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Information Security

Free Informative Essays The aggravation of information onslaught, the latest manifestations of international terrorism, and the dictatorship and authoritarian trends in a number of states have increased the relevance of information security. The intensive introduction of information technologies, together with the growth of the share of information security in the field of national security, has led to the fact that information resources today are worth as much as the country’s natural, manufacturing, and human resources. The transformation of information into a commodity has led to a sharp intensification of international competition among the markets, as well as between technology and resources. The information sphere largely determines and affects the state of economic, defensive, social, political, and other components of the national security of the country.

The concept of information security presupposes the safekeeping and integrity of the information and infrastructure support against any accidental or malicious actions which may damage the information, its owners, or the supporting infrastructure. An information security organization is the state of protection of the organization’s information environment which ensures its formation, ways of usage, and development.

A model consisting of the three categories is considered to be a standard security model. The categories are as follows:

  • Privacy — the state of information, the access to which is carried out only by the entities that have security permission;
  • Integrity — the prevention of unauthorized modification of information;
  • Accessibility — the avoidance of temporary or permanent withholding of the data from the users who have security permission.

Under modern conditions, the presence of a developed system of information security has become one of the most important factors that promote competitiveness and even the viability of any company or state.

Security of On-Line Usage

Highly specialized yet hardly interesting just 10 years ago, the topic of electronic payments and electronic money has recently become relevant not only in regard to business but also to the end-users. Fashionable words such as “e-business” and “e-commerce” are easily recognized by five out of ten people who occasionally read the computer or popular press. The task of remote payments, such as money transfers over long distances, has developed into a common activity since there are many people who shop online on websites as E-bay, LL Bean, or Sears. Information, including the confidential kind, circulates in the electronic payment systems, thus requiring protection from viewing, modifications, and imposition of false information. Currently, the development of appropriate security technologies for the Internet operations faces serious difficulties. The reasons for it are explained by the fact that the architecture, basic resources, and Internet technologies all focus on the organization of access to the collection of public information. However, other approaches and solutions have emerged recently, indicating the possibility of using common Internet technologies for building systems that should ensure secure information transmission over the Internet.

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Internet Payment System is the system of handling payments between financial or business organizations and Internet users in the process of purchasing and selling goods and services over the Internet. In regard to the e-commerce system, payments are made under the following conditions (Eleftheriou, Berliri, & Coraggio, 2006):

  • Confidentiality. It is significant for the customer to maintain confidentiality during the Internet payments in regard to their data, such as credit card numbers, that should be revealed only to organizations with legal rights for it.
  • Preserving the integrity of information. Information about the purchase can not be changed by anyone.
  • Authentication. Buyers and sellers have to be sure that all the parties involved in the transaction are those who they claim to be.
  • Payment terms. The process of payment should be performed by all means available to the buyer.
  • Authorization is a process when the payment system approves or rejects a transaction request. This procedure allows the system to determine the availability of funds of the buyer.
  • Risk guarantees of the seller. While trading over the Internet, the seller is subjected to a variety of risks associated with the required refund for the goods and the buyer’s dishonesty. The scope of the risks must be consistent with the provider payment system and other organizations included in the trading chain by means of special agreements.
  • Minimizing the transaction fee. Fee for the order processing and payment transactions of goods is included into the cost, so the price reduction increases the competitiveness of the transaction. It is essential to note that the transaction fee is to be paid regardless of the circumstances, even in case of the buyer’s failure to finish the process of purchasing.

All of these conditions should be implemented in the Internet payment system.

Marketing Databases, Electronic Profiling, Phishing, and Pharming

Privacy is an essential issue for both companies and consumers involved in online business security. The disclosure of confidential information violates not only the policy established by the websites but also the laws of several states. The issue of security is vital for companies that have a serious approach to Internet business. Encryption is one of the main methods used to ensure the security and confidentiality of data transmitted over the Internet.

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In our days, the most advanced form of fraud on the Internet is phishing. According to Anti-Phishing Working Group’s (APWG) report (2009), the number of websites designed to steal personal data has increased by 10 times in the second half of 2008. Phishing is considered to be a technology of online fraud, implying the theft of personal confidential information, such as password access to the bank data, ID cards, and others. Potential victims are asked to go to the site of the institution spoofed by hackers and to confirm their passwords, PIN-codes, and other personal information that is later used by the hackers with the purpose of stealing money from the victim’s account, as well as for other crimes.

The threat that is considered to be even more insidious is pharming or redirection of the victim to a false address. An attacker corrupts the navigation infrastructure which the operation of the browser depends on and takes possession of a part of it. It may be local versions, host files, or the domain name system used by the Internet Service Provider in order to direct the browser to the desired object. Pharming has a lot of characteristics in common with the standard viruses. There exist no special arrangements for protection against pharming, so it is necessary to monitor the incoming mail carefully, to regularly update the anti-virus database, and to close the preview window in the mail client.

Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking

Cyber-bullying is a teenage virtual terror — the attacks aimed to inflict psychological harm, carried out via e-mail, chat forums, messengers, social networks, and websites. Such repeated aggressive behavior is intended to harm the specific individuals and is based on a disproportion of power, such as physical strength or social status in a group. Cyber-bullying involves a whole range of behaviors, from harmless jokes to harmful virtual psychological terrors which can lead to suicide. There is also the notion of cyberstalking, which is one of the main types of cyber-bullying (Larsen, 2016). It is hidden stalking with the purpose of attacking, beating, raping the victim, or doing other disturbing things to them.

The differences between cyber-bullying and the traditional bullying are conditioned by the peculiarities of the online environment: the anonymity, the possibility of falsification, the presence of a huge audience, and the ability to attack the victim in any place and at any time.

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Here are several tips that should be given in order to overcome this problem:

  • Disregard of a single negative. It is vital to ignore the disposable abusive message units because cyber-bullying is stopped at the early stages on frequent occasions.
  • In case of being a cyber-bullying witness, the following measures should be taken: a) standing up against the aggressor in order to show them that their actions have strong opposition, b) voicing support of the victim, and c) telling an adult about the fact of inappropriate behavior on the Internet.
  • Blocking the aggressors. Modern messengers have the function of blocking messages from specific addresses. A pause in communication often dampens the aggressors’ desire to continue the harassment.

Spyware, Worms, and Viruses. Risks to Data

With the development of information technology, more and more problems in terms of the protection of computer systems have started to appear. One of the main problems is viruses (Taylor, Fritsch, & Liederbach, 2014). A computer virus is a self-propagating code in the information environment. It can be embedded into the executable file and batch programs, spread through the boot sector of floppy disks and hard disks, documents, office applications, via e-mail, websites, and other electronic channels. In our days, the computers are programmed to complete numerous critical tasks. Therefore, the failure of the computer systems can have serious consequences. Thousands of types of different viruses are known, such as file viruses, boot viruses, combined viruses, satellite viruses, viruses in batch files, encrypted and polymorphic viruses, stealth viruses, and macro viruses.

In addition to viruses, there also exist three types of malware, such as Trojans, logic bombs, and worms. The most common Trojans are used for the initial spread of viruses in order to obtain remote access to the computer through the Internet, theft, or destruction. A logic bomb is a program or its individual modules that perform malicious actions under certain conditions. Such a bomb could be built into viruses, Trojans, and even into the customary programs. Worms aim at the implementation of a specific function, such as the penetration of the system and data modification. One can, for example, create a program worm, stealing a password in order to access the banking system and to modify the database.

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Considering the aforementioned information, several options for computer viruses have been regarded. The problem is that new viruses emerge more quickly than antivirus software develops. The best solution is not to wait for the next virus attack, but to protect the computer from viruses by means of special programs implementation.

Social Networks. Privacy and Security Issues

In recent years, social networks have become one of the most popular websites, visited by millions of people every day. Tens of millions of people are already registered in social networks such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Relationship networks, such as Facebook, are the most common and popular types of social media today. Media sharing networks, such as Instagram and YouTube, give users the opportunity to exchange video and photo content. The social publishing platform includes services for blogging and micro-blogging, where users create and publish text and media content. They include such popular platforms as Twitter and various types of blogs. Aside from the obvious benefits to ordinary users, social networking is also significant to businesses, as it assists them in searching for the new customers, in increasing the loyalty of the existing ones, and in becoming experts in the industry whose opinion is respected and trusted (Zhang, Sun, Zhu, & Fang, 2010). It is achieved by choosing the right strategy for promotion in social networks, thus violating the information security of the users.

The disadvantages of social networks can be attributed to the fact that they are often one of the most convenient sources for information extraction. In particular, bank agents use social networks to find debtors, and bailiffs send notices to the debtors in order to initiate cases against them. Knowing some basic information about the person in the social networks, one can find a lot of other information indicated by users themselves. There are home addresses, interests, as well as photos and a network of friends present in personal profiles. Fraudsters may use this information, and friends’ networks can be used by special services while disclosing crimes to establish the fact of acquaintanceship of one person with another.

Wireless Technology and Security Issues

As with any computer network, wireless technology is a source of increased risk of unauthorized access. In addition, it is much simpler to penetrate the wireless network than the conventional one. Wireless networks differ from the cable only in regard to the first two levels of the seven-level model of open systems interconnection — the physical and the channel ones (MAC). Higher levels can be realized in terms of the wired networks, and real network security is ensured at these levels. Therefore, the difference in the security of both types of networks is reduced to the difference in physical and MAC-level security.

