Computer Security

Computing magazines frequently define information assurance as “the technical and managerial steps designed to ensure the confidentiality, control or possession, integrity, authenticity, availability, and usefulness of information and information systems.” This information could be in storage, processing, or transit, and the risks to it may be accidental or deliberate.

Network technology advances so fast that IT specialists are constantly challenged to maintain. The abundance of valuable information stored on computers and delivered via the net offers great potential for hackers and scammers to infiltrate computer security.

Some hackers use their computers to break into businesses or other people’s computers to steal information, such as credit card numbers. This sort of computer criminal uses increasingly sophisticated procedures to obtain personal information. Other kinds of hackers are more interested in damaging the recipients’ computers and do that by sending viruses through Internet sites or email.

INTERNET CRIME STATISTICS
Between 2005 and the start of 2008, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said more than 215 million recordings of U.S. residents were compromised due to a security breach. A research conducted by the Ponemon Institute revealed that the overall average costs for exposed or lost data were 197 for every compromised record. This represents an 8% growth in the two years since 2006 and a 43 percent increase since 2005.

The Center has received reports of over 200,000 Internet crimes. These crimes cost almost $700 per criticism, or $200 million in 2006 and $240 million in 2007. A number of those crimes are online fraud and phishing scams, which increased 57 percent from 2007 to 2008.

In that year, over 3.5 million Americans were victims of online identity theft and phishing schemes, costing $3.2 billion dollars. The USA hosts the world’s greatest number of fraudulent websites, with over 25 percent.

RECORDS PROTECTION
With the ever-constant improvements in the ways that information is exchanged, companies are significantly changing how they cope with data protection and reduction. Many organizations are investing in security technology, worker education, and extensive protocol.

They’ve moved away from targeting people and instead are focusing more on targeting whole databases where they can discover massive amounts of personal identifying information. This has prompted organizations to concentrate on database security and invest in technology that tracks the information and decreases the number of data leaving their secure networks. According to specialists, this might be an issue for large businesses, which often have numerous databases that are unknown to the majority of security personnel.

The largest threat to a protected business, however, is human error. Some of the greatest security breaches are accidental and really come from within the business. As companies deal with a growing number of data, workers flow information by sending work files to personal e-mail addresses or obtaining emails from a personal computer. Insider job changes are another threat to security. Furthermore, contractors, outsourcing, and offshoring pose potential security threats.

While firms are increasing the amount of security in their systems, the immense quantity of business conducted over the Internet makes stealing information appealing for computer criminals. They employ a range of different methods including spyware, phishing, pharming, viruses, firewalls, and spam. These phrases are household words among computer users, particularly those using the Internet.

SPYWARE
Spyware is a term used to describe a program that’s set on a computer without the user’s consent, and usually without the user’s knowledge. A spyware application runs in the background and keeps track of the programs the user runs as well as the Web sites the user visits. Some spyware monitors the user’s keystrokes and extracts passwords and other information as they type. It then uses the information gathered to show certain advertisements or forces the user’s browser to display certain Web sites or search results.

Not only does spyware infringe upon users’ privacy, but it may also slow down computers. Many spyware programs consume the majority of the computer’s random access memory (RAM) and chip power, preventing other programs from using these tools.