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Computer Sabotage: Made Possible By Human Error

1277 words - 6 pages

When it comes to technology there is always room for error, whether it be in the code that is providing functionality to a system or from the tasks and operations given to the system by the user. The military has a saying, “You have to be ten percent smarter than your equipment.” The extra ten percent is to cover, and work around, errors that you yourself might make. Anytime errors are made they are almost always called an “operator error”, blaming the incident directly on the person operating the system rather than the system itself. While there is a little wiggle room here, since there is almost always room for improvement in any system, it is not far off. When speaking of computer sabotage we are referring to the disruption, or destruction, of a system by malware. However, unlike electronic break-ins, where hackers gain unauthorized access to a system, computer sabotage almost always occurs due to an “operator error” as the user unknowingly welcomes malware to their own system. Computer sabotage often targets the weakest points of entry into a system and relies on the ignorance of a user to mount an attack, therefore proper training of users and the constant debugging and testing of security measures should be stressed to ensure the highest level of defense from malicious attack.
Firstly, when discussing computer sabotage it is important to follow the actions that led to the incident in order to determine key areas that might be improved. One such incident is the relatively new crypto locker virus, which practically takes a user’s entire system ransom until a sum of money has been paid. Now one might think that this type of incident must warrant some extreme form of attack, when in reality the victims of this attack were said to have opened attachments found in their emails. Such a simple mistake on the part of the user, yet the following of bitcoin addresses has shown that “more than $27 million has been transferred to the creators of the threat worldwide” (Dowling). Another example of computer sabotage is the Kaiser Data Breach where it was discovered that a computer used by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of research to store research data had been infected with malicious software for more than two and a half years. The breach led to over fifty-one hundred patients being notified that their names, birth dates, medical record numbers, lab results, addresses and other medical research data had been compromised. What was so surprising was that the breach was not caused by someone simply clicking on an attachment in a questionable email, but rather, as the director of the research stated, because the antivirus software on the server had not been updated “due to human error related to the configuration of the software” (McCann).
Lastly, having identified “human error” as the culprit to most incidents of compute sabotage it is imperative to improve training practices and security protocols in order to avoid future...

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