Data Security: The Misuse of Technology and Points of Vulnerability in Everyday Information Systems

Data Security: The Misuse of Technology and Points of Vulnerability in Everyday Information Systems

Otobong Inieke (Independent Researcher - Graduate of Middlesex University Mauritius Campus, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJDLDC.2019100102

Abstract

Data security in the information age is a critical facet in the integrity and reliability of the various information systems making up value structures of businesses, organizations etc. Aside from professionals directly involved with securing data within these systems, the importance of data security is not readily apparent to the everyday user of devices in the information systems. The purpose of this literature review is to highlight challenges related to data security and business information systems in conjunction with digital literacy. An extensive literature review was conducted with the aim of identifying and describing scenarios of technology misuse as well as vulnerabilities in vital business information systems. A gap in awareness continues to plague those who leverage information systems for its myriad uses because everyday users will in most cases dismiss data security advice as alarmist or jargon-laden. This falls in line with a 2018 cyber security survey from Statista which showed that 22% of data security tasks was preventing malware while 17% of tasks were dedicated to preventing social engineering and phishing attacks. This literature review will describe possible data insecurity solutions as well as potential areas of further research. The paper will point out the importance of digital literacy as well as recommendations for its improvement in society and also ongoing research in that regard. The essence of this literature review is to identify certain everyday information systems such as decision support systems and transaction processing systems; while pointing out vulnerabilities and threat nature i.e. technical or non-technical and also demonstrating the importance of digital literacy and lack thereof.
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Technical Threats

According to (Techopedia, n.d.), a threat can be considered as anything or a potential that can cause harm to computer systems, networks or peripheral devices. These can range from malware and viruses to Trojans and outright hacker attacks using sophisticated tools. Threats that are designed as malicious software by skilled individuals with extensive cyber-security knowledge can be considered as ‘technical threats.’ The following sub-headings are examples of technical threats;

Malware

Firstly, the word ‘malware’ is a shortened form of ‘malicious software’, it is an encompassing term for hostile, dangerous or intrusive computer programs and code and includes spyware, viruses, Trojans etc. (Sanchez, 2010). A study carried out by PandaLabs showed that throughout 2015, roughly 84 million new malwares were both identified and stopped with an average of 230,000 new malware created daily in that same period (PandaSecurity, 2016). The study also showed that of the 304 million total malware identified, 27.63% of that total was created in 2015. Such profound information naturally translated to difficulty for targets of malware attacks such as large companies and organizations who had to deal with data theft and compromise as well as disruption of information systems.

With further insight into the disruptive nature of technical threats, one has to consider the 2017 ‘WannaCry’ malware which exploited computers that lacked updated security patches by encrypting all files within the infected computer and denying any access to the owner (Zaharia, 2017). According to the BBC, high profile victims of the WannaCry malware included roughly 40 organizations affiliated to the National Health Service in England and Scotland affecting appointments and normal activities. It also reported that about 75,000 cases in 99 countries around the world were observed by Avast - the cyber-security firm (BBC News, 2017). It should be noted that Microsoft as well as independent cyber-security researchers were able to release updates and tools respectively that help affected users to safely decrypt content in infected computers (Zaharia, 2017).

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