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Clarifying Internet Security Topics

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Security becomes an issue when one person owns property and does not want others to gain possession of it. Items like a car, house, office, file cabinet and computer have to be protected from rogues who want to destroy or steal them.

Most security systems are built to protect physical items. These security measures include locks, alarms and ID cards, to name a few. But when you connect a computer to the Internet, you are now vulnerable to scoundrels who will attempt to gain unauthorized access to your computer for a variety of purposes.

Security becomes an issue when one person owns property and does not want others to gain possession of it. Items like a car, house, office, file cabinet and computer have to be protected from rogues who want to destroy or steal them.

Most security systems are built to protect physical items. These security measures include locks, alarms and ID cards, to name a few. But when you connect a computer to the Internet, you are now vulnerable to scoundrels who will attempt to gain unauthorized access to your computer for a variety of purposes.

This new type of virtual or digital criminal activity calls for physical security measures like firewalls to protect our equipment. Even more interesting are the efforts to leverage the decades of knowledge and experience gained from the psychological profiling used to solve murders and abductions in order to better understand this digital criminal behavior.

• Hackers and Crackers: Know the Difference

As computers came to the forefront of business, the term hacker was created to identify a person who had an intense love of digging deep into a programming language. This person would explore the outer reaches and capabilities of a programming language, literally “hacking” his or her way through the binary ones and zeros.

But around the mid 1980s, this term became a moniker used by journalists to identify the bands of digital rogues that were attempting to break into computer systems. The less widely accepted, but more accurate, definition of these people is cracker because of their desire to “crack” a hole through security systems. Unfortunately, the press has never worked very hard to correct this incorrect naming.

So a hacker may be someone you want on a programming staff. They know the ins and outs of a programming language to help you run your business. But stay clear of the crackers, for they are usually more interested in self-promotion and the thrill of breaking into systems where they do not belong.

Cracker Tracking

So how do the authorities find these “crackers”? They have used a variety of systems, depending on how the cracker has shown his/her face. If a cracker releases a virus or worm program onto the Internet, the authorities will attempt to trace the origins of the malicious code to find the identity of the person who wrote or started the program in motion. But that can prove difficult since the Internet is a loose connection of thousands of computer networks that span the globe.

Now the authorities have turned up the heat by using the art and science of profiling to better understand what makes these crackers tick. This new tool in the belt comes from the decades of police profiling that has been used to track serial killers and find abducted persons. It involves the skill of incredible detective work with the psychological ability to almost feel what the criminal is feeling and thinking.

The goal of profiling is to help companies better understand the types of intruders who may attempt to infiltrate their systems. It also helps a company to understand the types of intruders they may attract (due to the nature of their business and systems) and how to repel them. This goes beyond using technology to solve security issues, it involves understanding the very peculiar nature of humans. And a new breed of company has emerged to help businesses identify and protect their systems. One company in particular, Crucial Security just outside of Washington, DC, puts it best on their web site: Assess, Protect, React. That sums up your goals to keep your business systems secure.

Concept Review

Securing your company’s assets, especially the digital and electronic ones, are vitally important to the long-term success of your business. Physical security measures work on physical items, but you need to find ways to protect your digital assets using more than just hardware and software.

The key to securing your company’s digital assets is to identify the risk levels, understand who may try to break your security protocols and create roadblocks to prevent the crackers from infiltrating your business systems. And be sure to understand the difference between a “cracker” and a “hacker”, even though most journalists have been slow to correct their error.

Until Next Time,

Paul Carney

Ishtot – Describing Technology in Terms of Business Paul Carney has helped build and sell two online businesses and now uses his technical background and business knowledge to help business leaders understand today’s technical concepts in the context of business. For more information, visit www.ishtot.com

Clarifying Internet Security Topics
About Paul Carney
Ishtot - Describing Technology in Terms of Business Paul Carney has helped build and sell two online businesses and now uses his technical background and business knowledge to help business leaders understand today's technical concepts in the context of business. For more information, visit www.ishtot.com WebProNews Writer
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