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Computer Hardware Security

Computer Hardware Security

BRIAN HOYLE

A phenomenal amount of information now resides on computers. Individual computers as well as computers that communicate with each other in geographically-restricted local networks as well as globally, via the Internet, contain billions of pages of text, graphics, and other sources of information. Without safeguards, this information is vulnerable to misuse or theft.

Computer security can takes two forms. Software security provides barriers and other cyber-tools that protect programs, files, and the information flow to and from a computer. Hardware security protects the machine and peripheral hardware from theft and from electronic intrusion and damage.

Physical on-site security can be as easy as confining mission-critical computers to a locked room, and restricting access to only those who are authorized. This also holds for servers, which are computers that function as a central routing point for information to and from the networked computers and the Internet. Many personal computer users pay to have this service provided by an Internet service provider (ISP). However, having an out-side provider can generate security threats and can be disruptive if the ISP ceases operation. Nowadays, many corporations opt to establish an in-house ISP. In this way the security of the corporate server is under direct control.

Computers also have an internal form of a lock and key. A security password that is needed to gain access to all of a computer's functions can be stored on a chip known as the BIOS chip. Unfortunately, a dedicated thief can easily circumvent this hardware security feature, by removing the hard drive and putting it into another computer with a different BIOS chip.

With the exploding popularity of the Internet, hardware security has been extended to this electronic realm. Computers that are connected to the Internet are vulnerable to remote access, sabotage, and eavesdropping unless security measures are in place to buffer the computer from the outside electronic world.

Many corporations whose computers are linked to one another, employ a local version of the Internet. An Intranet or Local Area Network allows the exchange of information between the linked computers, while at the same time enabling the erection of hardware and software (i.e., firewalls) that screen information flowing to and from the Internet. Remote users of the internal network, such as telecommuting employees, can be protected through what is known as a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN establishes a protected communications link across a public network between the remote computer and the computers physically linked in the local network.

The individual computers that are linked in a network, and the dedicated devices that route information back and forth, are also known as nodes. The security measures that have been discussed above also function to safeguard nodes.

At the core of a network is a device called the hub. The hub exchanges the information between all of the connected computers. As such, it is key to a network. A hub should be kept away from high traffic areas, and preferably in a secure room. This restricts tampering.

While a hub relays information indiscriminately from computer to computer, a device called a switch is more selective. Information can be sent to one user computer but not to another. The use of a switch allows a network administrator to control the information flow to authorized viewers, which can be a security issue.

Fluctuations in the power supply can play havoc with computers. For example, a blackout or brownout can cause a computer to shut down abruptly. Information that is stored only in short-term memory will be lost. As well, the fluctuation can physically damage computer components. The use of a surge protector guards against electrical spikes and drops. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can also be hooked up to a computer. A UPS is essentially a battery that will power the computer in the event of a power outage. This can provide time for information to be saved and for a computer to be shut down correctly.

FURTHER READING:

BOOKS:

Bentley, Tom, and Jon Hastings. Safe Computing: How to Protect Your Computer, Your Body, Your Data, Your Money and Your Privacy in the Information Age. Concord, CA: Untechnical Press, 2000.

Bishop, Matt. Computer Security: Art and Science. Boston: Addison Wesley Professional, 2002.

Luber, Alan D. PC Fear Factor: The Ultimate PC Disaster Prevention Guide. Indianapolis: Que, 2002.

SEE ALSO

Computer Keystroke Recorder
Cyber Security

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Computer Hardware Security

Computer Hardware Security

A phenomenal amount of information now resides on computers. Individual computers, computers that communicate with each other in geographically-restricted local networks, and computers that communicate globally via the Internet contain billions of pages of text, graphics, and other sources of information. Without safeguards, this information is vulnerable to misuse or theft.

This is true for computers used in forensic science , which help with the acquisition, storage, and analysis of data. As with any data stored on a computer, there are vulnerabilities. Computer security provisions are a prudent facet of any top-quality forensic science operation.

Computer security can take two forms. Software security provides barriers and other cyber-tools that protect programs, files, and the information flow to and from a computer. Hardware security protects the machine and peripheral hardware from theft and from electronic intrusion and damage.

Physical on-site security can be as easy as confining mission-critical computers to a locked room, and restricting access to only those who are authorized. This also holds for servers, which are computers that function as a central routing point for information to and from the networked computers and the Internet. Many personal computer users pay to have this service provided by an Internet service provider (ISP). However, having an outside provider can generate security threats and can be disruptive if the ISP ceases operation. Nowadays, many corporations opt to establish an in-house ISP. In this way the security of the corporate server is under direct control.

Computers also have an internal form of a lock and key. A security password that is needed to gain access to all of a computer's functions can be stored on a chip known as the BIOS chip. Unfortunately, a dedicated thief can easily circumvent this hardware security feature, by removing the hard drive and putting it into another computer with a different BIOS chip.

With the exploding popularity of the Internet, hardware security has been extended to this electronic realm. Computers that are connected to the Internet are vulnerable to remote access, sabotage, and eavesdropping unless security measures are in place to buffer the computer from the outside electronic world.