Although today the sophisticated algorithmic mathematical models of authentication, data encryption, and transmission integrity control are used for wireless network protection, the likelihood of unauthorized access to information is still rather high. In case one does not pay enough attention to the network configuration, the attacker can:

  • get access to resources and drives of wireless network users, as well as to LAN resources;
  • eavesdrop on the traffic, extracting the confidential information;
  • distort the extended information networks;
  • implement a fake access point;
  • send spam and commit other illegal acts under the name of the network.

Currently, there is already a number of different methods of protection, which can ensure the required level of security under the condition of correct settings, such as WPA encryption protocol, WPA2 protocol, 802.1S security standard, MAC address filtering, access prohibition, or router set up through the wireless network. In the nearest future, it will be possible to witness the rapid development of wireless technologies, devices, and equipment. Without a doubt, the security aspects will accelerate this development, and consequently, it will have a big influence on information systems.

Protection Methods. Privacy Laws. Security of Data

Systems protection against accidental or deliberate interference in the normal process of its operation, against theft or unauthorized receipt of information, modification, or destruction of its physical components is called the information systems security (Whitman, & Mattord, 2011). With the modern development of the information society, the problems associated with the protection of confidential information are of crucial importance. One can identify the high efficiency of information security as a set of the following factors: timing, activity, continuity, and comprehensiveness.

There exist the following methods and tools of information security: restriction — the method of physical barrier guarding the confidential information, access control — the regulation of the use of all information systems and information technology resources, and encryption mechanisms — the cryptographic hiding of the information. During the long-distance information transmitting, this method is the most reliable one, though there are also the hardware method, software method, organizational means, legislative means, and moral and ethical protection.

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The legal means of information security are determined by the legislative acts of the country, which are governed by rules of the use, processing, and transfer of the restricted information, and which set sanctions for infringement of these rules (Eleftheriou, Berliri, & Coraggio, 2006). An example of information security legislative acts is FISMA, which provides the annual control and supervision over economic and national security in cyberspace. It is worth mentioning that information security is a complex task because the information environment itself is a complex and multi-faceted mechanism.

Electronic Surveillance

Security of computer and users’ data is measured not only by the absence of viruses but also by the safety of personal information. The Internet is poorly compatible with secrets and privacy. Various computer monitoring software systems can analyze the history of the user’s surfing via the Internet and helps to determine the user’s interests, gender, age, wealth, status, and even health condition (Fuchs, Boersma, Albrechtslund, & Sandoval, 2013).

Different systems of video surveillance and employee monitoring help to protect various organizations from unauthorized access and to track the activities of their employees. At the same time, they help to keep track of virtually any person. In case of a security breach of such a system, the attackers can find information about the movements or habits of a single person or the whole organization and use it to their advantage. Another example of Internet surveillance is a smartphone that can establish a GPS-location of the place the photo was taken of. When a person publishes a picture via online resources, social networks can automatically compare the coordinates and give the exact address and location of the photo.

In order to provide security while using the Internet, one needs to create a good password for a wireless network, to change it regularly, to set anti-tracking plugins in the browser, to use anonymous VPN, to disable the history in Google, and most importantly, to read the user agreement of installed programs and visited sites.

Computer Security and Information Security

The terms information security and computer security are often used interchangeably, even though it is wrong. These areas are often interrelated and share a common goal of protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information — however, there are several differences between them (Vacca, 2012).

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These differences are especially visible in the approach to the subject, in the methodology used, and in the concentration areas. Information security is related to confidentiality, integration, and accessibility of the database, regardless of the data form — electronic, printed, or of other types. Information security means protecting the information and information systems against unauthorized access, use, tampering, destruction, modification, perusal, inspection, recording, or damage. Information security is a security of information resources — for instance, of documents and files of an organization, as well as the protection of the individual’s rights and the state of the field of information — for example, in regard to disclosure of state secrets and many other things. Computer security can focus on the availability and correct operation of the computer system without affecting the information stored or recycled.

Perspective. Conclusion

It must be said that information security means the protection of the information and the support of its infrastructure against any accidental or malicious actions which may result in damage to the information, its owners, or the supporting infrastructure. Information security’s objectives aim to minimize the damage and to predict and prevent possible negative impacts of it. Consequently, the protection of information is a complex of measures aimed at ensuring information security.

The main reason for the penetration of the computer networks is carelessness and the lack of knowledge of the users. This problem is connected to the rapid development of the network technologies market and to the Internet itself. People place the personal information, which can be used by fraudsters, on the Internet. On the other hand, in case of the threats that can not be traced by an ordinary user, one can definitely say that online money transactions always imply a high degree of risk. In regard to computer viruses and worms, the ordinary users and organizations need to acquire a responsible attitude to the data input in the computer and to regularly test their software.

One of the main risks to privacy and personal data is electronic surveillance. Creating a higher level of security is a complicated task since website managers are interested in collecting information for the purposes of possible marketing. More restrictive laws should be introduced in order to provide a higher level of information security.

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