Explaining the OSI Security Architecture in Detail – IQCode


In the field of computer networking and data communication, security is a major concern.
OSI Security Architecture is a framework that provides guidelines and standards to secure data in a network.

What is OSI Security?

OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) security is a set of guidelines that provide a secure communication protocol between different systems on a network.

OSI Model

The OSI model is a conceptual model that defines the way in which different systems or devices communicate with each other over a network.

OSI Security Model

The OSI Security Model outlines the security concerns and guidelines that must be addressed in order to ensure maximum security for data communication in a network.

OSI Security Architecture

The OSI Security Architecture is a set of guidelines and protocols that must be followed in order to ensure maximum security for data communication in a network.

Security Attacks

Security attacks are events that compromise the security of a network or a system. There are two types of security attacks: passive and active.

Passive Attack

In a passive attack, an attacker eavesdrops on the communication between two systems without altering the data. The attacker is able to gain information without being detected.

Active Attack

In an active attack, an attacker alters the data being transmitted between two systems. This type of attack is detectable as it results in a disruption in the communication between the two systems.

Security Services

Security services are the measures put in place to ensure the security of data communication in a network. These services include authentication, authorization, confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Security Mechanisms

Security mechanisms are the tools used to implement the security services. These mechanisms include encryption, digital signatures, access control, and firewalls.

Benefits of OSI Security Architecture

The benefits of OSI Security Architecture include the provision of a framework for maximum security for data communication in a network and guidelines for the implementation of security services and mechanisms.


OSI Security Architecture is crucial to ensuring the maximum security of data communication in a network. It provides a framework for security guidelines and protocols that must be followed to keep a network secure.

The Importance of OSI Security Architecture

The primary purpose of the internet is to facilitate communication between computers and the sharing of data/resources. However, most of the shared information is private and must be kept secure to avoid unauthorized access or data breaches. To address this concern, the OSI Security model establishes a standardized security framework for organizations. By providing a structured approach to security, organizations can better determine their security needs and minimize risks to their data and systems. In this article, we will explore the OSI Security Architecture in detail.

Understanding OSI Security

To begin, let us review the OSI model. See the accompanying diagram:
OSI Model Diagram

The OSI model is a theoretical framework that describes the functions and interactions of a computer network. OSI Security is a set of protocols and standards defined by the model to ensure secure communication over a network. It includes measures such as data encryption, access control, and authentication.

Understanding OSI Model

The OSI Model is a standard for computer networking that divides the communication process into 7 layers and specifies different protocols to be used at each layer. Even though we do not practically implement the OSI model and use the TCP/IP model instead, OSI model still provides standardization for protocols.

In the OSI model, data starts from the Application layer of the sender, and at each layer below, a header with information like the sender’s address and receiver’s address is added. When the data reaches the Physical layer of the sender, it has all the headers of previous layers attached to it. The data then travels through a physical medium to the receiver and reaches the Physical layer. The receiver then removes headers from the data at each layer and sends it to the upper layers. Finally, when the data reaches the Application Layer of the receiver, it is in its original form.

Understanding the OSI Security Model

In data transfer, the data can be vulnerable to theft, modification, or unauthorized access. This can prove dangerous, especially in larger organizations. The OSI Security Model provides a standard for data security by identifying attacks, security services, and mechanisms. It determines which security services and mechanisms should be implemented in each layer of the OSI model. Let’s delve deeper into the OSI Security Architecture model. Code: N/A.

OSI Security Architecture

The OSI Security model identifies system data attacks and offers a range of security services to counter them through various layers of the OSI model. Let’s begin by discussing security attacks.

Types of Security Attacks

A security attack is any action that endangers the data or the overall security of a system. There are two types of attacks: active and passive.

Passive attack:

A passive attack is when an attacker intercepts data during transmission without modification. There are two types of passive attacks are traffic analysis and eavesdropping, with traffic analysis analyzing the volume of data exchanged, and eavesdropping reading the actual data exchanged.

Active attack:

With active attacks, the attacker modifies data during transmission. Some types of active attacks are replay, masquerade, denial of service (DoS), and distributed denial of service (DDoS). Masquerade allows an attacker to appear as an authorized user without stealing data packets. In DoS, an attacker sends too many requests to the system, making it unable to process them all. In DDoS, an attacker uses multiple authorized users to send requests simultaneously.

The OSI security model also helps to detect the types of attacks along with the Security Services.

Security Services

Security services are used to maintain security and can be implemented in various OSI model layers. They can be divided into 5 major categories:

Authentication: In this service, the system identifies the user, and only authorized users can use it. This can be done using password protection.

Access Control: Various levels of employees have different levels of access to the system in an organization.

Confidentiality: This is one of the pillars of the security model CIA, and it means only the sender and receiver can access data shared between them.

Integrity: The data shared between the sender and the receiver should not be modified by a third party.

Non-repudiation: This refers to proving that data was received by the receiver, and the receiver can’t deny receiving it.

These are some major security services that exist.

Security Mechanisms in OSI Model

Security mechanisms are used to set up security services in different layers of the OSI model and detect attacks or data breaches. They help to prevent, protect, and detect cybersecurity threats. Three popular security mechanisms are:

Encryption: The message sent from the sender to the receiver is encrypted to a format that cannot be easily decrypted by attackers. Popular encryption algorithms include AES, RSA, and Triple DES.

Traffic Padding: The sender and receiver send data to each other; to avoid gaps which attackers can exploit, the sender sends dummy data to the receiver during empty time.

Routing Control: Messages travel different routes; senders and receivers should communicate via different routes to prevent attackers from taking advantage of predictable routes.

These security mechanisms improve the protection against cybersecurity threats.

Benefits of OSI Security Architecture

The OSI Security Architecture provides benefits like:

Security: The model is designed to secure organizations’ data from breaches.
International Standards: Worldwide security standards can be followed by organizations without worrying about separate implementation.
Simplicity: The model is easy for managers to implement and build a security model based on strong principles.

Overall, the OSI Security Architecture offers significant benefits for organizations seeking to secure their data and systems.

Understanding OSI Security Architecture

The OSI Security Architecture has three main pillars: attacks, security mechanisms, and security services. This security model is beneficial and sets international standards. Hopefully, you found this concept useful and informative. Until next time at IQCode.

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