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Definition of Threat in Information Security

Instructor: David Gloag
Information security is a major topic in the news these days. After all, information plays a role in almost everything we do. In this lesson, we'll take a look at what it is, threats, and why they are important.

The Need for Information Security

We gather information on a wide range of topics. From it, we try to generate or determine some hidden meaning, or useful insight. Home Depot uses it to predict the buying habits of their customers. Dell uses it to optimize their supply chain. And Facebook uses it to determine trends on social issues. Further, all of them use it to create business differentiators, and ultimately competitive advantage. Whatever the use, it is clear that it plays an important role, and as such, needs to be protected.

What is Information Security?

Information security is the collection of rules used to protect information regardless of how and where it is used. Most companies have them in one form or another. Think of your present employer. Do they not have rules in place that dictate who can enter the room that contains the company's computers? Or do they have user accounts that determine what you can see when you log on to the company network in the morning? Presumably, they do. These are examples of information security, and are quite common these days.

Notice also that the nature of the above rules is different in each case. Entering the computer room usually involves a card swipe. Logging onto the network involves entering a password. This is to be expected. Information security covers a number of situations, and therefore requires many different technologies to implement.

What is a Threat?

A threat is anything that can negatively alter, disrupt, hide, or erase an object or objects of interest. This also included the potential for any of these. Family life contains many examples. We threaten to take cartoon privileges from children that don't clean their rooms. Or our mothers threaten to wash our mouths out with soap for saying bad words. In each case, there is a negative result associated with potential cause.

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