Refers to the protection of hardware, software, machines and networks from unauthorized access, alteration or destruction. Security measures include restricted access to machines and networks and encryption of information. The degree of security of information systems determines society’s confidence in the information contained in the systems.

Security breach: A situation where an individual intentionally exceeds or misuses network, system, or data access in a manner that negatively affects the security of the organization’s data, systems, or operations.


An Example of a Past Security Breach

  • 13. AOL
  • Date: August 6, 2006
  • Impact: Data on more than 20 million web inquiries, from more than 650,000 users, including shopping and banking data were posted publicly on a web site.

In January 2007, Business 2.0 Magazine ranked the release of the search data in among the "101 Dumbest Moments in Business." Michael Arrington, a lawyer and founder of the blog site TechCrunch, posted a comment on his blog saying, "The utter stupidity of this is staggering." AOL Research, headed by Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, released a compressed text file on one of its websites containing 20 million search keywords for more than 650,000 users over a three-month period. While it was intended for research purposes, it was mistakenly posted publicly. AOL pulled the file from public access by the next day, but not before it had been mirrored and distributed on the Internet. AOL itself did not identify users, but personally identifiable information was present in many of the queries, and as AOL attributed the queries to particular user accounts, identified numerically, an individual could be identified and matched to their account and search history by such information. The breach led to the resignation of AOL's CTO, Maureen Govern, on Aug. 21, 2006.

Ten Ways to Avoid IT Security Breaches

1. Change Default Passwords
2. Don't Reuse Passwords
3. Disable User Accounts When An Employee Leaves
4. Examine Security Logs
5. Do Regular Network Scans
6. Monitor Outbound Network Traffic
7. Patch and Update Regularly
8. Implement a Security Plan
9. Raise User Awareness About Information Security
10. Get Upper Management to Buy In

Online Resources

"1.2 Security." ITGS (G12) -. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012.
"The 15 Worst Data Security Breaches of the 21st Century." CSO. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012.
"10 Ways to Avoid IT Security Breaches." TechRepublic. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2012.