Home > Articles > Security > General Security and Privacy

This chapter is from the book


  1. List at least three kinds of harm a company could experience from electronic espionage or unauthorized viewing of company confidential materials.

  2. List at least three kinds of harm a student could experience from electronic espionage or unauthorized viewing of personal materials.

  3. Describe a situation in which complete denial of service to a user (that is, the user gets no response from the computer) is a serious problem to that user. Describe a situation in which 10% denial of service (that is, the response from the computer is 10% slower than normal) is a serious problem to a user.

  4. Consider the web site of an organization many people would support, for example, an environmental group or a charity. List at least three classes of people who might attack that web site. What are their motives? Consider the web site of a controversial organization, for example, a group of extreme ideology. List at least three classes of people who might attack that web site. What are their motives? Can you build a list of three classes that would attack both types of sites?

  5. Do you think attempting to break in to (that, is obtain access to or use of) a computing system is ethical? Why or why not? Do you think that act should be illegal? Why or why not? Base your answer on harm: Who is harmed, to what degree, and does benefit to the person breaking in override the harm?

  6. Consider electronic medical records. Which of confidentiality, integrity, and availability do their users require? Cite examples of each of these properties you think are required. Describe at least two kinds of people or situations that could threaten each property you name.

  7. Distinguish among threat, threat agent, vulnerability, harm, and control.

  8. Not all kinds of computer harm are illegal. List five examples of harm that are not illegal.

  9. Consider the example with which this chapter began: a series of seemingly unrelated events, including failure of the communications and electrical power networks. Describe a scenario in which these could all occur concurrently but not be related. Describe a way at least one could lead to another. Describe a way you could determine the root cause of each failure.

  10. Continuing from Exercise 9, suppose you were a malicious agent assigned to cause failure of the telecommunications and electric power systems. What steps could you take to make it difficult to determine who you are? What steps could you take to make it difficult to determine that the attack was malicious and not a natural accident? What steps could you take to make it seem as though the cause was someone else, for example, a particular foreign country?

  11. Consider a restaurant with an online reservation system for patrons. What confidentiality, integrity, and availability threats might such a system experience? Hypothesize vulnerabilities in such a system that an attacker might try to exploit. What countermeasures could be applied against these threats?

  12. Suppose a payroll system secretly leaks a list of names of employees earning more than a certain amount each pay period. Who would be harmed by such a vulnerability? How could such a vulnerability come about? What controls could be instituted to counter such a vulnerability? Suppose the leakage was not just names but also employees' identification numbers and full pay amounts. Would the people harmed or the degree of harm be different? Why or why not? If the employees are the ones suffering the greatest harm, who should be responsible for countering this vulnerability: the employee or the employer? Why?

  13. A letter arrives in the surface mail apparently from your bank, but you are skeptical of its origin. What factors would make you skeptical? How could the bank help allay your skepticism in advance of sending the letter? What could the bank put in the letter itself that would reduce your skepticism? Would your answers be the same if the bank sends email instead of a surface mail letter?

  14. Consider a program you could install on your own personal web page to display your city's current time and temperature. What threats could this program cause to you? To people who visit your web site? What controls could counter those threats?

  15. Consider a program that allows people to order goods over the Internet. What threats could this program cause to users (purchasers)? What threats could this program cause to the merchant? Hypothesize three vulnerabilities that could allow these threats to be actualized.

  16. Suppose you are a talented sailor about to race your boat in a yachting competition. A possible threat to winning is cancellation of the event because of adverse weather conditions. List three other threats you might encounter as you try to win by posting the fastest finishing time. List three vulnerabilities those threats might exploit. List three countermeasures against those threats.

  17. Suppose you are a spy, and you need to pass secret materials to another spy, Agent Smart. However, you and Smart have never before met. You are aware that hostile forces are all around, any one of whom might try to impersonate Smart; if you approach someone and asked if she is Agent Smart, she might say she is even if she is not. Suggest a control for this threat—that is, a way you could be convinced the person to whom you are talking is really Agent Smart. Would your technique work if you assumed your telephone and mail were being monitored by the hostile agents? Suggest a way that would work even if your communications were monitored.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020