The computer security “protects ones computer and everything associated with it but more importantly the stored information in the system” (Russell and Gangemi 8). The issue of security of computer and information is fundamentally a matter of understanding the susceptible areas and the techniques needed for security. The most important thing is to realize that the security of computer is the responsibility of everyone and thus should not be left to the computer security managers alone.
The contents within a computer are susceptible to few risks except when it is connected to other network computers. Since the introduction of computer networks particularly the Internet, the conception of computer security has developed to signify issues associated with resources and networked computers. The computer security involves the confidentiality of personal data, prevention of illegitimate access to computer systems, ensuring contingency of back-up plans especially if information or data gets lost and protecting the computer system against malicious activities like denial of attack on services, worms and viruses among other malware.
There has been a venerable view that the purpose security of the computer is to fundamentally guard against the external intruders from breaking into the system and stealing secrets stored. The critical technical areas related to computer security have usually been denoted by initials CIA which means confidentiality, integrity and authentication or even availability. The confidentiality in computer security means secrecy or privacy of data, integrity on the other hand means protection of information against unauthorized alterations by unauthorized persons with malicious intentions that are not detectable to authorized persons.
Authenticity refers to verifying the originator of the information and to establish who sent and entered it into the system as well as recording when the information was sent and received (Russell and Gangemi 10). The availability of the information means that the computer system has the capacity to work effectively and is able to retrieve information in the event a disaster strikes. Even though confidentiality, integrity and authenticity remains the main concerns of computer security managers, the issue of confidentiality (privacy) stands out to be most significant aspect associated with computer security especially for Internet users.
Nevertheless, many users of computers particularly those connected to the Internet at times may feel that they have nothing to hide when registering their information of the Internet site, but it should be understood that privacy is all about protecting one’s data and information even if the information does not seem sensitive. The ease with which information has started circulating especially in electronic form; there is need for individuals to have control of what information is collected about them, for what purpose is the information going to be used, by whom and how it will be used.
Computers that are connected to the Internet are very susceptible to malware infection which is defined as “the malignant computer programs that infect computers without their owners knowing it” (Weverka et al. 395). These may include threats such as viruses, worms, spyware, Trojan horses among other malicious programs that may harm ones computer. The malware are very destructive when they get into your computer because they can destroy significant computer files.
The viruses according to Cohen cited in Russell and Gangemi (1991, p.84) are “programs that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possibly evolved copy of itself and can spread throughout the computer system or network using the authorizations of every user using it to infect their programs.” Many viruses are days spread through e-mail addresses even though others are being spread using floppy disks when they are transferred from one person to another. There are those that reach computers through CD-ROMS, websites and through downloaded files. In order to protect your computer from viruses, it is advisable to get best antivirus software such as VirusScan from McAfee or Norton Antivirus from Symantec (Weverka et al. 395).
Both of these programs have been known to be reliable in offering protecting to computers from virus and other malware infections. It is thus recommended that every time you use a floppy disk you should check for viruses and the same way applies with email especially those with attachments and also when one downloads a file from the website they should be checked for virus infection before they can be used in a computer. This is solely to protect the computer and more importantly the stored information and data in the system.
It is thus important to have security programs (antivirus software) installed into the computer but more importantly the software should be updated regularly since many viruses appear on daily basis. These security programs have been known to offer security to your computer as long as they are kept up to date and this saves on unnecessary expenditure on upgrading of the hardware in the event a malware finds its way into your computer (Weverka et al. 395). These security programs have a removal tool on their site that necessitates the cleaning of the mess that may get into your computer and more importantly one can easily install and uninstall these programs in case you want to change them.
Many of these security programs have an advantage of updating themselves automatically and they are simple to use because practically one may forget about them and thus they are ideal solution for security of computers for any user. For those who do not want automatic updates, these security programs offer a variety of options like deciding on when to install the updates with first checking them and at what time determined during setup. The antivirus detects and deletes unknown and suspecting files found in the antivirus database to keep computer safe from viruses.
The disadvantage is that during uninstallation process a lot of trash is left on your computer and this may pose great risk since malware like viruses may be left in the computer and hence result to breakdown or even lose of important files and data. There are some security programs that have been reported to be notorious in interfering with other software especially the operating system due to its ability to insinuate into different places within the computer network system.
Even though installation and uninstallation process is easy for many security programs, not all of them are completely and correctly uninstalled. Some security programs like Symantec (Norton) have been described as being resource hungry and thus do not fit well with old machines (Fatayerji 42). Installing more than one security program in one computer may result to malfunctioning because if both antiviruses are displayed on the background either detects the other as a virus and any attempts by such antivirus to remove it leads to improper functioning of your computer.
The computer security program functions by detecting and deleting any files found in the antivirus database that are suspected to be viruses. The first step in the functioning of an antivirus is to install it into a computer and scanning all files stored in the hard disk to ensure that they are not infected by malware. If the computer is connected to the Internet the antivirus should be updated frequently to ensure that it has the capacity to search and detect unknown viruses that finds their way into the computer system (Fatayerji 42).
The security program similarly looks at the contents of every file and searches for a particular signature pattern that matches the virus signature of a file suspected to be harmful to a computer. The antivirus functions normally by being updated on daily bases so that it can detect and clean the files because the more updated the database is, the more secure the computer system becomes and the best solution is to update the antivirus in use regularly (Weverka et al. 395). Therefore the antivirus offers a variety of alternatives on how to respond to such threats by either removing the offending patterns or by destroying the files altogether.
The antivirus also functions by offering a variety of updated signatures on detecting a new virus and through this the updated antivirus enables the computer to automatically learn of the new virus and as a result starts checking all files that may be infected together with the old viruses. The most interesting thing about viruses is that they do not fade away completely but instead their signatures remain as part of the master version of all other virus signatures.
The development of security programs started in early 1980s after a group of people developed computer viruses on IBM and Apple II computers even though during that time were not referred to as viruses. A well developed antivirus consists of a scanning application, a virus engine and a virus definition. The scanning application assists in defining the scanning options, features and alerts (Hunter et al. 254). The virus engine is used to scan files from suspected activity and behavior like a file containing instructions to delete the contents in the directory and in the event the engine detects such behavior, the virus definition is checked to establish whether the virus signature is known and how it can be repaired. The virus definition on the other hand is helps to determine if a file has already been detected as a virus and the instructions necessary for its repair (Weverka et al. 395).
When a computer is connected to the Internet is becomes vulnerable to security threats, Trojans, viruses and all manner of malware. Regardless of whether one is surfing the web the connection itself to the Internet poses great risks to personal information and data. The installation of antivirus such as McAfee or Symantec offers a valuable defense against security threats and thus keeps ones computer and personal data and information safe from access by unauthorized users in the event a virus attacks your computer.
The login approach has been used by many people as an authentication online approach and by entering userid and password during computer session the actions are authenticated. In order to ensure that no one accesses your information or data, the users should not disclose their userid’s or passwords to third parties and in case the computers are shared, the private documents should be stored in folders and restricted from being shared and if possible one should generate passwords in order to access them. Many people have been making mistakes while surfing such as failing to sign out and this has given other users an opportunity to access your information. The solution to this is through being authenticated using digital signature and certificate. Your browser has the capacity to authenticate who you are at all times during logins.