ITGS Syllabus

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Topic 5

Password protection, Security, Biometrics and Authorized access by Akira Jackson

First of all, what are password protection, biometrics and authorized access? Password protection is a form of security that uses various numbers, alphabets and symbols to prevent other people from accessing your computers and private files. Another form of security that has emerged recently is biometrics, which uses various body parts, such as eyes and fingers, to identify individuals authorized to view confidential company information.

The issues surrounding these subjects mainly concern the hackers and other people who try to get through the security that is set up. For example, hackers can figure out passwords using various programs and tools or by simply guessing. Also people believe biometrics is a form of protection that they can rely on, but nothing is perfect; even biometrics can have flaws.

For example, in the case of face recognition the machine uses the information like how your face is shaped, the location of your nose, ears and their shape. In this case people can use a realistic model of the person to fool the machine, or coerce a person with access privileges to allow entrance. Voice recognition can be fooled using high-quality recordings or simply forcing the individual to speak in front of the machine to get in.

That goes for authorized access as well, which mainly uses passwords during login to determine if the user is granted authority. This also can be broken easily and even altered so the original user is unable to control the computer. Also people from the company can be paid to get individuals through security, or fooled by social engineering specialists. For example, Kevin Mitnick, a former hacker, regularly convinced people over the phone that he belonged to the same company and obtained passwords from them. So there is nothing that can keep you completely safe from outside interference.

I think one solution to help overcome the problem would be to make the punishment heavier for the hackers and other individuals that try to get past various security measures. Also companies can hire hackers to check if their security is reliable. Another way to overcome the problem is to hire security personnel, who would be useful because they can recognize people that do not belong to the company.

What areas do hacking and other illegal behavior affect? First of all, the economic consequences are huge. This is because hackers can break in to various companies computer and steal new technologies and company secrets. Then they can sell these secrets and technologies to rival companies and even other countries, which can greatly impact society because companies would lose profit or gain profit that they don't deserve. Also, people's sense of security would be greatly affected because there is always a possibility that someone would hack into your computer and steal or mess up documents and files.

The act of looking at people's private files and documents is ethically wrong, and destroying or stealing them is even worse. This is mainly because they don't belong to you and because the individual didn't permit you to look at the documents. In cases of stealing company secrets and new technologies the same logic applies. You don't deserve the technology if you didn't acquire it through your own efforts. Faking the biometrics is almost the same as saying you had criminal intentions because outside of the entertainment industry there is no need to copy other people's faces, fingerprints, voices and so on in everyday life. Breaking security means you are getting into somewhere you don't belong and ignoring other people's thoughts and feelings, which is morally wrong as well.

If you break into a house by faking the biometric security is entering the house without authorization, which is against the law in Japan and many other countries. Also, if you hack into a game CD and copy the content and resell the copies this is against the law on copyright. The main law concerning hacking and accessing files through hacking is the law that states: knowingly accessing a computer without authorization and gaining information and this is what some hackers do. Most of the other laws state the same idea like intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causes damage Most laws deal with individuals who break into computers without authorization and steal information from the computer. But it is bit in the grey area if the individual only breaks the protection but does not cause damage, steal information, or copy files.

22 Comments -Show Original Post Collapse comments

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November 21, 2006 7:22 PM

I0S0A0K0U said...

It might not have been neccessary to spend a whole paragraph on the definition of password protection. However, the formulaic format of this essay clearly conveys information on the topic, making it a very educational piece of writing.

November 27, 2006 7:17 PM

I0S0A0K0U said...

The opinions on ways of improvments could have been presented in more depth, but they do give us the fundemental ideas to counter the problems.

November 27, 2006 7:21 PM

I0S0A0K0U said...

Solid work as a whole.

November 27, 2006 7:22 PM

heejunson said...

I understand that hackers' attempts to break the rule are big problems nowadays. Your essay evoked me the book "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown in which the killer takes professor's eye for biometric eye recognition to get into secret research lab. You could have mentioned how to solve these problems. Overall you are fine!!!

November 27, 2006 7:31 PM

Alex Young said...

