligence uses deep packet inspection (DPI) to analyze IP packets and decide what packets are safe, locating malware if it exists. DPI can also redirect packets of data if necessary. Similarly, packet filtering analyzes from whence IP addresses come and places necessarily limits on those packets. Network intelligence also uses elements of business intelligence to collect and study Internet protocol data and learn from network traffic patterns.
Network intelligence is an important aspect of Internet security. Corporations often use it to protect their sensitive data and gain insights regarding their websites‘ user traffic. Filtering IP packets and traffic can also help network providers become more aware of Denial-of-Service attacks, in which an attacker purposely orchestrates IP traffic to overwhelm a network.
Because network intelligence analyzes IP packets and has the ability to block them, it can be a vehicle for censorship. One of the most outstanding examples of this is China, which has a nationwide firewall, known as the “Great Firewall of China,” which contains multiple layers that manage all traffic in and out of the country. The firewall uses IP address blocking as well as DNS cache poisoning to redirect IP requests if they are for blocked websites or even keywords.
Ordinarily, virtual private networks can help prevent some network intelligence for computer users who are concerned about their privacy. But in China, most VPNs are blocked, and citizens must use a government-approved one, which also limits their Internet traffic. However, China isn’t the only example of network intelligence gone wrong—it’s also a concern in less restrictive nations, including the United States.