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Computers have become much more important and popular to our society in recent decades. The computer’s ability to perform so many tasks speedily and reliably makes it useful for a wide variety of purposes. Therefore much important information is stored on computers. Because people and organisations depend on computers every day for a variety of significant tasks, it is imperative that the systems which are used are protected from loss, damage and misuse. This essay identifies some potential risks to computer systems and software and the safeguards that can be taken to minimise these risks. A computer security risk is defined as any event or action that could cause a loss or damage to computer equipment, software, data and information, or processing capability. Some of these risks, such as viruses, unauthorised access and use, and information theft, involve deliberate acts, which are against the law. Any illegal act involving a computer generally is referred to as a computer crime. With the advent of the modern day digital computer, a new methodology of crime has been created. Electronic crime is held partly responsible for wreaking havoc in the financial world. Computer systems are under attack from a multitude of sources today. These range from human threats such as hackers to malicious code such as viruses and worms. The term hacker, though initially a positive term, has become associated with people who try to break into computer systems. Crackers and hackers typically break into systems by connecting to them via modems and logging in as a user. Some do no damage, but merely wander around the system before logging off, while others leave some evidence of their presence by either leaving a message or altering data. Unauthorized use is the use of a computer system or computer data for unapproved or possibly illegal activities. This may range from an employee using the database for personal activities to gaining access to a bank system and completing an unauthorized transfer Human threats are perpetrated by a person or groups of people who attempt to penetrate computer systems through computer networks, public switched telephone networks or other sources. These attacks generally attack known security vulnerabilities of systems. These vulnerabilities are mainly due to software configuration errors. Methods used by hackers to gain unauthorised acces... ... middle of paper ... ...vity. Society is still seeing the infancy of computers, not just in its general growth, but in its capabilities of controlling every facet of our normal lives. If we do not attempt to broaden our awareness of computer science, we will continue to become victims of electronic attacks. Virus problem is getting worse. Increasing pressures to connect to the outside world, exchange information and do it all rapidly, decrease the control over what is exchanged and increases the potential for malicious code to penetrate even the best protected environments. The virus-writing underworld is determined to cause as much damage and trouble as they can, using the Internet to the maximum potential to spread rapidly while not exposing themselves to any dangers of being caught. Anti-virus companies are finding it more difficult to keep up the research effort and most recently consolidated or abandoned their efforts. The future is not very rosy, but given sufficient determination and resources to crack the virus problem, it is possible to combat it. Hopefully, after reading this report you have a better understanding of what future lies before us and what we must do to keep its integrity intact.

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