Computer Security and the Internet; October 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
This past February hackers reached through the Internet to break into the computer networks at various U.S. Air Force and Navy sites. The intruders, allegedly two northern Californian teenagers, were trying to gain access to systems that contained sensitive shipping, personnel and payroll information. At one point, the Pentagon thought that Saddam Hussein might be responsible for the attacks--a suspicion that could have had disastrous consequences. Such electronic transgressions are hardly rare: a recent study co-authored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that nearly two thirds of the organizations and companies surveyed were the victims of a cyberviolation within the past year.
In this special report, experts describe advanced technologies for thwarting cybertrespassers, thieves and eavesdroppers. Defensive software and hardware, such as firewall servers, can detect and block intruders; advanced encryption techniques ensure the privacy of data should a security breach occur. Cryptography also enables confidential messages to be dispatched freely around the world over the open Internet. Such approaches for securing computers--and the electronic data they store, transmit and receive--will help preserve the Net as a shared, invaluable tool.