How do we, as individuals who use computers but do not know much about the actual technical working within the systems and the internet, protect ourselves from what is now becoming a common form of crime: cyber crime? What is the title of the person who can work his or her art to make our computers secure, in the same way that we make our homes and workplaces secure with alarms, gates and cameras? That would be the security administrator.
This article attempts to explain the role of the security expert, found within the IT industry, which has diversified and specialized exponentially in the last two decades. We have some comments and insider information from our tame software engineer, Andy the Apex Coder, and we aim to help the lay person, who may feel overwhelmed and confused by the burgeoning job titles in IT, to understand this one better.
When we consider how secure our networks are, and whether anyone could potentially access our data backup or databases through the internet, we think of hackers and exciting, suspenseful movies. The names Snowden and Manning spring to mind, and the notion of being watched through the camera of a laptop by a nameless authority.
In reality, network security is not that glamorous. It hardly results in death, although some network security specialists do start out as hackers, and are either employed by a government or private organization for their skills, or they go to jail.
The role of the network rel=”nofollow”> security specialist is to ensure that each system attached to the network is safe from any type of cyber attack. These can come in various forms, and the actual act of hacking is not always a brute force attack on passwords or codes. It can also be in the format of a worm or virus, which is introduced into the network through emails, website downloads or infected USB drives. Attacks on the server or website look for vulnerabilities, and exploit them in whatever way the hacker can imagine. Finding ways into a system requires an ingenuity on the part of a hacker.
For example, if a hacker can access the search field on a website which is not secure, he could potentially gain access to that website’s database.
If you are a company which registers visitors to the website, and asks for information such as name and email address, this database could be exploited by other companies, who might try to access the information and sell it to a direct marketing company. This is one example of a seemingly innocuous vulnerability. Direct marketing is more of an annoyance than anything else.
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