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Data Protection

Free essay example:

Data Protection

Five major threats to the security

These are 5 major threats to the security of data held within a computer system:

  • Theft
  • Virus
  • Spyware
  • Media Failure
  • Hacking/Unauthorized access

I’ll be talking about what is meant by them and how to prevent these issues from occurring in this project.


Viruses, these are programs that hijack the system and reproduce with the purpose of damaging and destroying the system. Many viruses attach themselves to executable files that may be part of legitimate programs. If a user attempts to launch an infected program, the virus' code may be executed simultaneously.

How they spread: Viruses can increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is accessed by another computer without the knowledge of the user. Can also gain a virus by connecting to the Internet and downloading an email message

Virus Prevention

Get good anti-virus software: Antivirus software is used to prevent, detect, and remove well basically any potentially dangerous and unwanted programs on your computer.

BEWARE OF ATTACHMENTS. Do not open email attachments you are not expecting: Email viruses and worms are common. Not opening an email from someone you know is the first step. You should only open email you’re expecting, you know it’s from a trusted sender and should always check if you have received an email from the sender before.

 Installing a quality firewall: A firewall is a form of security system consisting of a combination of hardware and software that prevents unauthorized access or hacking into the computer system. It’s a must to have it on your computer.

Install an anti-spyware application:  It’s also a good idea to install an anti-spyware application because you can never be too sure.


  • Spyware are software that obtains information from a user's computer without the user's knowledge or consent. Unlike viruses, spyware does not usually self-replicate.
  • These programs can change your Web browser's home page or search page, or add additional components to your browser you don't need or want. They also make it very difficult for you to change your settings back to the way you had them.
  • In most cases some spyware make changes to your computer that can be annoying and can cause your computer slow down or crash.

Preventing Spyware

  • To help prevent spyware, you should do the following things:

Use a firewall: A small amount of spyware can actually be placed on your computer remotely by hackers. Installing a firewall or using the firewall that's built into Windows Vista and Windows XP provides a helpful defence against these hackers.

Update your software: Always ensure you haveautomatic updating turned on and that you've downloaded and installed all the latest critical and security updates.

Surf and download more safely: The best defence against spyware and other unwanted software is not to download it in the first place.  Much software tries to pose as anti-virus themselves when they’re actually spyware. Common sense is also recommended when downloading. If you think something is suspicious don’t download it.

Media Failure

  • Media failure is a process whereby a computer system is not able to read from or write to a storage device, such as a hard disk or any form of external storage device.
  •  When there’s media failure, it gets you in into a real dilemma, especially if you’re the type that doesn't back up.  
  • Reasons why media  failure occurs it could be due to several reasons such as:
  •  the hard disk drive malfunctioning
  • The power supply unit failing: this can be caused by not enough of electricity reaching into the unit or maybe its old and cant run anymore.
  • Scratches on the drives surface: this can be caused by not carefully handling the drive when moving it about or during replacement.

Media failure prevention

  • Backup: To prevent computer media fails, one golden rule is to always back up.

      Backup simply means you are keeping at least one copy of the original data, preferably not in the same disk media.

  • Location: Never leave your computer near places where it is directly exposed to rain, sun or humidity.  Such conditions tend to cause rusting and damage to your hardware parts.
  • Drives: Making sure the hard drive is properly connected inside the system. If not properly connected, your computer might not boot up. Also make sure there is not disk in the drive when putting on your computer because depending on your bois settings, your computer could fail to respond.
  • PSU: the psu is responsible for supplying electricity to the components around and within the computer so if it lacks electricity, the computer wouldn’t run. This only occurs when the PSU isn't getting enough electricity from the mains or its just damaged due to carelessness and needs replacing.

Hacking/Unauthorized access

  • Hacking is breaking into computer systems, frequently with intentions to alter or modify existing settings. Sometimes malicious in nature, these break-ins may cause damage or disruption to computer systems or networks.
  • Unauthorized access is trespassing within, communicating with, storing data in, retrieving data from, or otherwise intercepting and changing computer resources without consent or the right to do so.

Preventing Hacking and Unauthorised access

  • Firewall: To prevent unauthorised access or hacking to computer system, a key thing to consider is installing a firewall because it helps block any unwanted remote access to computer such as people trying to connect to your wireless internet without the right to do so. It is also recommended to keep your firewall up to date as well because if you have an outdated firewall, there are most likely to be hacking techniques developed to bypass it.
  • Password: Setting up  a password on the computer is also  recommended. Default passwords such as password, root, admin or no password will allow easy access to your computer or your Internet account.
  • Virus protection: To further increase your computer’s protection its recommended to install a virus protection program as well as a spyware protection program. Because if a hacker did get past the firewall, and it infects your computer, you still have your spyware remover and anti-virus to rely on.

Computer Theft

  • Computer theft is a serious issue that can be tackled.
  • First, ensure any and all sensitive data is backed up. This will help you recover from a hardware theft as well as hardware failure and is a good business practice consider.
  • Make sure that your work area is secured and that you have locked the doors – even if you need to pop out for a few minutes. Set the alarm if there is one available.
  • Mark all of your hardware with assets tags and ultra violet pens. Write in big letters “STOLEN FROM XXX COMPANY POSTCODE XXX” using a UV pen will make sure that it is seen when it is examined.
  • Ensure that you have adequate insurance against theft of your hardware. Make sure it covers the value of your equipment – including new items you may have purchased during the year.

The Data Protection Act 1998

  • The Data Protection Act gives you the right to know what information is held about you, and sets out rules to make sure that this information is handled properly. It was designed to control the use of information held on computer equipment but now all manual records containing data are also subject to legislation. The Act states that anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles:
  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary
  • Processed in line with your rights
  • Secure
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

The Computer Misuse Act of 1990

  • The computer misuse act is a law that makes illegal certain activities, such as hacking into other people’s systems, misusing software, or helping a person to gain access to protected files of someone else's computer.
  • The Computer Misuse Act is split into three sections and makes the following acts illegal:  

           Unauthorized Access to Computer Material

           Unauthorized Access to Computer systems with intent to commit another offence

           Unauthorized Modification of Computer Material

  • So people such as hackers are in violation of the computer misuse act and if caught they will be sent to prison. Another issue is computer fraud which comes under all three because it’s a criminal activity where computer operators use the computer to their own advantage and in most cases its normally hard to proof.
  • But obviously, if someone gives you their identification and you may legally use the computer, these laws under Unauthorized Access do not apply.


  • Protecting client data and restricting access are the two main legal issues in my opinion because its a large company and for it being a large company is what makes it vulnerable to unauthorized access and theft.
  • Often, in a large company, it's almost impossible to track who is accessing what because, if it's physically possible, staff will leave PC's logged in whilst they go for a break etc. and others, including cleaning staff, may simply use the first logged in PC they come across. There should be some sort of bespoke software specifically designed for the company so as to lock down PC's and if possible it would be the main device to access high risk security areas in building.
  • The device should be useable with some sort of ID token. This ensures that, for example, if they get up to use the facilities, staff can only get into /out of the computer room (or even into/out of the toilets) using their ID Tag token. This prevents them leaving the tag on their PC terminal...
  • Moreover the Tag control system has to be to set up so that once an employee has been issued with a Tag it is only possible to issue a replacement after the first has been cancelled and its recommended to have one Tag per employee, attempted use of cancelled Tag activates alarms.
  •  Access tags issued to cleaning staff etc. will (of course) be incapable of activating any PC (and will be 'time restricted' so that the building cannot be accessed outside their normal working hours). All these safety precautions will prevent against theft and unauthorized access.

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