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    Computer Security Experiments

    • Internet & Computer Security Science Fair Projects and Experiments [View Experiment]
    • How many people will click an ad promising to infect your computer? - Didier Stevens [View Experiment]
    • How to Design Computer Security Experiments - Sean Peisert, Matt Bishop, University of California [View Experiment]
    • Laboratory Experiments for Network Security Instruction - Jos'e Carlos Brustoloni, University of Pittsburgh [View Experiment]
    • Experiments with Computer Viruses [View Experiment]
    Computer Security Background Information

    Definition

    Computer system security means the collective processes and mechanisms by which sensitive and valuable information and services are protected from publication, tampering or collapse by unauthorized activities or untrustworthy individuals and unplanned events respectively.

    Basics

    See also:
    Antivirus Software
    Computer Virus

    Computer security is a branch of computer technology known as information security as applied to computers and networks. The objective of computer security includes protection of information and property from theft, corruption, or natural disaster, while allowing the information and property to remain accessible and productive to its intended users.

    Some important measures to implement computer security:

    • Access authorization restricts access to a computer to group of users through the use of authentication systems. These systems can protect either the whole computer - such as through an interactive logon screen - or individual services, such as an FTP server. There are many methods for identifying and authenticating users, such as passwords, identification cards, and, more recently, smart cards and biometric systems.
    • Anti-virus software consists of computer programs that attempt to identify, thwart and eliminate computer viruses and other malicious software (malware).
    • Applications with known security flaws should not be run. Either leave it turned off until it can be patched or otherwise fixed, or delete it and replace it with some other application. Publicly known flaws are the main entry used by worms to automatically break into a system and then spread to other systems connected to it. The security website Secunia provides a search tool for unpatched known flaws in popular products.
    • Backups are a way of securing information; they are another copy of all the important computer files kept in another location. These files are kept on hard disks, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and tapes. Suggested locations for backups are a fireproof, waterproof, and heat proof safe, or in a separate, offsite location than that in which the original files are contained. Some individuals and companies also keep their backups in safe deposit boxes inside bank vaults. There is also a fourth option, which involves using one of the file hosting services that backs up files over the Internet for both business and individuals.
    • Backups are also important for reasons other than security. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes, may strike the building where the computer is located. The building can be on fire, or an explosion may occur. There needs to be a recent backup at an alternate secure location, in case of such kind of disaster. Further, it is recommended that the alternate location be placed where the same disaster would not affect both locations. Examples of alternate disaster recovery sites being compromised by the same disaster that affected the primary site include having had a primary site in World Trade Center I and the recovery site in 7 World Trade Center, both of which were destroyed in the 9/11 attack, and having one's primary site and recovery site in the same coastal region, which leads to both being vulnerable to hurricane damage (e.g. primary site in New Orleans and recovery site in Jefferson Parish, both of which were hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005). The backup media should be moved between the geographic sites in a secure manner, in order to prevent them from being stolen.
    • Encryption is used to protect the message from the eyes of others. It can be done in several ways by switching the characters around, replacing characters with others, and even removing characters from the message. These have to be used in combination to make the encryption secure enough, that is to say, sufficiently difficult to crack. Public key encryption is a refined and practical way of doing encryption. It allows for example anyone to write a message for a list of recipients, and only those recipients will be able to read that message. Cryptographic techniques involve transforming information, scrambling it so it becomes unreadable during transmission. The intended recipient can unscramble the message, but eavesdroppers cannot.
    • Firewalls are systems which help protect computers and computer networks from attack and subsequent intrusion by restricting the network traffic which can pass through them, based on a set of system administrator defined rules.
    • Honey pots are computers that are either intentionally or unintentionally left vulnerable to attack by crackers. They can be used to catch crackers or fix vulnerabilities.
    • Intrusion-detection systems can scan a network for people that are on the network but who should not be there or are doing things that they should not be doing, for example trying a lot of passwords to gain access to the network.
    • Pinging: The ping application can be used by potential crackers to find if an IP address is reachable. If a cracker finds a computer they can try a port scan to detect and attack services on that computer.
    • Social engineering awareness keeps employees aware of the dangers of social engineering and/or having a policy in place to prevent social engineering can reduce successful breaches of the network and servers.
    • File Integrity Monitors are tools used to detect changes in the integrity of systems and files.
    • Authentication techniques can be used to ensure that communication end-points are who they say they are.
    • Chain of trust techniques can be used to attempt to ensure that all software loaded has been certified as authentic by the system's designers.
    • Mandatory access control can be used to ensure that privileged access is withdrawn when privileges are revoked. For example, deleting a user account should also stop any processes that are running with that user's privileges.

      Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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