Information Protection and Security

By: Jesse Miller

The growth in the use of time-sharing systems and computer networks has brought with it a growth in concern for the protection of information.

Some of the threats that need to be addressed in the area of security are, organized and international attempts to obtain economic or market information from competitive organizations in the private sector, organized and international attempts to obtain economic information from government agencies, Inadvertent acquisition of economic or market information, Inadvertent acquisition of information about individuals, intentional fraud through illegal access to computer data banks with emphasis, in decreasing order of importance, on acquisition of funding data, economic data, Law enforcement data and data about individuals, government intrusion on the rights of individuals, and invasion of individual rights by the intelligence community.

These are some examples of specific threats that an organization or an individual (or an organization on behalf of its specific employees) may feel the need to counter. The nature of the threat that concerns an organization will vary greatly from one set of circumstances to another. How ever, some general purpose tools can be built into computers and operating systems to support a variety of protection and security mechanisms. In general, the problem of controlling access to computer systems and the information stored in them is a great concern.

Four types of overall protection policies, of increasing order of difficulty, have been identified.

No sharing case, processes are completely isolated from each other, and each process has exclusive control over the resources statically or dynamically assigned to it. With this policy processes often share a program or data file by making a copy of it and transferring the copy into their own virtual memory.

Sharing originals of program or data files, with the use of a reentrant code, a single physical realization of a program can appear in multiple virtual address spaces, as can read data files. Special locking mechanisms are required for the sharing of writable data files to prevent simultaneous users from interfering with each other.

Confined, or memory less, subsystems processes are grouped into subsystems to enforce a particular protection policy. A "client" process calls a "server" process to perform some task on data.

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The server is to be protected against the client`s discovering the algorithm by which it performs the task, and the client is to be protected against the server`s retaining any information about the task being performed.

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