Talk:Computer security

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Former featured article Computer security is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
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January 19, 2004 Refreshing brilliant prose Kept
October 23, 2004 Peer review Reviewed
March 17, 2006 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
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Article Cleanup[edit]

I am planning on fixing grammar and style issues and cleaning up the article in general. If you disagree with with any of the content removal, please let me know. Thanks.


I am performing a cleanup of the article by fixing grammatical errors, rewording wordy and poorly organized sentences and citing some references. I'm also adding an Applications section to the article to expand it. Soloxide (talk) 22:14, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

That's a good idea and a commendable ambition. It's a very good article but it does need a lot of work! Dr Roots (talk) 13:31, 16 July 2008 (UTC)


I think this article could be improved: There is no mention how computer security relates to computer safety. In particular, some definitions of computer security require the presence of an attacker, otherwise a random disk failure is also considered a security issue - sometimes it is, but more conventionally it would be an issue of reliability. And in a nuclear powerplant or aircraft it would be an issue of computer saftey. It would be a good idea if this article expands on these differences.

Also: The claims in "This forms the foundation for a secure operating system which, if certain critical parts are designed and implemented correctly, can ensure the absolute impossibility of penetration by hostile elements" overstates the abilities of secure operating systems. Features that people nowadays expect of all useful operating systems (playing multimedia files, running networked processes) are quite hard to secure. Eliminating side channels is really quite difficult and there exist arguments that trusted applications are unavoidable (see the RAID paper "Interfacing Trusted Applications with Intrusion Detection Systems") —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:46, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

This article needs some serious reorganization. It starts out at a random point in a security discussion (vulnerabilities) and continues along a path of discussing the types of security attacks, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses. What I was expecting was an article discussing 1) What is computer security? 2) Why is it needed? 3) What are common approaches? 4) What Standards Exist? 5) What is the history of computer security? 6) What is the future?
I would take all the discussion of computer vulnerabilities, types of attacks, etc and move it to a separate article on computer vulnerabilities or shorten it and put it in the "Why it is needed" and "History" sections. An another alternative is to add an appendix on Vulnerabilities. If anyone is working on a reorganization, please let me know and I will try to help.
Glebovitz (talk) 13:44, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Hello! Just checking, have you already looked at the Merger proposal section below? Some plans have been already discussed there. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 00:52, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Early history of security by design[edit]

This section currently cites Multics as the first system designed to be secure from the start. I seriously wonder what the IBM people would say about this. Dr Roots (talk) 13:32, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

MBTA vs. Anderson[edit]

I would appreciate if anyone could lend a hand in fleshing out the MBTA vs. Anderson case. Madcoverboy (talk) 18:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


can someone edit the articale to make it less tied to jsut the USA and give it a more global perspective? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Any sources you'd recommend that would provide this perspective? --Pnm (talk) 16:31, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
You would have quite a lot of easy pickings if you look at the history, like early Afghanistani viruses, the Bulgarian virus writers, the duplication of VAX motherboards in Russia, the Korean, and Chinese cyberwars, the picture frames that came infected with malware in the ROMS. If you start searching, you can find a lot of information. Many of these very pages are here on wikipedia :Pbbbbbt
The Brain Virus:
Dark Avenger that wrote viruses from Balgaira...
Russian VAX copies
The Korean Cyberwar
Chinese Cyberwars:
VIruses from Digital Photoframes: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:51, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

The mathness[edit]

The otherwise very well formulated introduction has a quirky stmt:

For this reason, computer security is often more technical and mathematical than some computer science fields.[citation needed]

OK, so maybe the stmt needs citations, but foremost it needs clarification: some computer fields, does that regards the technology, or could it also refer to usages? If the later, then certainly true, since all computer technology is immersed by maths oriented topics, although those topics could be avoided by not adressing them. In my thinking, a well performed security analysis requires a huge disproof apparatus against errors occurring, applied to each subfunctionality of an analysed functionality and also applied to the dynamic whole of all collaborating subfunctionalities. Since the subfunctionalities might very well behave erroneous, except under the strictures imposed by the execution inherent in the full functionality executing, the error disproof to be performed might be math-level complex. So the statement is very true under this interpretation, but I think this interpretation must be formulated into the sentence. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 12:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Computer Security Agency[edit]

