Computer Security



Even though much of the information about computer security deals with keeping outsiders such as hackers out, there are other goals of having a good computer security system and policy in place.

The 4 goals of computer security are:

  1. Confidentiality
    Confidentiality aims to keep information away from people who are not authorised to view it or have it. To meet this goal we need to know what exactly it is we are protecting – what data it is and specifying who it is that should have access to it. This means that data needs to be protected on our computers and when it is being transferred between our computers and other parties.

  2. Integrity
    Maintaining integrity means making sure that the data that we are protecting is not tampered with or altered in any way. This means that confidentiality must be present – defining who can access the data and who can’t. In addition to this, it must be specified what the authorised users can access. Do they have restricted access and capabilities or can they view and change what they like? Defining the ‘who’ and ‘what’ is part of ensuring that integrity of data is maintained. Another important aspect of integrity is having a plan in place so that if data is lost then recovery plans are in place to minimise the effect of the loss.

  3. Availability
    Ensuring availability means that the data stored in the computer or on the network can be accessed by the people who need it when they need it. This means protecting the data from incidents such as denial of service attacks which stop the data from being accessed.

  4. Nonrepudiation
    Nonrepudiation is the ability to establish that a transaction has actually occurred. For example, if you have a transaction with another party and you know it has gone through and they say that the transaction is non-existence then this means that the other party has repudiated. Nonrepudiation means that a transaction that has occurred cannot be said to be non-existent or invalidated.


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