Computer systems are vulnerable to many threats that can inflict various types of damage resulting in significant losses. This damage can range from errors harming database integrity to fires destroying entire computer centers. Losses can stem, for example, from the actions of supposedly trusted employees defrauding a system, from outside hackers, or from careless data entry clerks. Precision in estimating computer security-related losses is not possible because many losses are never discovered, and others are "swept under the carpet" to avoid unfavorable publicity. The effects of various threats varies considerably: some affect the confidentiality or integrity of data while others affect the availability of a system. 1. Errors and Omissions
Errors and omissions are an important threat to data and system integrity. These errors are caused not only by data entry clerks processing hundreds of transactions per day, but also by all types of users who create and edit data. Many programs, especially those designed by users for personal computers, lack quality control measures. However, even the most sophisticated programs cannot detect all types of input errors or omissions. A sound awareness and training program can help an organization reduce the number and severity of errors and omissions. Users, data entry clerks, system operators, and programmers frequently make errors that contribute directly or indirectly to security problems. In some cases, the error is the threat, such as a data entry error or a programming error that crashes a system. In other cases, the errors create vulnerabilities. Errors can occur during all phases of the systems life cycle. 2. Fraud and Theft
Computer systems can be exploited for both fraud and theft both by "automating" traditional methods of fraud and by using new methods. For example, individuals may use a computer to skim small amounts of money from a large number of financial accounts, assuming that small discrepancies may not be...
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