What is the difference between computer security and information security?

Computer security and information security are commonly used interchangeably since both terms apply to the security of data held on computers. Those unaware of the distinction between the two expressions should be aware that their meanings and definitions are completely distinct and should not be interchanged, no matter how often this happens. Simply put, one is about data protection in cyberspace, while the other is about data protection in general. However, novices may find it difficult to understand. During this article, let’s try to establish the basics of information security and appreciate its contrasts with computer security.

The fundamental difference lies in the entities they aim to safeguard.

IT security will place more emphasis on protecting the infrastructure (computers, networks and servers) on which information and data are stored. This can be achieved by properly configuring servers, ensuring that all company-owned devices are equipped with anti-virus software, and monitoring computer systems and networks for possible threats. In other words, information technology security preserves digital data by maintaining the overall integrity of the network.

Information security, however, focuses on preventing unauthorized access to data stored on an IT infrastructure and/or changes to data during storage or delivery. This is achieved by protecting the information itself.

Several potential components of this strategy include access control mechanisms, least privilege access policies, and data encryption. These are just a few of the potential results. Information security primarily focuses on strategies and tactics designed to prevent data breaches from compromising critical organizational information.

Information security (InfoSec) is concerned with preserving the confidentiality, integrity and availability of an organization’s data, while computer security is only concerned with maintaining the secrecy of data.

The primary practice of information security is the prohibition of unauthorized access to information, use of information, disclosure of information, disruption of information, modifying information, inspecting information, recording information and destroying information. There can be both physical and digital information. The term “information” incorporates several notions, such as “your contact details”, “your profile” on social media platforms, “your data on your phone”, “your biometric data”, etc. disciplines, such as encryption, mobile computing, cybercrime and online social media.

During World War I, the first tiered classification system was devised in recognition of the delicate nature of the material. As part of the outbreak of World War II, the classification system was formally aligned. Alan Turing has finally managed to decipher the secrets that the German Enigma machine protected during World War II.

Information security initiatives are built around three goals, often referred to as CIA, which stands for confidentiality, integrity and availability.

  1. Confidentiality ensures that information is not disclosed to people, organizations or processes that are not authorized to receive it. Take, for example, the scenario where I had a password for my Gmail account, but someone overheard it when I was trying to access my Gmail account. In such a situation, my password confidentiality has been breached and there has been a security breach.
  1. Integrity refers to the process of ensuring that data is both accurate and complete. This ensures that the data cannot be modified in an unapproved way. For example, if an employee leaves an organization, that employee’s data in all departments, such as accounts, should be updated to reflect the JOB LEFT status to ensure the data is complete and accurate. Also, only authorized people should be allowed to edit employee data.
  1. Information must be accessible at the right time, which is what is meant by the term “availability”. For example, if one needs to access the information of a specific employee in order to determine whether or not that employee has exceeded the authorized number of leaves, it will require the collaboration of several organizational teams, such as those responsible for operations. network, operations development, incident response and policy and change management. An attack that constitutes a denial of service is one of the factors that can make information less accessible.

A complementary notion governs the operation of information security programs. This practice is known as non-repudiation.

This indicates that neither party can deny sending or receiving a message or completing a transaction. Neither party can assert that the other sent or received any communication or transaction. In cryptography, for example, it suffices to demonstrate that the message corresponds to the digital signature signed with the private key of the sender and that the sender could have transmitted the message and that no one else could have modified it during transit. This is because the digital signature is signed using the sender’s private key. Non-repudiation requires both data integrity and source validity.

  • Authenticity refers to the process of confirming that a user is who they claim to be and that the origin of each piece of data sent to a destination is trustworthy.

If this concept is adhered to, it guarantees that the valid and authentic message will be received from a trusted source via successful transmission.

For example, in the case mentioned in the previous paragraph, the sender would transmit the message accompanied by a digital signature generated by calculating the hash value of the message using the private key. At this point, the digital signature is decoded on the receiver side using the public key, resulting in a hash value. The message is again hashed to generate the hash value. When the two values ​​are identical, the transmission is deemed valid and the recipient is said to have received a genuine or authentic message. If the values ​​do not match, the transmission is considered invalid.

Information assurance serves as the basis for information security. This relates to the process of protecting the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility (CIA) of information and ensuring that it is not compromised when critical issues arise. These problems are not limited to natural calamities, faulty computers or servers, etc. Therefore, the field of information security has experienced significant growth and development in recent years. It offers specialization options in a wide range of areas, such as the protection of networks and associated infrastructures, securing applications and databases, carrying out security tests, auditing information systems and business continuity planning.

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