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What Are the Computer Security Basics?

Article Details
  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are a few computer security basics that every user should know to prevent an attack. A business or office network also should follow a strict series of computer security basics to ensure that the network remains as safe as possible. One of the first aspects of good computer security is to prevent physical access to the systems. The next is to identify access points into the computer, such as network connections to the Internet, and then install software that will make it more difficult for an intruder to gain entry into the system. The last line of defense is to install programs that handle file and device access, restricting and protecting it so passwords and other permissions need to be used for complete access.

Some of the computer security basics that can be overlooked are the different methods used to prevent physical access to a computer or network server. Beyond the obvious risk of being able to access information directly from a terminal, a determined hacker can attach peripheral devices such as a wireless network router or laptop to the system, permitting access to the computer network as a trusted device. For a laptop or home computer, any person who can sit at the keyboard of the computer will be able to access many elements of the system, potentially installing harmful software or copying personal information.

A very vulnerable area on many personal computers and even networked systems used in business is the access point. This is the area where the computer makes contact with the Internet or the outside world. An access point needs to be able to let outsiders use network resources and files remotely, while also providing protection against unauthorized users. The weakness of an access point is that there are many programs that can actually find vulnerabilities or discover passwords to bypass the security of the point.

The computer security basics of protecting an access point are to make certain that a firewall is in place to stop attacks from known Internet addresses. It also involves installing both logging software and strict security software. These programs will do many things, including recording the addresses of all network requests, cutting off an Internet connection that has attempted to log in unsuccessfully more than a few times, and restricting traffic through ports that are not specifically released.

The final part of implementing computer security basics is using programs that can help to defend a computer if an intruder has somehow gotten through all other protections and is actively attempting to damage the system or retrieve information. An effective method of preventing an intruder from stealing information is to keep important file password protected. Another method is to keep the hard drive encrypted so that, even if the files are copied, the data will be unusable without the correct decryption key. For web-based attacks, anti-virus and anti-spyware programs can be invaluable.

There are few ways to stop an intruder who has successfully gained access to a computer system. At some point, the best defense will be proactive. This can mean recording as much information about people using the system as possible, including Internet addresses, times and the actions taken. This information can later be used by law enforcement in order to find the culprit.

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