Many corporations whose computers are linked to one another employ a local version of the Internet. An intranet or local area network (LAN) allows the exchange of information between the linked computers, while at the same time enabling the erection of hardware and software (i.e., firewalls) that screen information flowing to and from the Internet. Remote users of the internal network, such as telecommuting employees, can be protected through what is known as a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN establishes a protected communications link across a public network between the remote computer and the computers physically linked in the local network.

The individual computers that are linked in a network, and the dedicated devices that route information back and forth, are also known as nodes. The security measures that have been discussed above also function to safeguard nodes.

At the core of a network is a physical device called the hub. The hub exchanges the information between all of the connected computers. As such, it is key to a network. A hub should be kept away from high traffic areas, and preferably in a secure room. This restricts tampering.

While a hub relays information indiscriminately from computer to computer, a device called a switch is more selective. Information can be sent to one user computer but not to another. The use of a switch allows a network administrator to control the information flow to authorized viewers, which can be a security issue.

Fluctuations in the power supply can play havoc with computers. For example, a blackout or brown-out can cause a computer to shut down abruptly. Information that is stored only in short-term memory will be lost. As well, the fluctuation can physically damage computer components. The use of a surge protector can guard against electrical spikes and drops. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can also be hooked up to a computer. A UPS is essentially a battery that will power the computer in the event of a power outage. This can provide time for information to be saved and for a computer to be shut down correctly.

see also Computer hackers; Computer keystroke recorder; Computer software security.

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"Computer Hardware Security." World of Forensic Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 1 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Computer Hardware Security." World of Forensic Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 1, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/computer-hardware-security

"Computer Hardware Security." World of Forensic Science. . Retrieved November 01, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/computer-hardware-security

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Computer Hardware Security

Computer Hardware Security

Resources

A phenomenal amount of information now resides on computers. Individual computers as well as computers that communicate with each other in geographically-restricted local networks as well as globally, via the Internet, contain billions of pages of text, graphics, and other sources of information. Without safeguards, this information is vulnerable to misuse or theft.

Computer security can takes two forms. Software security provides barriers and other cyber-tools that protect programs, files, and the information flow to and from a computer. Hardware security protects the machine and peripheral hardware from theft and from electronic intrusion and damage.

Physical on-site security can be as easy as confining mission-critical computers to a locked room, and restricting access to only those who are authorized. This also holds for servers, which are computers that function as a central routing point for information to and from the networked computers and the Internet. Many personal computer users pay to have this service provided by an Internet service provider (ISP). However, having an

outside provider can generate security threats and can be disruptive if the ISP ceases operation. Nowadays, many corporations opt to establish an in-house ISP. In this way the security of the corporate server is under direct control.

Computers also have an internal form of a lock and key. A security password that is needed to gain access to all of a computers functions can be stored on a chip known as the BIOS chip. Unfortunately, a dedicated thief can easily circumvent this hardware security feature, by removing the hard drive and putting it into another computer with a different BIOS chip.

With the exploding popularity of the Internet, hardware security has been extended to this electronic realm. Computers that are connected to the Internet are vulnerable to remote access, sabotage, and eavesdropping unless security measures are in place to buffer the computer from the outside electronic world.

Many corporations whose computers are linked to one another, employ a local version of the Internet. An Intranet or Local Area Network allows the exchange of information between the linked computers, while at the same time enabling the erection of hardware and software (i.e., firewalls) that screen information flowing to and from the Internet. Remote users of the internal network, such as telecommuting employees, can be protected through what is known as a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN establishes a protected communications link across a public network between the remote computer and the computers physically linked in the local network.

The individual computers that are linked in a network, and the dedicated devices that route information back and forth, are also known as nodes. The security measures that have been discussed above also function to safeguard nodes.

At the core of a network is a device called the hub. The hub exchanges the information between all of the connected computers. As such, it is key to a network.

A hub should be kept away from high traffic areas, and preferably in a secure room. This restricts tampering.

While a hub relays information indiscriminately from computer to computer, a device called a switch is more selective. Information can be sent to one user computer but not to another. The use of a switch allows a network administrator to control the information flow to authorized viewers, which can be a security issue.

Fluctuations in the power supply can play havoc with computers. For example, a blackout or brownout can cause a computer to shut down abruptly. Information that is stored only in short-term memory will be lost. As well, the fluctuation can physically damage computer components. The use of a surge protector guards against electrical spikes and drops. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can also be hooked up to a computer. A UPS is essentially a battery that will power the computer in the event of a power outage. This can provide time for information to be saved and for a computer to be shut down correctly.

See also Computer software security.

Resources

BOOKS

Bishop, Matt. Computer Security: Art and Science. Boston: Addison Wesley Professional, 2002.

Luber, Alan D. PC Fear Factor: The Ultimate PC Disaster Prevention Guide. Indianapolis: Que, 2002.

Brian Hoyle

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"Computer Hardware Security." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 1 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Computer Hardware Security." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 1, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/computer-hardware-security-0

"Computer Hardware Security." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved November 01, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/computer-hardware-security-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.