Information security engineering is a very new field of study and it deals with providing security in the world of Information Technology. It deals with the analysis of vulnerability, the risk, threat and protecting the integrity of the next-functional logic (software) of a computer system and data contained in or exchanged in a communication with a user. This protection is achieved through organizational and technological measures aimed at ensuring that only authorized users have access to the database of the organization. This is mainly achieved by following a process of authentication, which verifies the credentials of the individuals before providing them with data access.
Information security has become a major concern in most industries, especially those which are heavily dependent on Information technology. The IT and ITES industries have over the years, started hiring Information Security engineers to help them with securing their database and the transfer of information between centers. These professionals work in large multinational companies and help them in improving their security parameters. Database security depends on several factors that interfere between the users and the system, such as robustness of the software and the basic application etc. The information security engineers utilize many tools to provide maximum data security.
They have to create safety programs which can help different companies in protecting their database and the flow of information. The fundamental concepts of information security are as follows:
Safety - ensuring that the database of an organization, along with the software and application used by the organization, is safe and secured;
Reliability - to make sure that the data is reliable by preventing events that can produce any serious damage to the database.
If there is any problem with the software used in any organization, of if there is any breach of security, it can lead to the following possible effects (in ascending order):
- No effect
- Negligible risk
- Significant risk
- High risk
- Catastrophic risk
This is why, the engineers and security experts take necessary steps to prevent any damage or loss caused by software failure or security breach.
Main techniques of defense used by the information security engineers
Antivirus: an anti-virus is a program which protects computers against attacks by malicious software known as viruses. A good antivirus should be constantly updated to have continuously running scan functions in real time. The security experts in an organization will regularly use the anti-virus to scan the hard disks, CDs, DVDs and floppy disks, to detect the presence of viruses, worms, malwares etc. To prevent the spread of virus, the antivirus will also check all the files that are received or sent via emails to verify that they are safe.
Anti-Spyware: it is a software which is very effective in the removal of "spy files", or spyware that can steal information about the user's online activities and send them to an organization that will use them for profit. An anti-spyware application can go a long way in protecting the intellectual property of an organization.
Firewall: a firewall protects the computer network in an organization against outside hacking attacks and blocks any programs on the computers attempting to access the Internet without the user's permission. A firewall installed and well configured system provides compile access control by monitoring all traffic that passes through it.
Digital Signature Encryption: information security engineers protect sensitive documents and data from unauthorized access by using specific security mechanisms such as encryption, digital signature, and the use of digital certificates and cryptographic algorithms to identify the certifying authority i.e. a site, a person or software.
Backup: security experts create backup of the company database as it helps them to recover lost or damaged files. In any organization, creating backup of the database is very important because if the organization loses important data, it might even have to face lawsuits from the clients. It will also find it difficult to conduct day to day operations.
Honeypot: a honeypot is a system or piece of hardware or software used to "trap" or "bait" for protection against attacks by hackers. Usually consists of a computer or a site that seems to be part of the network and contain valuable information, but in reality is quite isolated and has no critical or sensitive content. It could also be a file, a record, or an unused IP address.
Causes of Data Loss
The probable causes of loss of data in computer systems may be multiple, but are generally grouped into two events: Adverse events and Accidental events.
Between the two events mentioned above, the unwanted ones are mostly unexpected, although it is prudent to expect anything. One should also expect the so-called attacks by unauthorized users to steal valuable data. Adverse events are often caused by unauthorized users who would try to access different computers and systems without taking permissions from any required authorities.
The hacking attacks are controlled by the hackers through the internet network, by using special software, sometimes created by them; they sneak in by hacking the system, achieving full control of the machine, to manage resources and data without the proper permissions. They often steal vital information and then use it for their own benefit, causing harm to the company which has been hacked.
Access to systems by unauthorized users
This type of attack is substantially similar to the previous one, but has a different shape. This attack involves unauthorized use of systems and data, but unlike a hacker attack this time the system itself is used for the attack and not the network.
The hacking and unauthorized usage of company information can cause a lot of loss to the company. If vital data is lost, the customers can even sue the company for large amount of money and can even take legal action. The company may also find it difficult to meet its professional responsibilities.
The accidents do not refer to an attack by a third party, but they refer to events caused accidentally by the employees of the organization, like installation of incompatible hardware parts, unexpected failures, etc. All these events however, compromise system security.