Information Systems Security
Information Systems Security
Information technology has changed the business world. As James V.
McGee, Laurence Prusak and Philip J. Pyburn (1993, p. 3) point out the way
organizations perform their operations, design their products, and market their
products have all changed dramatically since the serious introduction of
information technology in the mid-1950s.
There are no doubts that the Internet has strongly located in all
field of activity of a society in a role of the irreplaceable tool for work
with the basic value – the information. Especially in business the Internet is
interesting as the tool for communication and information transfer. The
Internet gives to firms variety of possibilities: creation of favorable image
of a firm or production; increase of availability of the information on firm or
production for hundreds millions users of a network the Internet, including
geographically removed; cutting-down of costs on advertizing and etc.
According to Kenneth C. Laudon and Jane P. Laudon (2006, p. 9),
the Internet and related technologies make it possible to conduct business
across firm boundaries almost as efficiently and effectively as it is to
conduct within the firm. In other words the companies are not limited by
traditional ways to conduct a business. Nowadays the firms maintain close
relationships with suppliers, customers and business partners at great physical
At the present time it is very difficult to overestimate the value
of the Internet in ability of the companies, the organizations or the
enterprises. Every day this service occupies more and more an important place.
The Internet becomes the basic business tool, really making profit.
The Internet main task remained the same, as at the time of its
origin – accumulation, storage, distribution and an exchange of the diverse
Nowadays, there are a lots of managers of the enterprises consider
application of information technology as possibility to increase the efficiency
of the basic business. It is reflection of a certain stage of development of
the company: the importance of a competition grows, the companies search for
additional means of increase of profitability of business. For this reason
information technology is some kind of a mode of development and advancement
for peak efficiency of activity of the company.
An increased reliance on the Internet is an issue which frequently
generates a great deal of heated debate, with supporters maintaining that
internet is crucial for the modern business and safe enough, whilst opponents
feel that it is internet lead to risk in terms of threats to information
systems security. I find myself in the later group. This question is more vital today as ever before, as in the recent years a plenty of
different threats and risk using the internet have increased; therefore, it is worth discussing. In this
assignment will be considering threats of using the internet and how companies
can protect their information systems.
Reliance on the Internet
In recent years there is a rapid development of systems of the
telecommunications, one of which key elements is the global computer network
the Internet and its main service WWW (World Wide Web). Use the Internet as one
of elements of system of marketing can make considerable impact on positive
image of firm and on awareness of the consumer about the goods and services.
For years of the existence the Internet began to carry out set of various
functions. The main function is communication facility possessing the major advantages
among which efficiency, reliability, ability to accumulate the information,
possibility to supervise communications process, to influence its quality, etc.
Another function of the internet is that internet is an integral part of many
business processes. It became a place and simultaneously means of interaction
of subjects of market relations – commodity producers, sellers and buyers. The
most indicative examples of it are electronic commerce (e-Commerce) and the
Internet-banking (Internet banking). Speaking about electronic commerce, mean
retail trade through the Internet more often. The Internet-banking is a complex
of the bank services given in a mode online: informing of the client on a
condition of its accounts, remote steering of accounts; payment of utilities,
purchase or sale of non-cash currency; crediting, operations with securities,
steering of the personal finance, etc.
The Internet has already turned to the original market on which
the whole industries work, creating the goods consumed by it and services.
Thus, the Internet became the working tool without which it is
already impossible to imagine daily activity of set of people. It and global
reference system, and an access mode to technologies, and transport for data
transmission, and, at last, an operative and accessible communication medium.
One of the main advantages of Internet technologies is full access
to information resources of the company from any point of a global or corporate
network. Another aspect that should be mention is that simplicity of use which
allows combining the evident form of representation with the simple gear of
interrelation of documents. Moreover information systems allow to facilitate
steering of the information and to improve communication possibilities.
The main risks and threats
to information systems security
Risks of the Internet are connected exclusively from it not by
controllability. Being an enormous source of the information, the Internet
doesn't divide it on good and bad, or useful and useless.
On the one hand, the Internet provides mass character of its use,
and with another – generates a number of problems with serious consequences.
