The ability (or inability) to access certain parts of a programme or network. This is often implemented due to one's place in a hierarchy, such as an administrator or general user. Security systems are designed to keep the data safe - For example: this is an uneditable page, because you probably don't have sufficient access privileges to edit it. Data should always be kept secure to preserve it's integrity and to avoid plagiarism.

In Layman's terms:

Security is either being able to (or not being able to) use or change certain things about something. When you need a password to access a file, that's security.


There are many common forms of authentication to gain access to data. One common, up-and-coming method is called Biometrics, which uses parts of the body to check for authorisation. Common methods are using fingerprints, retinal scans, and facial recognition. A common retinal exam, for example, is one of the most highly secure forms of checking one's identity, because retinal fibres and patterns are very unique. It works as follows: A retinal scanner uses infrared light for mapping. As a person looks into the eyepiece, an invisible beam of low-energy infrared light traces a circular path on the retina at the back of the eye. The blood-filled capillaries absorb more of the infrared light than the surrounding tissue. Because of this, there is a variation in the intensity of the reflection. The scanner measures this reflection at 320 points along the beam path. It then assigns an intensity grade between zero and 4,095. The resulting numbers are compressed into an 80-byte computer code. This code can then be compared with patterns that have already been entered into the computer's data base.[1]


The science of ciphers and encryption is called cryptography. Encryption is widely used to keep data secure - that is, encoding the bytes into a cipher that, in theory, can only be read by the programme itself. At the highest level, the basic bytes of the data (Ones and zeroes) are changed, mutated, or flipped. For example, a very simple (and thus very ineffective) cipher would be taking 1's complement of the binary data (i.e. flipping the bits).

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) has been the most popular encryption algorithm of the past twenty-five years. Originally developed at IBM Corporation, it was chosen by the National Bureau of Standards (Now the National Institute of Standards and Technologies) as the government-standard encryption algorithm in 1976. Since then, it has become a domestic and international encryption standard, and has been used in thousands of applications. Concerns about its short key length have hampered the algorithm since the beginning, and in 1998 a bruteforce machine capable of breaking DES was built. Modifications to DES, like double- and triple-DES, ensure that it will remain secure for the foreseeable future.[2]

Hacking (h4xx0ring)

Main article: Hacking

Breaking into, tampering, or otherwise ruining the integrity of a security architecture. This usually results in said hacker being sent to jail. Hollywood has featured in movies hackers who are hired by the government, but the possibilities of this happening before being jailed are low to none.

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Citations and References

  1. Retinography: How Retinal Scanning Works, Retrieved on 11 September 2008.
  2. Crypto-gram Newsletter: The Data Encryption Standard, Retrieved on 15 September, 2008