Computer Security

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Computer Security is, basically speaking, the preservation of computing systems and the information that they save and / or retrieve.

Computer Security is important as it enables people to perform their work and study.  It helps in the execution of essential business processes, and Safeguards confidential and sensitive information.

Computer Security is important enough that it should be learned by everyone.  Only 10% of security safeguards are technical—the remaining 90% depends on the user adhering to good computing practices.

Every user of a computer or mobile device should be able to grasp how to keep their computer, devices, and data secure.  Computer security is everyone’s responsibility.

Core Principles of Cyber Security

  • Confidentiality – Information that is sensitive or confidential must remain so, and should be accessible to authorised users only.
  • Integrity – For information to retain its integrity, it must not be altered from its original state
  • Availability – Information and systems must always be available to authorised users when needed.

Importance of Computer Security in Organizations Today

  • To preserve company assets – Company assets include information kept in the computer networks, which are every bit as vital and useful as the physical assets of the company.
  • To conform with governing requirements and moral responsibilities – Each organization creates policies and procedures which deal with the security requirements of the organization in question.
  • For competitive benefit – Financial services and e-commerce considers network security to be of prime importance.
  • To help curb the increasing volume and sophistication of cyber security threats – Threats of this nature include targeting phishing scams, data theft, and the exploitation of other vulnerabilities in the network.

The internet can be a dangerous place: thousands of attacks per minute can infiltrate a network and cause serious, long-term harm.  An unprotected computer can become impacted or damaged within the first few seconds after being connected to the network.

A weakened computer is a threat to everyone.  A hacked computer can be used to do the following:

  • Record keystrokes and steal passwords
  • Send spam and phishing emails
  • Harvest and sell email addresses and passwords
  • Gain access to restricted or personal information on your computer, or on other systems that you have access to
  • Infect other systems with viruses and other malware
  • Conceal programs that launch attacks on other computers
  • Illegally disseminate music, movies and software
  • Distribute child pornography
  • Produce great volumes of traffic, slowing down the whole system

A weakened computer can be utilised for all kinds of harmful purposes.

Many internet security hazards can be prevented.  Here are some of the ways computer users can protect themselves against security breaches:

  • Use strong, ambiguous passwords that can’t be easily predicted, and keep them secret.
  • Ensure that your computer, devices and applications are updated with the latest version of the operating system in question.
  • Ensure that your computer is secured with up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software.
  • Ignore unknown or unsolicited links and attachments. Don’t download unfamiliar files or programs onto your computer or other devices.
  • Remember that data, especially passwords transmitted through typical wireless connections, is very easy for hackers to capture.
    • Look for ‘https’ in the URL before you input any confidential information or a password. The added s in https means secure, and guarantees a degree of protection not afforded by the standard http markup.
    • Avoid using normal, unencrypted e-mail and unencrypted Instant Messaging if you’re concerned about confidentiality.

Consequences for Security Violations

  • Risk to both the security and the integrity of personal or confidential information
    • Identity theft
    • Data corruption or destruction
    • Unavailability of critical information in an emergency
  • Loss of valuable business information
  • Loss of employee and public trust, embarrassment, and bad publicity, which can take the form of media coverage, online articles, and news reports
  • Costly reporting requirements in the case of certain types of personal, financial, and health information being compromised
  • Internal disciplinary action(s), up to and including termination of employment, as well as possible penalties, prosecution and the potential for sanctions / lawsuits

Computer security is the protection of computers, as well as of the data that the computers hold. Computer security measures can encompass anything, from protecting computers with passwords to setting up firewalls—it’s important to familiarise yourself with as many different measures as you can in order to ensure that you give your data and your devices as much protection as possible.