Computer security is the protection of computer systems and information from harm, theft, and unauthorized use.
It is a process of taking all precautionary steps in preventing and detecting unauthorized use of your computer system.
Threats to computers security are computer crimes, including viruses, electronic break-ins, and natural and other hazards.
security measures consist of encryption, restricting access, anticipating disasters, and making backup copies.
Threats to computer security
keeping information private depends on keeping computer systems safe from criminals, natural hazards, and other threats.
* Computer criminals : a computer crime is an illegal action in which the perpetrators uses special knowledge of computer technology. computer criminals are of four types :
* Employees : the largest category computer criminals consist of during the easiest access to computers – namely, employees.
Sometimes the employees is simply trying to steal something from the employer – equipment, software, electronic funds, proprietary information, or computer time.
Sometimes the employee may be acting out of resentment and is trying to get back at the company.
* Outside users : some suppliers or clients may have access to a company computer system.
Examples are bank customers who use an automatic teller machine. Like employees, they may obtain confidential passwords or find other ways of committing computer crimes.
* Hackers and crackers : Hackers people who gain unauthorised access to a computer system for the fun and challenge of it.
Crackers do the same thing but for malicious purposes. They intend to steal technical information or to introduce what they call a “Bomb“ a destructive computer program – into the system.
* Organised crime : organised crime has discovered that computers can be used just like a illegitimate business people use them, but for illegal purposes.
For example, computers are useful for keeping track of stolen goods or illegal gambling debt.
In addition, counterfeiters and forgers use micro computers and printers to produce sophisticated-looking document such as checks and driver’s licences.
* Computer crime : it can takes various forms , as follows :
– Damage : disgruntled employees sometimes attempt to destroy computers, programs, or files. Hackers and crackers are notorious for creating and distributing malicious programs known as Viruses .
Viruses : are programs that migrate through networks and operating systems and attach themselves to different programs and databases. There are four basic types of viruses : boot sector , file , Trojan horse, and macro.
Creating and knowledgeably spreading virus is a serious crime and an offence punishable by law.
A valiant ( a special type ) of virus is worm . This is a destructive program that fills a computer system with self-replicating information clogging the system so that its operation are slowed or stopped.
viruses and worms typically find their way into micro computers through floppy disks or programs downloaded from the internet.
Certain disk killer viruses can destroy all the information on one’s system. computer users are therefore, advised to exercise some care in accepting new programs and data from other sources.
Detection programs called anti virus checkers (programs) are available to alert users when certain kinds of viruses enter the system.
Three of the most widely used anti virus checkers are Dr. solomon’s anti virus, McAfee virus scan, and Norton anti virus.
unfortunately new viruses are being developed all the time and not all viruses can be detected.
Theft : theft can take many forms – of hardware , of software, of data , of Computer time . Thieves steals equipment , of course ,but there are also ” white collar crimes.”
Thieves steal data in the form of confidential information such as preferred client list. they also use their company computer to run another business.
Micro computer security
The ideal location for storing the microcomputer is in a locked room, an area not accessible to all employees.
The layout of the office or the sheer number of micros in an organisation may prohibit this type of security.
in that case, securing micros at the users’ desks is the next option.
Internal data security
There are certain things that a user can do to ensure that data are protected without having to worry about elaborate forms of security.
These simple steps can be followed to ensure that basic data security has been carried out.
* When the computer is not in use , the user should not leave the terminal on with confidential data being displayed on the monitor .
* When running a confidential application, the user should not leave the terminal unattended in an unlocked room.
* The user should not store disks in unlocked drawers or in the cabinet on which the terminal is kept.
* The user should remover all disk from the disk drive when the computer is unattended or not in use.
* The user should create backups for all critical data files in case they are destroyed or they are rendered inaccessible.
If a user is unfamiliar with computers, potentially destructive commands should be kept out of reach.
Store them on separate diskette. If someone accidentally FORMATS an important diskette, or performs FDISK on hard disk , all the files will be deleted!
If write – protect tabs are used on source diskettes, the danger of erasing a needed diskette or eliminated.
Measures to protect computer security
These tips can help protect the computers you use from viruses, hackers , spyware, and other attacks.
1- perform basic computer safety maintenance.
Before you surf the web, you should perform three key maintenance steps to help improve the computer security.
To protect your computer follow this 4 steps :
Step 1 : keep your firewall turned on
A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to delete information, crash your computer, or even steal your passwords, or credit card numbers, make sure your firewall is always turned on.
Step 2 : keep your operating system up-to-date
high priority update are critical to the security and reliability of your computer. They offer the latest protection against malicious online activities. Microsoft provides new updates, as necessary, on the second Tuesday of the month.
step 3 : use updated antivirus software
viruses and spyware are two kinds of usually malicious software that you need to protect your computer against. You need antivirus technology to help prevent viruses, and you need to keep it regularly updated.
step 4 : use updated antispyware technology
Viruses and spyware are two kinds of usually malicious software that you need to protect your computer against. You need antispyware technology to help prevent spyware, and you need to keep it regularly updated.
2 – Don’t open files from strangers
E-mail and instant messaging ( IM ) can spread viruses and worms if you aren’t careful. ( Most e-mail viruses are spread by people who are tricked into opening an infected file . )
you should never open a file attached to an email or instant message unless you recognise the sender and you are expecting the file.
3- Help fight spam and online scams
You can use technology to help keep junk email from diluting your screen .
Phishingg is another threat to your privacy that could lead to the theft of your credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal data.
4- Learn how to protect yourself from spyware
If your web browser has been taken over by pop-up ads, or there are toolbars on your computer that you didn’t download intentionally, your computer might be running spyware.
spyware is software that collects personal information from you without first letting you know what it’s doing and without asking for your permission.
you might get spyware if you download music, or file sharing programs, free games from sites you don’t trust, or other software programs from a suspicious website.
5- Take precautions when you go wireless
Many high school and college campuses have wireless networks so you can surf the web in the library, cafeteria, or a classroom.
this networks are convenient, but they do come with a security risk.
6- password protect your computer and lock it
Passwords are the first line of Defence in protecting your computer from criminals, pranksters, or a careless roommate.
If you don’t use a password to log on to your computer anyone can access your computer and unlock it.
Use our tips for building stronger passwords now , and be sure to lock your computer when you are not using it.
( To “lock ” your windows computer, hold down ” windows logo key + L .” Follow the instructions on the screen to unlock your computer when you are ready to use it again.)
7- Back up your work
The image of student losing their term papers because they forgot to back up their work has almost become a cliche .
Other measures for computer security includes :
* Encrypting : coding all messages sent over network.
* Restricting : limiting access to unauthorized person using such measures as passwords , dial back systems, and biometrics.
* Anticipating : preparing for disasters by ensuring physical security and data security through a disaster recovery plan.
* Securing : protecting microcomputer by avoiding extreme conditions guarding the computer, program, and data.