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Information Security: Basic Principles

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  • 0:04 Information Security…
  • 0:34 First Three…
  • 2:05 Fourth Principle: …
  • 2:58 How the Principles…
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Timothy Padgett

Tim has 25 years experience and two master's degrees in Information Technology. His career spans a wide range of industries and roles.

This lesson discusses the four basic principles of information security and how they safeguard valuable information. Understanding these building blocks is essential to knowing how to protect your digital information.

Information Security Principles

Information security is the art and science of protecting valuable information in all the various ways it is stored, transmitted, and used. Information security is a big field, with companies, governments, researchers, and specialists engaged in the work daily. In essence, however, information security rests on four fundamental principles that you can use every day to protect yourself in today's interconnected world.

First Three Principles: CIA Model

These first three principles can be remembered as the CIA model, which stands for confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Confidentiality means that your information can be seen only by you and those that you want to see the information. Your bank protects the confidentiality of your information by requiring you to enter a PIN that only you know at the ATM to see your balance. They will also require identification when someone conducts a transaction on your account.

Integrity involves making sure that your information cannot be changed or removed without your authorization. The information is as you expect it to be, and you'll know if something has changed. Banks put safeguards in place to prevent their employees or anyone else from simply changing your balance without your knowledge. Many banks protect the integrity of your information by letting you set up an alert when money is withdrawn from your account, regardless of who made the withdrawal. These alerts are sent to your phone or e-mail immediately, so you'll know right away if there's a problem.

Availability ensures that you can get to your information when you need it. It wouldn't do you any good to have a bank account if you could never tell how much money was in it or what transactions had occurred. Banks make your information available to you in many ways, such as online banking, ATM balance inquiries, and your monthly statement.

Fourth Principle: Non-Repudiation

Underneath all of this is the idea that your information should belong only to you and those you allow to see or use it. To make sure of that, we need to know who accessed this information, when, and how. This idea is formally called non-repudiation, meaning that if someone accesses your bank balance information, the bank will know who did it and when it was accessed and how they got it, and the person that accessed your information will be unable to deny it. Banks use security cameras in many different places to monitor who accesses your account, as well as auditing processes that ensures your balance and transaction history is correct at all times.

You might think of non-repudiation as the lock that makes the CIA model secure, so that we always know who used information, where they used it, and how.

How the Principles Work Together

To understand how all of this works together, let's say someone wants to steal money from your bank account. They go to an ATM machine and attempt to access your account. The bank has protected the confidentiality of your information by requiring both your ATM card and PIN to access your account. Without these, the thief is stopped cold.

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