Yes security and password protection is a big issue in this generation. I think though every technological development will have flaws but you described many interesting ways of identification such as the facial features or the person's voice. Overall an interesting essay.

November 27, 2006 7:42 PM

Dhruv Rajashekaran said...

solid essay. I remember watching an episode of 24. In the episode, terrorists killed a man withg securit clearance to enter a facility guarded by biometrics. They took his eyes out. So, if the criminals are ruthless enough...are the cleared people in trouble?

November 28, 2006 7:19 PM

kaerujin said...

A very interesting topic to write about and good info. on the security measures and the different ways the "bad people" do to invade or extract personal info.
But it would help if you could provide info. about ways to detect hackers or people doing illegal stuff on the net.

November 29, 2006 7:18 PM

Oli said...

What Dhruv mentioned is right. If we move into Biometrics, then we start putting our tissues and organs at risk. Scary, but it's a sick world out there.

December 03, 2006 1:37 AM

Sujit_George said...

You know you can say that privacy is an issue for password protection. Usually that is the only reason why people put password protection.

December 03, 2006 7:40 PM

Lanky Wanky said...

hey...if you use limewire at home (the illegal part of it *cough* i think everyone should read this comment *cough*) is there a chance of a police officer coming over to to your house and arresting you for using lime wire??

December 03, 2006 7:44 PM

Tommy Chuang said...

What sort of techniques do the authorities use to catch people who hack?

December 05, 2006 7:15 PM

moyer said...

I agree that security and password protection is a big issue, especially recently. I have one question. How do you catch people who do the "hacking" with current technology?

December 07, 2006 7:40 PM

Joseph Toyoshima said...

I liked how you defined the termonology from the start to help understand what the essay is about more clearly. Your many examples helped simplify and explain what your topic. Your topic makes us aware of the world that we are in, that anyone can recieve our private information and files easily.

December 11, 2006 6:13 AM

ronniewonnie said...

Well developed essay.
Very interesting topic chosen and you did a good job on it.
I especially found the hacking part of the essay the most interesting since there are so many hackers lately.
Ronald Chu

December 11, 2006 7:09 AM

kenth said...

I agree that security and password protection is a big issue. It helped me when the term was defined at the beginning.

December 11, 2006 9:47 PM

Chun said...

This is a good essay and thanks to it I recognized the importance of password protection and biometrics. But I don't think making the punishment heavier would work. Although some will be scared of the punishment and stop hacking, some hackers do hacking to show that they can enjoy other people's privacy while avoiding the law. THerefore, I think the heavier punishment would make some hackers to recognize it as a challenge, which would provoke them to hack more.

December 14, 2006 4:25 AM

Simon Ruiz said...

what are some of the solutions to encounter the people who break the security (passwords) and the possible alternatives involving the consequences?

December 14, 2006 5:50 AM

aditya kumar said...

Interesting essay. I thought you could have focused a little more on the cons of password protection. Did you know that Microsoft actually hires hackers to make sure that their product is fit for the market?
- Aditya Kumar

December 15, 2006 4:35 AM

faghunter said...

No I did not know, how suprising!

December 17, 2006 7:01 AM

matwilder said...

You have nicely discussed what passwords, biometric systems, and authorized access are. But, if these things do not fullfill the requirements we set forth on security measures, what possible solutions are there? This was not discussed in the essay. Furthermore, what are the chances of a person giving away a corporate password to some stranger on the telephone just because the person says he works for the company? Very unlikely.

December 18, 2006 3:15 AM

Vaibhav said...

Excellent essay! In todays world as technology advances it becomes more and more challenging to actually develop programs which have high security measures.

December 19, 2006 4:50 AM


Blogger Wonbae said...

I think the essay was well wrote out for any person, who takes for granted the security of his or her everyday email accounts or vital information, to understand. I guess as the IT industry makes its advance towards the new century new crimes are created out of no where. Even if we develop higher security I doubt there will ever be a perfect one. With protection devices evolving every year or so Cyber crime will equally intensify as well. Well thank you for such a edifying essay concerning the things that we take for granted

August 27, 2007 9:16 PM  

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