|Computer Security - What Exactly
by: Ciontescu Molie
Although the term 'computer security' is used a lot, the
content of a computer is actually vulnerable to only a
few risks unless the computer is connected to others on
a network. As the use of computer networks (especially
the Internet) has increased dramatically during the past
few years, the term computer security is now used to describe
issues referring to the networked use of computers and
The major technical areas of computer security are confidentiality,
integrity and authentication/availability.
Confidentiality, also known as secrecy or privacy, means
that the information you own cannot be accessed by unauthorized
parties. Breaches of confidentiality range from the embarrassing
to the disastrous.
Integrity means that your information is protected against
unauthorized changes that are undetectable to authorized
users. The integrity of databases and other resources
are usually compromised through hacking.
Authentication means that an user is who he claims to
Availability means that the resources are accessible by
authorized parties. Examples of availability attacks are
the 'denial of service' attacks.
Other important things that the computer security professionals
are concerned about are access control and nonrepudiation.
Access control refer not only to the fact that users can
only access the resources and services they are entitled
to, but also to the fact that they can't be denied to
access the resources they legitimately expect. Nonrepudiation
means that a person who sends a message cannot deny he
sent it and vice versa.
In addition to these technical aspects, the concept of
computer security is very large. Computer security's roots
are drawn from disciplines like ethics and risk analysis
and the major topics that are concerning it are computer
crime (tries to prevent, detect and remedy attacks) and
identity/anonymity in cyberspace.
Although confidentiality, integrity and authenticity are
the most important things when it comes to computer security
in general, for everyday internet users, privacy is the
most important one, because many people think that they
have nothing to hide or the information they give doesn't
seem sensitive when they register with an internet service/site.
But remember that, on the internet, information is very
easily shared among companies and small pieces of related
information from different sources can be linked together
to form something alot more complex about a person. Because
of this, nowadays, the ability to maintain control over
what information is collected about them, who may use
it and how it can be used is extremely important.
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