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What is Computer Security? Introduction to Computer Security

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The Internet has transformed our lives in many good ways. Unfortunately, this vast network and its associated technologies also have brought in their wake, the increasing number of security threats. The most effective way to protect yourself from these threats and attacks is to be aware of standard cybersecurity practices. This article on “What is Computer Security?” presents an introduction to computer security and its key concepts.

  1. What is Computer Security?
  2. Computer Security Threats
  3. Best computer security practices.

What is computer security?

Computer security basically is the protection of computer systems and information from harm, theft, and unauthorized use. It is the process of preventing and detecting unauthorized use of your computer system.

Often people confuse computer security with other related terms like information security and cybersecurity. One way to ascertain the similarities and differences among these terms is by asking what is being secured. For example,

  • Information security is securing information from unauthorized access, modification & deletion
  • Computer Security means securing a standalone machine by keeping it updated and patched
  • Cybersecurity is defined as protecting computer systems, which communicate over the computer networks

It’s important to understand the distinction between these words, though there isn’t necessarily a clear consensus on the meanings and the degree to which they overlap or are interchangeable.

 

So, Computer security can be defined as controls that are put in place to provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability for all components of computer systems. Let’s elaborate the definition.

Components of computer system

The components of a computer system that needs to be protected are:

  • Hardware, the physical part of the computer, like the system memory and disk drive
  • Firmware, permanent software that is etched into a hardware device’s nonvolatile memory and is mostly invisible to the user
  • Software, the programming that offers services, like operating system, word processor, internet browser to the user 

The CIA Triad

Computer security is mainly concerned with three main areas:

CIAtriad - Computer Security - Edureka

 

  • Confidentiality is ensuring that information is available only to the intended audience
  • Integrity is protecting information from being modified by unauthorized parties
  • Availability is protecting information from being modified by unauthorized parties

 

In simple language, computer security is making sure information and computer components are usable but still protected from people or software that shouldn’t access it or modify it.

Now moving forward with this ‘What is Computer Security?” article let’s look at the most common security threats.

Computer security threats

Computer security threats are possible dangers that can possibly hamper the normal functioning of your computer. In the present age, cyber threats are constantly increasing as the world is going digital. The most harmful types of computer security are:

Viruses

Virus - What is Computer Security?- edurekaA computer virus is a malicious program which is loaded into the user’s computer without user’s knowledge. It replicates itself and infects the files and programs on the user’s PC. The ultimate goal of a virus is to ensure that the victim’s computer will never be able to operate properly or even at all. 

Computer Worm

worm - What is Computer Security? - EdurekaA computer worm is a software program that can copy itself from one computer to another, without human interaction. The potential risk here is that it will use up your computer hard disk space because a worm can replicate in greate volume and with great speed.

Phishing

email - What is Computer Security? - Edureka

Disguising as a trustworthy person or business, phishers attempt to steal sensitive financial or personal information through fraudulent email or instant messages. Phishing in unfortunately very easy to execute. You are deluded into thinking it’s the legitimate mail and you may enter your personal information.

Botnet

botnet - What is Computer Security? -EdurekaA botnet is a group of computers connected to the internet, that have been compromised by a hacker using a computer virus. An individual computer is called ‘zombie computer’. The result of this threat is the victim’s computer, which is the bot will be used for malicious activities and for a larger scale attack like DDoS.

Rootkit

Rootkit - What is Computer Security? - EdurekaA rootkit is a computer program designed to provide continued privileged access to a computer while actively hiding its presence. Once a rootkit has been installed, the controller of the rootkit will be able to remotely execute files and change system configurations on the host machine.

Keylogger

keylogger - What is Computer Security? - EdurekaAlso known as a keystroke logger, keyloggers can track the real-time activity of a user on his computer. It keeps a record of all the keystrokes made by user keyboard. Keylogger is also a very powerful threat to steal people’s login credential such as username and password.

These are perhaps the most common security threats that you’ll come across. Apart from these, there are others like spyware, wabbits, scareware, bluesnarfing and many more. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against these attacks.

Computer Security Practices

Computer security threats are becoming relentlessly inventive these days. There is much need for one to arm oneself with information and resources to safeguard against these complex and growing computer security threats and stay safe online. Some preventive steps you can take include:

  • Secure your computer physically by:
    • Installing reliable, reputable security and anti-virus software
    • Activating your firewall, because a firewall acts as a security guard between the internet and your local area network 
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest software and news surrounding your devices and perform software updates as soon as they become available
  • Avoid clicking on email attachments unless you know the source 
  • Change passwords regularly, using a unique combination of numbers, letters and case types
  • Use the internet with caution and ignore pop-ups, drive-by downloads while surfing
  • Taking the time to research the basic aspects of computer security and educate yourself on evolving cyber-threats
  • Perform daily full system scans and create a periodic system backup schedule to ensure your data is retrievable should something happen to your computer.

Apart from these, there are many ways you can protect your computer system. Aspects such as encryption and computer cleaners can assist in protecting your computers and its files.

Unfortunately, the number of cyber threats are increasing at a rapid pace and more sophisticated attacks are emerging. So, having a good foundation in cybersecurity concepts will allow you to protect your computer against ever-evolving cyber threats.

If you wish to learn cybersecurity and build a colorful career in cybersecurity, then check out our Cybersecurity Certification Training which comes with instructor-led live training and real-life project experience. This training will help you understand cybersecurity in depth and help you achieve mastery over the subject.

Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section of “What is Computer Security?” and we will get back to you.

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