What are the Basics of Computer Security?

woman using laptop with VPN
Spread the love

No business can survive today without computers. It’s an essential piece of equipment that improves every aspect of any commercial organization. But with the good comes the bad, or at the very least, the potential for something bad. Because this technology can give way to security threats.

What is Meant by Computer Security?

Computer security is about protecting your standalone equipment from unauthorized use, and therefore, from harm. Harm may come in the form of misusing company information, client data; from theft and other threats that compromise confidential or sensitive data.

What does computer security entail?

Security involves a process of detection, prevention and maintenance to safeguard your business’s system from breaches. Because so many elements are involved in securing your computer systems, security is classified into five types.

What are the 5 Types of Computer Security?

Companies and organizations across the world use different types of computer security. Each one is meant to address specific systems, technologies and threats.

1. Information Security

Business or personal information is sensitive, and without proper safeguards, the data you keep could be open to unauthorized access and misuse. Information security provides a set of practices that protect the so-called CIA triad, the basic tenets of information security : confidentiality, integrity and availability.

Establishing a policy setting, which guides people in the organization when using IT assets, is one way to prevent unauthorized access. It sets the protocols and procedures for people to follow, ensuring only authorized users have access.

2. Application Security

This type of computer security covers protection for applications against cyber threats. What are those security threats?

  • Dos attacks
  • SQL injection
  • Cross site scripting
  • Insecure Direct Object References
  • Broken authentication

3. Cyber Security

Is computing security the same as cyber security?

Cyber security threats and information security threats differ in purpose and scope. Information security concerns deal with protection of data from any form of threat and primarily guards against unauthorized access, disclosure modification and disruption. Cyber security, on the other hand, guards against cyber fraud and cyber crimes, protecting against dangers in cyberspace.

Although both forms of threats correspond to some laws, cyber security may deal more with law enforcement agencies.

4. Network Security

Network security is about securing infrastructure for devices, applications, users and applications to work securely. It focuses on hardware and software technologies.

To prevent unauthorized access, network security architecture must have multiple layers of defenses. Each layer must implement controls and policies to block a malicious program or unauthorized users from carrying out threats.

Some forms of network security include:

  • Virtual private network
  • Intrusion prevention system
  • Firewalls
  • Network segmentation
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware software

5. Endpoint Security

Endpoint security breaches are prevented or mitigated through the protection of entry points or endpoints of users. These will cover laptops, mobile devices, desktops, printers, medical devices and smartwatches, using endpoint protection platforms against sophisticated malware and evolving zero-day threats.

Beyond the usual antivirus software, some components of endpoint security are:

  • Centralized endpoint management platform
  • Integrated firewall
  • Proactive web security
  • Email gateway
  • Machine-learning classification

What are Examples of Security Threats to a Computer System?

hacked computer screen through eyeglasses
Photo by Shamsudeen Adedokun on Unsplash

Computer system security requires the knowledge of different threats. Some so-called “actors” gain access through devices and others through malicious software.

Expect the following computer security threats without some kind of protection for your system:


A botnet occurs when hackers have compromised the security of a network of computers without the users realizing it. An infected computer becomes a bot and carries out large-scale data breaches, like a DDoS attack.

Spyware threats

Spyware captures information by monitoring online activities through an installed software program, malicious website or a file attachment. It’s used to acquire, without the user’s knowledge, login credentials, banking information and credit card details. The information can be obtained through a keystroke logger or a screen capture.

Computer viruses

One of the more well-known computer security threat is a virus. Much like a medical virus, a computer virus replicates and executes itself, harming computer systems. Computer viruses are written in a certain way to change how computers run. These viruses may be installed through peer-to-peer file sharing sites, free software and emails from unknown senders.


Phishing is one of the common forms of cyber attacks. Data breach takes place when users click on instant messages or open fraudulent emails.

Computer Worm

Computer worms, much like a computer virus, replicate as they move through systems without any human interaction. Once it’s in the system, the worm takes up disc space and may delete files, modify them or introduce a malicious program to do further damage.


A rootkit may gain system access through a computer worm. It’s a malicious software that changes the configuration of computers, executing files from a remote location.

How are Computer Systems Protected?

woman leaning against glass in server room
Photo by Christina Wocintechchat on Unsplash

So what can you do to prevent your major computer systems from coming under attack? Security features will differ with devices and operating system. How you acquire and manage data will also figure into your plans safeguards against cyber attacks and system breaches.

Follow these basic computer security practices:

Secure computers at their physical site

For highly sensitive computer systems, installing security and anti virus software isn’t the only solution. Yes, you’d need a firewall as well. But it’s also crucial to limit access to the physical site of your systems; routers and servers must be out of reach.

If you’re keeping and managing sensitive data, multiple levels of security at the site are essential. Consider two factor authentication or biometric identification for those who must access the site.

Develop policies and train employees to prevent data breaches

Security awareness is the first step to keeping malicious code and access to your computer systems. Along with effective security practices, create a list of disciplinary actions for employees who fail to follow the procedures. For employees who have access and must handle customer information, using separate devices for home and business use is mandatory.

Try to tailor your computer security training to the employees to ensure compliance.

Create backups for computer security

Mitigate the impact of cyber attacks or data breaches by having backups and storing them offsite.

Use secure wireless networks

Instead of the usual WEP encryption, use WPA2. And disable Service Set Identifier (SSID) broadcasting to keep drive-by hackers from hijacking your network.

Update your software

Never ignore software updates because they provide a layer of security for your devices and operating systems.

Why Computing Security is Necessary

Computer security is crucial and necessary for all businesses, big or small. Even if you’re not exactly managing, for example, military secrets, securing your computers allows you to stay in business for as long as you need.

When your customers’ information is safe, your proprietary data is out of reach and your systems are never exposed to malicious programs, you project an image of security, stability and reliability. And all of those contribute to the bottom line.

Spread the love
Scroll to Top