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Computer security or cybersecurity involves safeguarding computing devices and networks from theft of data stored and accessed by them or any other risks.
Computer security is very vital as security threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated even as technology continues to advance.
Securing systems and networks enables people to go about their daily tasks seamlessly, while also preventing critical functions, such as governments, hospitals, among other emergency services, from being affected.
With the emergence of Internet, all business communication and other confidential information is now being stored on the web, which is at the risk of being hacked. This medium has now become the focus of hackers, who are not just swindlers, but terrorists, enemy countries, and others.
In cases of businesses, the stealing of crucial information of their clients, finances, and other assets will hurt them commercially as well as bringing them disrepute. Producers and artistes of movies, music and other show businesses risk losing their investments, as unscrupulous elements can leak their proprietary work to the general public for free. Therefore, information security is an issue of utmost importance for mankind as a whole.
Threats to computers come in various forms: through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, malicious software (malware), phishing, among others. It can also happen when a seemingly harmless email sent to you contains a malicious link.
In DDOS attack, many systems are compromised when they are inundated with surfeit of information in order to attack one system. But both the targeted system and other systems that have been used as guinea pigs get crashed. This huge traffic of data comes not from just one source but several.
Malware is software developed with an intent to cause damage to a system. Viruses, spywares, worms, Trojan horses are some of the various types of malware.
Phishing is done by sending an email, which has the sender posing as a reputed source misleads the unsuspecting user into divulging personal confidential information including details, such as bank account numbers, credit card information, etc.
Regulating computer usage, firewall, security software, cryptographic protocol, among others, are some of the ways of securing computing devices at organizations.
By regulating computer usage, you allow only rightful users to access data. Spreading awareness about malicious websites and illegal emails among users is also a way of preventing attacks.
Firewall, which can be either software or hardware, is a process which restricts access to a computer and network. For example, unauthorized users cannot access Internet through an intranet. Also, all messages being sent or received through the intranet have to pass though the firewall. The messages are then scrutinized by the firewall and those not adhering to the security measures are blocked.
Security software includes anti-spyware software, antivirus software, among others. They are developed by many private companies like McAfee, Symantec, Norton, among others.
Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is of late replacing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), developed by Netscape, is a cryptographic protocol that provides security for communication over the Internet. It sees to it that when a server and client are communicating, no other party can access their message. It secures confidential information like login details, credit card information, Internet banking password, among others, are safely transmitted.
The type of protection for a personal computing device is different from the one used by networks, i.e. both small and large organizations.
Where PCs are concerned, many users do not lock their computers when they step out for a break. This leaves it for others to tamper with their data. PC users need not use firewall, and other sophisticated software, but they need to purchase PC versions of security software that are meant mostly for one computer.
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