Chapters 5 : Business, Issues and Controversies

Sections 2 : Internet Issues

Crackers and Viruses


There are two important issues that users of the Internet should be aware of. They are crackers and viruses. A Cracker is a person, who attempts to break into a computer system, essentially violating the security measures put in place. Such things as cracking or guessing a users password on any given system. A Cracker will exploit the common weaknesses of the target computer system. In contrast to crackers, hackers are those that know several programming languages and keep abreast of various security issues, and technologies. Hackers will try to again access by trying a number of different methods. Guessing passwords, Pretending to be the system administrator and requesting knowledge of the password, seeking holes in the systems security, and running programs on a system while another user is logged on.


Another issue of concern is viruses. All computer systems are susceptible to viruses. Viruses can arrive on your system by simple reading a diskette. But that is not the only way. viruses tend to travel from one computer to another by simply accessing the second computer. The more computers connected together the more susceptible your computer is. File-server networks are places where a lot of data is stored. These type of networks tend to attract a common virus class called file viruses. They use executables files as their medium of propagation. This type of virus spread by a user simply copying the file from the file-server. It also can spread by executing the infected file directly on the server causing a rippling effect and infecting all the data on the server. Now that server is a virus carrier. If any one accesses the data, will infect their computer. Another type of virus is the Boot virus. It infects the computer when the files the system uses to boot are infected, for example a diskette. This type of virus can not effect client machines that access it. Peer to Peer Networks are setup such that every workstation can potentially act as both a client and a server. So this type of network is even more susceptible just like the file-sever network.

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