First, the Internet is the port in an external world, it became
the basic source of distribution of a harmful mobile code (viruses, Trojan
Secondly, the Internet began to be applied actively as means of
the latent penetration into corporate local computer networks.
Thirdly, now the Internet can be considered as one of the basic
ports of escape of the confidential information. For example, information
resources of the companies are exposed to serious threats because of use by
employees of these companies of free mail boxes. Employees of the various
companies besides internal corporate mailing addresses actively use the free
mail boxes given by various providers (hotmail.com, mail.yahoo.com, gmail.com
and etc.). Having access to the Internet from the workplace and knowing that
the port isn't supervised, any user can free send any confidential information
for organization limits. But even understanding it, not all companies forbid
the employees to use free post services. Ports of information leakage from the
point of view of prevention of insider incident are various enough: usb-flash,
an instant exchange of messages (ICQ, MSN, etc.), photoaccessories and others.
There are a variety of threats such as computer viruses, worms,
spyware and Trojan horses.
Gordon B. Davis and Gordon Bitter Davis (1999, p. 239) point out
that a computer virus is a computer program designed to destroy other programs,
corrupt stored data, or interfere with the operation of computer system.
Computer viruses were and remain one of the most widespread reasons of loss of
the information. Despite huge efforts of anti-virus firms competing among
themselves, the losses brought by computer viruses, don't fall and reach
astronomical sizes in hundred millions dollars annually. These estimations are
obviously underestimated, as it becomes known only about a part of similar
Another kind of threat is Trojan horse. According to Kim Berquist
and Anrew Berquist (1996, p. 150) the Trojan horses is an apparently useful
program containing hidden code which allows the unauthorized collection,
falsification, or destruction of data. The wide circulation of Trojan programs
has given to the hacker rather effective tool for reception of the confidential
information and destructive activity in relation to users of network Internet.
Programs-spies (Spyware): the software, allowing to assemble data
on separately taken user or the organization without their permission. Spyware
is applied to a number of the different purposes. The core are marketing probes
and target advertizing. In this case the information on a configuration of the
computer of the user, the software used by him, visited sites, the statistican
of inquiries to search cars and statistics of words entered from the keyboard
allows to define a kind of activity and a focus of interest of users very
precisely. However the assembled information can be used not only for the
advertizing purposes – for example, recieved information about the computer can
essentially simplify hacker attack and breaking of the computer of the user.
And if the program periodically updates itself through the Internet it does the
computer very vulnerable
The deliberate threats-threats connected with malice aforethought
of deliberate physical collapse, subsequently system failure. Internal and
external attacks concern deliberate threats. The modern history knows weight of
examples of deliberate internal threats of the information are tricks of the
competing organizations which introduce or hire agents for the subsequent
disorganization of the competitor, revenge of employees which are dissatisfied
with a salary or the status in firm and other. It is possible to carry threats
of hacker attacks to external deliberate threats. If the information system is
connected with a global network the Internet for prevention of hacker attacks
it is necessary to use firewall which can be built in the equipment. Hacker
attack is an electronic equivalent of breaking of a premise. Hackers constantly
crack both separate computers, and large networks. Having got access to system,
they steal the confidential data or install harmful programs. They also use the
cracked computers for spam sending. The outstanding examples of hacker attacks
are attacks Jonathan James. He cracked the serious organizations such as
Defense Threat Reduction Agency which is part NASA. After that he has got access
to names of users and passwords, and also possibility to look through the
confidential information. According to NASA, cost of the stolen software is
estimated in 1,7 million dollars. Another example, in the summer of 1995, the
Russian hacker by name of Vladimir Levin has cracked electronic protection of
Citybank and has stolen 400 000 USA dollars.
There are plenty of natural threats, such as fires, flooding,
hurricanes, blows of lightnings. The most frequent among these threats are
The lack of security may lead to various consequences and
problems, such as loss revenue, lowered market value, legal liability,
lowered employee productivity and higher operational costs
Information security is understood as security of the information
and an infrastructure supporting it from any casual or ill-intentioned
influences which result drawing of a damage of the information, to its owners
or a supporting infrastructure can be.
