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Computer Security Essay

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The importance of cyber security in modern Internet age

The internet has become the integral part of today’s generation of people; from communicating through instant messages and emails to banking, travelling, studying and shopping, internet has touched every aspect of life. With the growing use of the internet by people, protecting important information has become a necessity.  A computer that is not having appropriate security controls can be infected with malicious logic and thus any type of information can be accessed in moments. Number of infected Web Pages and malicious websites can be seen every day that infects the computer and allow hackers to gain illegal access to other computer systems.

Hacking of important data, network outages, computer viruses and other cyber related threats affect our lives that range from minor inconvenience to serious incidents. Cyber threats can be caused due to negligence and vulnerabilities, or unintentional accidents. Nevertheless, they can also be planned or intentional, like hacking or access by unauthorized users. The main objectives of such type of system attackers or hackers are to steal confidential information, to make illegal monetary transactions, to destroy or to change data and the like. System attackers can be terrorists, crackers or recreational hackers. They have a variety of tools that can harm or infect the computer; usually they use malicious logic or virus to gain unauthorized access to a computer. Opening email attachments that carry the virus, clicking malicious links or websites or unintentionally downloading a dangerous program are common ways through which a computer can be infected and data can be stolen.

 As the number of data networks, digital applications, as well as internet and mobile users are growing, so do the chances of cyber exploitation and cyber crimes. Even a small mistake in securing data or bad social networking can prove to be extremely dangerous. If accounts are not properly secured, it makes easier for hackers or unauthorized users to spread viruses or social engineered attacks that are designed to steal data and even money. Such types of issues highlight the need for cyber security as an essential approach in protecting and preventing data from being used inappropriately.

In simple language, Cyber Security or Information technology security means protecting data, networks, programs and other information from unauthorized or unintended access, destruction or change. It can be also be defined as all operations and activities that are undertaken to minimize threats and any kind of vulnerabilities, and enforcing required policies for prevention, data assurance, recovery and other cyber security related operations. It encompasses all the mechanisms and processes that protect digital equipment, information and records from illegal or unintended access, manipulation or destruction.

In today’s dynamic environment, cyber security has become vital for individuals and families, as well as organizations (such as military, government, business houses, educational and financial institutions, corporations and others) that collect and store a wide range of confidential data on computers and transmit that to other computers across different networks. For families, protection of children and family members from cyber crime has become substantially important. For an individual, protecting information that could impact social life as well as personal finance is essential. The internet has provided a wide array of learning opportunities, but there are risks too. Photos, videos and other personal information shared by an individual on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter can be inappropriately used by others may lead to serious and even life-threatening incidents. Social networking sites have become the most popular medium for sharing information and connecting with other people. But these sites have created varied opportunities for cyber crimes, compromised personal identities and information leakage. Therefore, it is important for individuals to understand how to protect against cyber threats, and must also comprehend the difference between virtual and real world. One should learn how to protect computers and personal information from being hacked and should engage in appropriate online behaviour in order to eliminate changes of cyber threats and thereby creating a safer online environment.

Business organizations, mainly small and medium-size face critical challenges in protecting data. Limited financial and technological resources make it difficult for them to upgrade security system and to stay updated with technology. However, better awareness towards cyber security and proper planning can prove to be very beneficial for such business organizations in protecting their information and trade secrets from being disclosed. Many small business organizations are now taking initiatives to protect their information from being accessed illegally.

Cyber security is equally important for local, state, and central government as these organizations maintain a huge amount of confidential data and records concerning the country and its citizens. Yet several government organizations face difficulty in protecting data because of inadequate secured infrastructure, limited funding and lack of security awareness. Stealing of confidential data or sensitive information, digital by terrorists from government organizations, as well as digital spying can lead to serious threats on a country. For this reason, cyber security is of paramount importance for government organizations also and is a vital asset to the nation

The increasing use of the internet and social media has made cyber security even more important that it was before. Growing cyber threats such as data theft, phishing scams and other cyber vulnerabilities demand that users should remain vigilant about protecting data. It is essential to understand the varied type of risks and vulnerabilities that exists in the Internet world. For every user, it is important to think before connecting to someone using online medium. Users should also think prior to sharing any information with other users through the internet.

Computer Security Essay

Define computer security (2mks)

Computer security refers to techniques for ensuring that data stored in a computer cannot be read or compromised by any individuals without authorization. The ability of a system to protect information and system resources with respect to confidentiality and integrity

Outline the goals of computer security (5mks)

- Confidentiality: verifying that information is private and therefore seen and accessed only by intended recipients.

- Authentication: identifying an individual or computer to ensure that the party attempting to access a given area is a member of the appropriate group or is listed on an access list.

- Non-repudiation: ensuring that people cannot deny their electronic actions.

- Integrity: verifying that information received is the information that was put there by the originator.

- Access control: verifying that the resources are under the exclusive control of the authorized parties and ensuring that the person attempting to access has the authority to do so.

- Availability: ensuring that data and server resources are up and running when needed by knowing that downtime was not caused by a security-related incident.

Explain why computers are vulnerable (3mks)

Complexity

Operating systems are composed of millions of lines of code and no single individual can claim to understand the security implications of every bit of these computer instructions. Hackers easily exploit the numerous weaknesses in operating systems and security products. When one weakness is exposed and exploited openly by the 'black hat' community, the operating system (OS) manufacturer patches it up. The hackers then find another weakness to exploit and the cycle goes on and on. It is...

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