The c.s.a[computer security agency] is a corporation that detects bugs and viruses in computer networks. It was designed to help save peoples identity and personal information. It also protects large corporations from people who wish to steal money or homework answers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:44, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

More useful is "we have provided direct support to the Department of Defense (DoD) through projects designed to improve the security of networks. "

Computer security policy[edit]

Hi! I recently added a policy section to the article (and some info on the Kill switch bill.) I think this section needs to be expanded and include all important legislative and regulatory efforts related to computer security. Anybody want to discuss this? Anybody want to help? Lemme know! Thanks! P@ddington (talk) 17:25, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi P@ddington! I would like to add a small section on Canadian legislation related to computer/cyber security. Will follow the style used in previous sections. --JRPolicy (talk) 18:06, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Web browser flaw secretly bares all[edit]

This contains information that should be included in this wiki article. Question is where should it be inserted - thanks for any suggestions or actions. Ottawahitech (talk) 20:54, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

That's more of a privacy issue than a security issue. Knowledge of whether you have visited a competitor's website will not help anyone compromise your machine. Nothing you do online is 'secret', so you shouldn't be surprised - lots of people have access to records of every site you visit. (Only the content is encrypted on https sites, not the fact that you visited. On http sites, both can become public knowledge.) --Nigelj (talk) 15:25, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

End User Protection Flawed feedback[edit]

For those antivirus, malware, trojan and other os similar protection, i write this. The industry even after many decades hasn't invested into unpacking installers and archives. It was done corrctly on 1980s computer, but took a huge step back for computer os's since then and still. While some do do some simple checking into archives and zip type compressed installers. No protector software as yet today is capable of looking into the many other archive types and installers that exists and have been.

Avira, F-Prot, McAffee and Norton have been able to look into zip and jar files since the operating systems has provided support. McAffee in its pre windows days was able to scan both arc and arj files.

How can a protection software protect a pc if it relies only to protect at instance of install. Makes a mokery of scanning a pc for what they protect against. If they knew how to do this, then would find more unwanted virial, malware, trojan and others. And less false positives using a database and unpackers to look inside each and every archive and installer during a system scan.

Microsoft Security Essentials and ESET provide web scanning services.

Or put another way why bother with system scanning of drives if there is no protection. And the resources used for active protection is so high because of this. If these softwares could do a system drive scanning and find nearly if not all, then that would be what those software were intended to protect before executing or opening the container with data in them.

That would have been the intent, but a system scan is needed when ever the virus definitions are updated. Security software sends software deemed to be malitious back to the companies that write the security software, and its updated.

Of course by doing this would make those archives and installers with unwanted data in them easier to identify. Since they will make then unpack-able to sandboxes that the protectors use. By subterfuge or passwording them. I would say that any archive that is like that if unpacking archives and installers ever does happen for these software. For them to be treated as unwanted. This will not only protect the pc but could help make those who put in the bad code to think twice.

However, some viruses use a unpacking technique that everyone uses thousands of times a day, the JPEG de-compressor. Would you forgo a picture based World Wide Web, just for security?

The way i protect myself now, is if i cannot unpack any archive or installer i zero erase it many times. I do have some tools to unpack that every day users would not have. Yet do not unpack tools for all so don't try or install many new softwares because of this. If only the protection softwares were developed corrctly in the first place, to protect all the data and able to check all data fully unpacked.

You only have to stop the execution of programs to stop malware, if it cannot execute, then it cannot infect or copy itself. If you find malware, be sure that your security software reports it to the company who wrote it, one of the best mechanisms of security is early detection.
Keep studying, you are making progress.

