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Categories of End Users

A World of Data Security Risks

The integrity and privacy of data are at risk from unauthorized users, external sources listening in on the network, and internal users giving away the store. This section explains the risky situations and potential attacks that could compromise your data.

Data Tampering

Privacy of communications is essential to ensure that data cannot be modified or viewed in transit. Distributed environments bring with them the possibility that a malicious third party can perpetrate a computer crime by tampering with data as it moves between sites.

In a data modification attack, an unauthorized party on the network intercepts data in transit and changes parts of that data before retransmitting it. An example of this is changing the dollar amount of a banking transaction from $100 to $10,000.

In a replay attack, an entire set of valid data is repeatedly interjected onto the network. An example would be to repeat, one thousand times, a valid $100 bank account transfer transaction.

Eavesdropping and Data Theft

Data must be stored and transmitted securely, so that information such as credit card numbers cannot be stolen.

Over the Internet and in Wide Area Network (WAN) environments, both public carriers and private network owners often route portions of their network through insecure land lines, extremely vulnerable microwave and satellite links, or a number of servers. This situation leaves valuable data open to view by any interested party. In Local Area Network (LAN) environments within a building or campus, insiders with access to the physical wiring can potentially view data not intended for them. Network sniffers can easily be installed to eavesdrop on network traffic. Packet sniffers can be designed to find and steal user names and passwords.