Computers And Homeland Security Essay

1002 words - 4 pages

Computers and Homeland Security

Homeland Security is one of the most important departments in the United States. The United States Department of Homeland Security job is to reduce our vulnerability to terrorism and lead a national effort to help prevent terrorist attacks on our nation (Computer Concept, pg. 50). As technology evolves over the course of time, computers end up playing a crucial role in homeland security.

Computer systems are used throughout everyday lifestyles in order to make difficult tasks much simple. The government utilizes such systems in order to support their efforts in locating suspected terrorists throughout U.S. boundary lines. There are several software programs, which can be used in helping homeland security become successful. One program is known as the MATRIX, which is an abbreviation for the Multistate Anti-terrorism Information Exchange System. The MATRIX collects, analyzes, and exchanges terrorist and criminal intelligence data among state and federal agencies. It is a useful program because it contains data, such as criminal histories, driver licenses, and vehicle registrations. .

Computer technology has greatly increased the success of homeland security throughout recent years. It has increased the efficiency of homeland security because without software such as the MATRIX, identifying terrorists and locating criminal histories would become much more time consuming. Receiving satellite pictures and interfering phone calls with suspected terrorists would consume valuable time in the security process. Computers are beneficial because they can increase the speed of the security process and help us locate vital information with greater ease.

However, there are several disadvantages to having computers as the main source of aid in homeland security. One negative component of computers is that hackers often find methods to penetrate the information barriers. “Homeland security agencies are trying to secure the national computer with programs that target individual computer owners, corporate computer networks, internet service providers, and communications carriers” (Computer Concepts, pg. 51). The main purpose of the program US-CERT is to reduce the vulnerability of computer systems. Hackers usually try to harm computers by placing viruses or worms in them, but the US-CERT program helps reduce the damage of these viruses and worms. US-Cert reduces damage by sending mail to the computer when threats and vulnerabilities are found.

The National Security Agency “coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. government information systems and produce foreign signals intelligence information” (http://www.nsa.gov/about/index.cfm). Without the NSA the systems of the government would not be able to function...

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