Unsigned comment moved from article to talk page. --Shirt58 (talk) 10:56, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

"Safety and Reliability"[edit]

Someone wrote " ... it would be an issue of reliability." (second sentence under "Problems"). "Security" is "Safety and Reliability" , and it was long before the former term became popular. The only example of a time when the computer doesn't need to be secured to protect data, is when the computer has no code. Hardware today is made from "information" and "art". To be real, the idea that "computer" security differs from "information security" lacks merit.

I guess "Integrity, Confidentiality and Availability" are a definition for "Information Security". They're attributes of an "information system" and these, arguably, have been around for centuries. Information gave rise to crypto. It gave us the the first fly-by-wire airplane. Hardware computers were too bulky to fly.

If a microcontroller isn't a computer because it doesn't have peripherals, this highlights the reason fly-by-wire airplanes were "information ssytems". Airborne microcontroller-based parts connect lots of peripherals.

Avionics live in an environment that's remarkably challenging. Software development today is still playing catch-up to what airborne software developers were doing in the 1980s. Agile isn't new; it's out of the closet. Now that we've got a name to call it, we can say we used it and the software can be certified. Some code is designed using top-down strategies and some uses bottom-up. That appears to be change is just better understanding of what we do, combined with a greater skill communicating what we do.

Whether the "computer" or the "information" is what should be secured is a matter of risk management. From the practical standpoint, they can't be separated. From a very real standpoint, anyone who thinks they differ needs to learn more about aviation. Aviation has also been dealing with black market hardware for decades. Today's black market parts include questionable functionality. And what hardware -- a computer -- is made from is information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:13, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

"References" moved to talk[edit]

I moved this list of "references" here since it is clearly not being maintained. If there are any real references in here, please restore them as inline citations where it's clear that they do indeed verify something. --Ronz (talk) 20:57, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

issues with "Legal issues and global regulation"[edit]

In some sentences, it seems like there are some words missing, such as: "Due to some of the European's antivirus firms (e.g. BullGuard, F-Secure, Frisk, Panda, Sophos, TG Soft, ...) to solve this problem, the European Commission has decided to establish the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3)."

Towards the end, it starts to look like some kind of job advertisement (talking directly to the reader, etc.). The source (29 - actually seems to be just that, any reason why it should be here? The text looks like it was pasted directly from the source, regardless of how it fits or doesn't fit the article. (can't find which license the source (30 - uses either?, might be important) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:20, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

RFC 4949[edit]

The RFC 4949 defined computer security (COMPUSEC)as

     1. (I) Measures to implement and assure security services in a
     computer system, particularly those that assure access control
     Usage: Usually refers to internal controls (functions, features,
     and technical characteristics) that are implemented in software
     (especially in operating systems); sometimes refers to internal
     controls implemented in hardware; rarely used to refer to external

THEN computer security isn´t "cybersecurity" ... "cybersecurity" is information security (INFOSEC)

     (N) Measures that implement and assure security services in
     information systems, including in computer systems (see: COMPUSEC)
     and in communication systems (see: COMSEC).  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 10 January 2014 (UTC) 

Merge proposal[edit]

