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Computer's Vulnerability

Computers, despite being such high technology devices, are extremely vulnerable. In fact it may be easier to steal national secrets from military computers than to steal "laddoos" from a "mithai" shop. Let us examine the reasons for the vulnerability of computers.

Computers store huge amounts of data in small spaces

Lakhs of pages of written matter can be stored in a CD ROM. Walking out of a godown with one lakh pages would be exceedingly difficult, but walking out of a secure location with a CD ROM containing a lakh of pages would be much simpler.

Ease of access

A bank's vault, which usually contains a few lakh rupees is well guarded from unauthorized persons. The vault itself is made of very strong materials, located in a reinforced room, guarded by gun toting security personnel. Trusted employees jealously guard the keys and / or access codes. The bank's servers, on the other hand, which 'virtually' control hundreds of crores of rupees, are far easier to break into. The strongest of firewalls and biometric authentication systems have been cracked in the past and will probably continue to be cracked in the future. A secretly implanted logic bomb, key loggers that can steal access codes, advanced voice recorders, retina imagers etc. that can fool biometric systems can be utilized to get past many a security system.

Complexity

Operating systems are composed of millions of lines of code and no single individual can claim to understand the security implications of every bit of these computer instructions. Hackers easily exploit the numerous weaknesses in operating systems and security products. When one weakness is exposed and exploited openly by the 'black hat' community, the operating system (OS) manufacturer patches it up. The hackers then find another weakness to exploit and the cycle goes on and on. It is far easier to find weaknesses in existing operating systems rather than designing and developing a secure operating system.

Human error

People who guard confidential papers with their lives would not think twice about using simple passwords. Most people don't realize the security implications and ramifications of a simple 'guessable' password.


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