Threats to Data

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Threats to data


In the 21st century, information itself is a highly valuable commodity, and has time has passed and continues to doe so its value will continue to go up as our world becomes more and more reliant on Information Communication Technology. This change can be seen as very good and helpful but at recent times the threat towards our information has become a hindrance, almost a barrier in our everyday lives. In fact you will be very surprised at the length some people will go to get personal information about others. The majority of organisations hold personal information about others either legally or illegally these are also known as data controllers.

Threats to data can come from both inside an organisation as well as outside and a company must invest in protection from both of these sources of threats. Data is too valuable to the company to risk losing it!

There are many threats to data and can come in different forms based on the medium in which the data is stored. Data stored electronically and over an online transaction can be damaged by potential threats

Potential threats to data:

? Data interception

? Unauthorised access to stored data (Internal/external)

? The integrity of information

? Accidental loss or damage

? Physical threats

Data interception

Data interception describes the process in which data can be accessed through the internet by gaining access to something called an ISP, all data that travels through the internet is directed and routed through ISP's, so this is an obvious option for unauthorised collection of data.

Unauthorised access to stored data

Where a company hires people to sort and manage customer data, it is possible employees could have agendas to make money by collecting private customer data such as email addresses or phone numbers to be sold to third parties that require such data.

The integrity of information

If the language or method data is presented, it can be wrongly read therefore wrongly recorded; this can result in a distortion of data. Integrity of data also

describes the validity of information; data could be erroneous or outdated resulting in incorrect information.

Accidental loss of data

This describes the act accidentally deleting data; this can also happen where information has failed to be saved or backed up.

Physical threats

Physical threats can cover a wide range of possible actions. In the event of a flood the medium the data is stored can be water damaged, the same applies to other events like fire or damage caused by dropping or compression.

Threats from Inside an Organisation

Information is valuable and information you have given to a transactional web-site can be of value to a third party for various reasons. For instance other companies could want your address so they could send you junk mail, they may want your telephone number so they can ring you up and try to sell you something or your e-mail address so they can send you spam.

A large organisation will employ many people and it cannot be sure that they are all honest. The data held gives the less honest members of staff an opportunity to make some money on the side and the company will have to protect itself from the inside as well as the outside.

Often overlooked is the threat to data from accidental damage and acts of God. The organisation cannot function without this data so it is important that it is not lost or damaged. Information may be accidentally deleted or simply entered wrongly or there could be a fire or some other natural disaster.

A transactional website organisation needs to take as many steps as it can to counteract these threats not only to protect its business but also to build up confidence so that people will use their site.

Threats from outside the Organisation

Threats from outside the organisation tend to be mainly from hackers. These are people who try to get into someone else's computer.
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There are four major types of hackers:

The first type of hacker do it mainly to show people that they can and do not really mean any harm and have no intention of using the information they gain. Unfortunately they may not be as clever as they think and may accidentally do damage.

The second group of hackers try to access machines simply to cause damage. It is a form of vandalism. This could be a serious problem for a transactional website as the server the website is uploaded onto can be badly damaged stopping all ...

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