I propose that Cyber security and countermeasure be merged into Computer security. I think that the content in the Cyber security article can easily be explained in the context of Computer security. Since so many computers are connected to the Internet, I don't think we can easily distinguish from an Internet-based attack that targets information on a computer from someone attacking the computer locally, to access that same information. I came to this conclusion when reading the Computer security article and seeing that someone had already referenced cybersecurity as another name for computer security.Timtempleton (talk) 19:12, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Both of these articles are awash in headings of various levels so I can see how they could be merged. Most desperate here is a need to go through and figure out how to make a usable WP:SUMMARY article on computer and network security. If merging is the first step towards that, so be it. ~KvnG 12:38, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
I also agree that merging these two articles is the way to go. Maybe we could briefly discuss the actual merging plan first, regarding the new layout and what goes where etc.? — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 00:42, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
I've been reading Wikipedia to try to get my arms around the multiple articles with redundant copy in the area of computing security. It's worse than I thought. But before getting into that, I've also had a chance to think about this a bit more after making the merge proposal. One argument against my own proposed merge is that cyber security includes the issue of Internet-enabled smart phone vulnerabilities, while the name computer security only works in this context if you make the assumption that a smart phone is technically also a computer. That has to be addressed by the verbiage. But going back to the bigger issue, it's a challenge that there are articles about mobile security, computer security, network security, cyber security, cyber security and countermeasure, cloud security, vulnerability (computing) and a host of other areas that aren't cohesively or thematically linked. I'm cataloging the relevant articles in a spreadsheet, and the more I find, the more I agree that we need to take a shot at coming up with a grand unifying theme to make it all work. My thought process, which I'd love feedback on, is to split this into granular subjects and then find ways to link and coalesce them into greater categories. One option is to have articles based on the different computer network components (access devices, transmission devices, data storage devices, etc.), and then break down the access devices further into the different types (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.), and discuss the vulnerabilities for each as part of their articles. Another dimension is thinking of what feature actually causes the vulnerability. It could be a flaw in the operating system, social engineering, or something else. Items that are significant enough would have their own article, but then we'd work in the unifying direction - small to large. Part of this solution could include updating the computer security template, so article readers can see how things all fit together at a glance. So step 1 - catalog all the security articles that are all over the place, step 2 - find the lowest common denominator themes and, step 3, build from small to large. Thoughts?Timtempleton (talk) 00:14, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Sounds great to me! There are currently numerous articles, but on the other side the whole matter is simply too large to fit into a single article. Your plan sounds awesome, so we'll be able to get a big picture of the current articles; then we go and extract what they all have in common into an "umbrella" Computer security article, while "offloading" specific stuff to separate articles and providing pointers in form of summaries with {{main}} links. Just as you noted above, mobile and wireless devices security is a whole world of its own, for example; web applications are another world, and so on. Thoughts? — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 01:58, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
It's a plan. I have to head to Vegas this week for Interop, and then taxes come up, but at some point I'll be able to make a good starting article list and see what we can do to get this going. I may use my sandbox for a staging area for the different articles that I can find.Timtempleton (talk) 07:02, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Just take your time, there's no hurry. Have some fun in Vegas! :) — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 07:10, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
I'll be interested to see what you come up with. I have added a hyperlink to your list above and deleted cyber security because it is a redirect to this article.
It is my experience that incremental improvements to existing articles are the best way to work on the encyclopedia. Incremental improvements certainly don't have to be mild. Having a big picture or roadmap sounds like a good idea and I have been down that road myself. What I've found is that you can spend a lot of time on a plan and then quickly find that the plan doesn't work or another editor pokes a pin in it once you go to implement it.
So I advise that you put your time into doing the proposed merge. Once that is done, the next step will likely be clear. ~KvnG 05:59, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Good point. Too detailed plans usually remain just that – plans. Though, a rough sketch can't hurt, and that's what I had in mind. Hope you agree. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 06:43, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
No, it can't hurt. ~KvnG 15:35, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

While working on the previously discussed merge, I thought as an interim step it would be useful to update and insert the Computer security template. I wanted to show everyone the different computer security articles that exist, which may not be synched or otherwise organized into a cohesive framework. This illustrates the issue the merge is intended to solve, and also gives us a visual roadmap with which to think conceptually about what's duplicated and what's missing, from every article.Timtempleton (talk) 23:27, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

That's an excellent place to start. Nice work. I'll put this template on my watchlist. ~KvnG 13:11, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

I respectfully disagree. I think we are making a great mistake by merging these terms; they should not be merged. Cybersecurity, countermeasures, and computer security are three different things. While they overlap, they are still distinct and independent from one another. Computer security is simply part of cybersecurity. While computer security focuses on the computers only, cybersecurity encompasses the enterprise, the individuals, data, infrastructure, and the way data is being processed in transit and at rest. And there are a lot of security measures we put in place to ensure cybersecurity and computer security. We need to separate the three terms please. Sam M. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cybersecurity101 (talkcontribs) 17:49, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Merge complete[edit]

Merge complete. Everything in the article pertains to computer security. If cybersecurity can be differentiated sufficiently from computer security, then a new article on it is called for. I think one should start by explaining how cybersecurity is different than computer security. As far as I can tell, they are synonyms. The Transhumanist 03:50, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Long list of external links[edit]

Today, someome has unilaterally decided to remove whole sections of this article based on their own limited perception and opinion. Should this happen? Should such a self-opinionated person have the tright to just chop and change like that, when it is clear their knowledge is patchy at best?

