The incredibly fast development of the Internet has brought many benefits both to consumers and businesses. However, it has also provided criminals or misguided individuals with great opportunities for crime or 'mischief'. The Internet is not only used by innocent members of the public, but also by fraudulent traders, software pirates, hackers and con-artists, to name but a few.
A hacker is a person who breaks codes and passwords to gain unauthorized entry to computer systems. Hackers can do an enormous amount of damage if they break into a computer system. For some people, the challenge of breaking the codes is irresistible and so precautions have to be taken. Stand-alone computers are usually safe as there is no connection for the hackers to break into. Computers which form part of networks or those with external links, such as attached modems, are in danger from hackers. Many hackers often don't intend to cause damage or steal data, they just enjoy the challenge of breaking into a system. However, in some instances the hacker's purpose could be to commit fraud, to steal valuable data or to damage or delete the data in order to harm the company. It might be hard to believe, but most hacking is carried out by employees with a grudge or those who want to 'make a quick buck'. They have insider knowledge of passwords and User IDs which makes it easy for them.
Data is often the most valuable resource any business has. The cost of creating data again from scratch can far outweigh the cost of any hardware or programs lost. Physical theft or unauthorized access is the means of data theft. Loss of data from hacking can have various consequences, some of which can be seen below.
Physically protecting systems
Businesses can use a range of physical methods to protect their systems and data. Some of these include:
- Keeping important computers such as servers or mainframes in locked rooms - Posting security guards