Threats to IT systems

Symantec published a report few days ago about spyware known as Regin, apparently Regin, has been used in systematic spying since at least 2008.  Mass media coverage is usually on newsworthy incidents, which have caused major disruptions to computer systems. There is widespread awareness of havoc with fire, flooding, hacking and what the computer virus can cause to computers.

Certainly these are threats against which computer systems must be protected. However, it is important to recognize that a threat constitutes any means thought which the confidentiality; integrity or availability of information systems can be impaired. This brings to our attention threats, many of which are easy to overlook.

Threats include:

  • Sabotage
  • Error in recovery procedures
  • Program error
  • Error in back-up procedures
  • Flooding
  • Input error
  • Interception of communication channels
  • Loss of key staff
  • Manipulation of programs
  • Hardware manipulation
  • Computer viruses
  • Communication failures
  • Natural and man-caused disaster
  • Human error
  • Deliberate manipulation of data and programs
  • Wilful destruction of computer materials and data
  • Manipulation of data
  • Loss of support services

Whilst it is impossible to identify all threats, it is very important to establish a set of controls, which are combined together:

PREVENT threats from affecting the confidentiality, integrity or availability of computer system (set of rules, how to use, what is allowed what is not)

DETECT their occurrence if they do manage to infiltrate the protective shield, (antivirus, firewall, etc.) to minimalize the impact by having appropriate procedures to restore computer system and the data

RECOVER from such data security breach (back-up, back-up, back-up)