I have reverted. Can the article be protected unless this is at least discussed? Can that person be monitored in case the butcher other articles too? Colletively decisions work better than the arrogance of individuals who are obviously not entrenched in the subejct itself.

This is a farcical approach to editing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:57, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Cybercrime, Computer Security, downloading tunes, and breaking into server-rooms are completely different; perhaps it would be a good move to separate some of the issues, enabling less-tech-savvy readers to get relevant info quickly rather than reading a 10-page article..... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Hello, Please assume good faith and act civil towards other editors and avoid personal attacks. You do not know the perceptions, opinions and/or knowledge of other editors and the article was not 'raped', so if we can both WP:AGF the conversation can take a more pleasant tone from here on out.
I assume you're specifically referring to the Bold pruning of external links from the EL section. If you're instead referring to removing external links from the body of the article or removing See Also entries already linked in the body of the article, I can address those edits as well.
I'd like to point you to the section Wikipedia:External links, where you'll find more information about what makes a good External Link and what doesn't. From WP:EL: "Some external links are welcome..., but it is not Wikipedia's purpose to include a lengthy or comprehensive list of external links related to each topic. No page should be linked from a Wikipedia article unless its inclusion is justifiable according to this guideline and common sense. The burden of providing this justification is on the person who wants to include an external link". You'll also note ELPoints #3 says "Links in the "External links" section should be kept to a minimum".
Specifically, for this article, while checking patrolling the EL section, I noticed the large number of links (16), including a couple dead links. The good news is that there is already link to an external directory (DMOZ). I opted to boldly remove 15 of the 16 (including the 2 dead links), leaving the DMOZ link. As I mentioned in the edit summary, editors wishing to add external links should consider placing them inside the DMOZ directory. I placed the NoMoreLinks, which also contains the content guideline for EL and DMOZ info.
If you'd like to work towards consensus on what external links should remain while still meeting the "kept to a minimum" standard, we can start that process now. My justification for keeping the DMOZ link is it allows for unlimited external links to be available via that link and is permitted via WP:ELMAYBE #3. For the deadlinks, "Links to dead URLs in a list of external links are of no use to Wikipedia articles" WP:ELDEAD.
What links would you like to keep and what is the justification for that link remaining in EL? Thanks, Stesmo (talk) 10:04, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
No mate, you have it the wrong way around. What links would YOU like to removed and what is the justification for that link being removed? You are the one jumping into this page and deleting whole swathes of information. YOU are therefore the one who should justify your extreme edits in detail. There are some excellent appropriate links there, but I am not playing the role of link salesman for any of them, just to put the veneer of respectability on what was ill conceived mass cull. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Ah. I've explained and justified the removal in the edit summary and in this conversation. I've given links to the guidelines, even quoted relevant bits. This is one of those bits from WP:EL: "The burden of providing this justification is on the person who wants to include an external link".
You mention that there are some excellent and appropriate links. I'm inferring that means you see that there are some there that aren't excellent or appropriate. Perhaps we can agree that some of those links can be removed while we work towards consensus. Obviously the dead links can be removed... Which of other 13 links aren't excellent or appropriate?
Thanks, Stesmo (talk) 18:51, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
(I agree with the removal. Looks like the article has attracted a great deal of spam since my last cleanup.[1])
The burden is on inclusion, so which links are excellent? Specifically, which links are offer detailed, relevant, and new information on the general topic of computer security that cannot be incorporated into this article? --Ronz (talk) 22:07, 6 November 2014 (UTC)