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Module 1: Computer Security and Privacy

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1.4 Threats from Human Actions

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Threats from Human Actions
* Lesson 1 - INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER SECURITY AND PRIVACY
1.4 - THREATS FROM HUMAN ACTIONS [1] Threats from Human
Actions

A type of threat to your computer is malicious human sources. A
discontented employee in your office can deliberately try to tamper with or
destroy the data on your computer. A _hacker_ is a person who tries to
illegally access your computer when you connect it to the Internet. After
accessing your computer, a hacker can steal or damage the data stored on
the computer. In addition to malicious human threats, human errors such as
accidental deletion of data and physical damage are also a threat to your
computer. The following table describes various threats from malicious
human sources and human errors to your computer. Scroll down to read each
description.

_

Theft

Anyone can steal your computer or its components, if they have access to
it. With the popularity of portable computers, such as laptops, physical
theft of computers has become very common.You can also become a victim of
virtual theft, when your computer is connected to the Internet. One example
of virtual theft is identity theft_, in which a hacker can steal your
personal information to assume your identity. Using this false identity,
the hacker can gain access to your finances or perform an illegal activity.
Another example of virtual theft is _software piracy_, which is theft of a
computer design or program. It can also mean unauthorized distribution and
use of a computer program and confidential documents.

Viruses, Worms, and Trojan horses

_Viruses_ are computer programs that can damage the data or software on
your computer or steal the information stored on your computer. These
viruses can reach your computer, without your knowledge, through the
Internet or through storage devices, such as floppy disks and CD-ROMs.
_Worms_ are viruses that replicate themselves once they attack a computer,
making it difficult to remove them. A _Trojan horse_ is also a kind of
virus disguised as useful software, such as a game or a utility. Once a
Trojan horse reaches your computer, it starts acting like a virus causing
damage to the computer's data.

Spyware

_Spyware_ are programs that get installed on your computer without your
knowledge. They can secretly send out information about your Web browsing
habits or other personal details to another computer through the network.

Internet scams

While using the Internet, you might come across some attractive offers
through e-mail messages or chat room communication. You should be very
careful before accepting any such offers because these offers can be part
of well-planned scams that can cause you a financial loss.

Online predators

_Online predators_ are individuals who lure anybody online, into
inappropriate and unethical relationships. You or your family members can
become targets of online predators. Online predators develop contact with
their targets by using e-mail or chat room communication.

Accidental deletion of data

Many times, damage to a computer is due to unintentional human errors.
Accidental deletion of an important file can disrupt the integrity of data
or prevent other files or programs from working. For example, you may
accidentally delete an important file, causing the computer to malfunction.

Accidental damage to hardware

Computer components, being delicate, run the risk of getting damaged due
to carelessness. For example, if you accidentally drop your laptop
computer, this might result in damage to the hardware components, such as
motherboard or CD-ROM. As a result you lose the data stored on the
computer. In addition, physical damage to data due to spilling of food and
beverages on storage devices or peripherals can affect your computer.



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