Whether a person is an occasional computer user, works in a major corporation, or within a government agency there is a dangerous risk out there. That risk is one that everyone must be concerned with, inadequate computer security. Computer security has become essential in today’s well connected digital world. Everyone wants to communicate with someone at sometime, and normally these communications need to be secure. If these communications are going through any sort of electronic device they are passing through some type of communications network. Whether the information is traveling around the world or just across the room to another computer this information is at risk. Safeguards must be implemented to the computers and networks that they use to protect them from viruses, intruders, and system failures.
“A computer security risk is any event or action that could cause a loss of or damage to computer hardware, software, data, information, or processing capability” (Shelly). One of the most common risks is a computer virus. A virus can change software on a computer for the purpose of spreading itself to other files. This can cause failure of a program or even the operating system itself. Another common threat is known as a worm. “A worm is a program that copies itself repeatedly, for example in memory or on a network, using up resources and possibly shutting down the computer or network” (Shelly). These computer viruses and worms are launched in four basic ways: when a user opens an infected file, runs an infected program, boots the computer with infected removable media inserted in a drive or plugged in a port, or connects an unprotected computer to a network. A very common way these viruses and worms spread is as e-mail attachments, when opened by an unsuspecting user the file begins doing what is programmed to do. Lastly, there are programs known as Trojan horses, they are programs that hide within or look like a legitimate program (Shelly). They wait for certain conditions or actions to trigger them. A Trojan horse will not normally spread to other computers. In 2008 there were more that 180,000 know viruses, worms, and Trojan horse programs (Shelly).
The term hacker is well known in the computer world it can be defined as someone one who accesses a computer or network illegally. They often claim the intent of their security breach is to improve security by exposing weaknesses within the system (Shelly). There is a slightly different type of individual that is referred to as a cracker. They break into computer systems like the hacker, but their intent is to destroy data, steal information or other malicious actions.
These threats to computer security cannot be totally eliminated, but there are ways to greatly reduce the chances of a security compromise. Such as never booting up a computer with removable media inserted or plugged in to it. These are item such as cds, dvds, usb flash drives to name a few. Even if the boot up is...