Information security problems are reduced to damage minimization, and
also to forecasting and prevention of such influences.
Only the understanding of all spectrum of threats will allow to
construct the effective safety system.
It is necessary to give particular attention to e-mail protection
as harmful programs often dispatch themselves of nothing to suspecting users.
Necessarily it is necessary to put an antivirus on the corporate
server of e-mail. The companies should
develop correctly an anti-virus complex in scales of the network, and than to
support its working capacity. Only last versions of anti-virus products are
capable to protect users from modern virus threats reliably. To support the
protection up to the mark it is required as it is possible to update anti-virus
bases is more often. At the enterprise it usually isn't a problem – correctly
adjusted anti-virus decision will download and establish updatings in an
The updating of the product is very important. There are new
anti-virus modules with each new version, small defects, and at times and errors,
in old modules are corrected. That is even more important, in new versions the
technologies essentially raising efficiency of struggle against new kinds of
cyberinfections are realized. Thus, only last versions of anti-virus products
are capable to protect users from modern virus threats reliably.
For information safety, a necessary condition is the equipment of
premises in which there are system elements (carriers of figures, servers,
archives and etc.), fire-prevention gages, appointment responsible for
fire-prevention safety and presence of fire extinguishing means.
Observance of all these rules will allow to reduce to a minimum
threat of loss of the information from a fire.
The described modes of maintenance of information security of the
company are effective enough to secure the company against set of threats of
information security both from the outside, and from within. Though there are
also other modes, like total shadowing employees, their efficiency much more
low and doesn't get under a category of simple means. Besides, it is not
necessary to forget that information security maintenance shouldn't harm to
activity of the enterprise or create hindrances for work of employees, after
all finally any business processes of the enterprise should be directed on
primary activity maintenance, instead of auxiliary services.
The information in the company should be divided into some levels
of access. The employee should get access only to those data which are
necessary for it for work. The principle of the minimum powers should operate
both for electronic, and for other data. It is necessary confirm the list of
the most critical information carried to the category confidential, employees
should to be acquainted with it under a list. Access to the confidential
information is possible only after entering of the employee into the
corresponding list confirmed by a management.
Rapid development of information technology has also the negative
aspect: it has opened road for new forms of antisocial and criminal activity
which were impossible earlier. Computer systems comprise new unique
possibilities for fulfillment before unknown offenses, and also for fulfillment
of traditional crimes, however, more effective modes.
Threats of safety of information field induce to working out of a
complex of the actions directed on drop of risk of occurrence of an emergency
situation. For this purpose it is necessary to define first of all set of
threats with reference to a concrete segment of information field and an
admissible risk level of their realization and to estimate expenses for
localization and liquidation of consequences.
The problems connected with increase of safety of information
systems, are difficult, multiplane and interconnected. It demands constant,
indefatigable attention from the state and a society. Development of
information technology induces to the constant appendix of joint efforts on
perfection of methods and the means allowing authentically to estimate threat
to safety of information sphere and adequately to react to them.
As standard model of safety often result model from three
• Confidentiality – an information condition at which access to it
is carried out only by the subjects having on it the right;
• Integrity – avoidance of unapproved version of the information;
• Availability – avoidance of time or constant concealment of the
information from the users who have received access rights.
Modern anti-virus technologies allow to reveal almost all already
known virus programs through comparison of a code of a suspicious file with the
samples stored in anti-virus base. Besides, technologies of modeling of the
behavior are developed, allowing to find out again created virus programs.
Found out objects can be exposed to treatment, be isolated (to be located in
quarantine) or to leave. Protection against viruses can be established on
workstations, file and post servers, the gateway screens working under almost any
from widespread operating systems, on processors of various types.
From all aforesaid it is possible to draw safely a conclusion that
necessity of protection of the information at present costs on the first place.
If correctly to choose the anti-virus software, regularly to update it, and to
observe all necessary security measures it is possible to avoid loss, damage of
the valuable information and accordingly all consequences.
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