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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

1.7 Summary

Computer security attempts to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computing systems' components. Three principal pieces of a computing system are subject to attacks: hardware, software, and data. These three, and the communications among them, constitute the basis of computer security vulnerabilities. In turn, those people and systems interested in compromising a system can devise attacks that exploit the vulnerabilities. This chapter has identified four kinds of attacks on computing systems: interception, interruption, modification, and fabrication.

Four principles affect the direction of work in computer security. By the principle of easiest penetration, a computing system penetrator will use whatever means of attack is the easiest; therefore, all aspects of computing system security must be considered at once. By the principle of timeliness, a system must be protected against penetration only so long as the penetration has value to the penetrator. The principle of effectiveness states that controls must be usable and used in order to serve their purpose. And the weakest link principle states that security is no stronger than its weakest point.

Controls can be applied at the levels of the data, the programs, the system, the physical devices, the communications links, the environment, and the personnel. Sometimes several controls are needed to cover a single vulnerability, and sometimes one control addresses many problems at once.

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