ITGS Syllabus

Friday, February 17, 2006

Topic 33

Security Measures by Wilanth James

What is computer security? Computer security is the process of preventing and detecting the unauthorized use of one’s computer. To stop unauthorized users (known as “intruders”) from having access to any part of one’s computer system, there are prevention measures one can use. Also, detection helps to determine whether or not someone attempted to break into one’s system, and if they were successful, what they may have done.

In recent years, many households use computers for everything from banking and investing to shopping and communications with others through e-mails and chat programs. Although many people might not consider their communications “top secret”, no one would want ‘intruders’, from reading their e-mail, using their computer to attack other systems, sending forged e-mails from their computers nor personal information stored in their computer (such as financial statements) examined.

Intruders (also known as hackers, attackers or crackers) may not care about a person’s identity. Whenever they are bored (also maybe if their life has no bright side to it), they would hack into a computer to gain control of one’s computer so they can use it to launch attacks on other computer systems. By doing so, they avoid being traced directly to their computer system at they break into high-profile computer systems such as government or financial systems. Even if the computer in the particular household is used to play the latest games or to send e-mail to friends and family, that computer maybe targeted. Intruders may be able to watch all the actions of that household computer or cause damages to it by reformatting the hard drive or changing data.

Unfortunately, intruders are always discovering new vulnerabilities (informally called “holes”) to exploit in computer software. Software complexity makes it increasingly difficult to thoroughly test the security of computer systems. When holes are discovered, it is up to the user of the computer to obtain and install the patches to address the problem or correctly configure the software to operate more securely. If system administrators and users kept their computers updated with patches and security fixes, most of the incident reports of computer break-ins could have been prevented. Also, some software applications have default setting that allow other users to access the computer unless the user changes the settings to be more secure. An example includes chat programs that let outsiders execute commands on one’s computer or web browsers that could allow someone to place harmful programs on your computer that run when you click on them.

A firewall is a system or group of systems that enforces an access control policy between two networks. A firewall typically takes one of two forms in the context of home networks. One is in the form of software firewall which is a specialized software running on an individual computer. The other is a network firewall which is a dedicated device designed to protect one or more computers. Many of both types of firewalls allow the user to define access policies for inbound connections to the computers they are protecting and also provides the ability to control what services (also known as ports) the protected computers are able to access on the Internet (outbound access).

A variety of antivirus software packages that operate in many different ways, depending on how the vendor chose to implement their software. But they all look for patterns in the files or memory of your computer that indicate the possible presence of a known virus. Antivirus packages know what to look for through the use of virus profiles (sometimes called “signatures”) provided by the vendor. Since new viruses are discovered daily the effectiveness of antivirus software is dependent on having the latest virus profiles installed on the computer so that it can look for recently discovered viruses. It is important to keep these profiles updated.


harsh said...

Perhaps you should have listed some of the popular anti-virus programs that are available in the market and why one program is better than the other.
Also you should have perhaps compared Windows vs. Mac and how one OS is better than the other IN TERMS OF security. For example, MAC OS X has almost no viruses compared to Windows' 70,000 viruses!
Otherwise, a good article. You explained why we need to take security measures and how hackers exploit computers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 1:53:00 AM


Blogger aplec said...

no1 has the time to make viruses for shitty OS such as mac.who is going to waste his time to spoil what is already so shitty.

May 10, 2010 3:22 AM  

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