The Necessity Of Computer Security

When the first electronic computers emerged from university and military
laboratories in the late 1940s and early 1950s, visionaries proclaimed them the
harbingers of a second industrial revolution that would transform business,
government and industry. But few laymen, even if they were aware of the
machines, could see the connection. Experts too, were sceptical. Not only were
computers huge, expensive, one-of-a-kind devices designed for performing
abstruse scientific and military calculations, such as cracking codes and
calculations missile trajectories, they were also extremely difficult to handle.

Now, it is clear that computers are not only here to stay, but they have a
profound effect on society as well. As John McCarthy, Professor of Computer
Science at Stanford University, speculated in 1966: "The computer gives signs of
becoming the contemporary counterpart of the steam engine that brought on the
industrial revolution - one that is still gathering momentum and whose true
nature had yet to be seen."

Today\'s applications of computers are vast. They are used to run ordinary
household appliances such as televisions and microwaves, to being tools in the
workplaces through word processing, spreadsheets, and graphics software, to
running monumental tasks such as being the heart and soul of the nations tax
processing department, and managing the project timetables of the Space Shuttle.
It is obvious that the computer is now and always will be inexorably linked to
our lives, and we have no choice but to accept this technology and learn how to
harness its total potential.

With any progressing technology, an unauthorized application can almost be
found for it. A computer could and has been used for theft and fraud - for
example, as a database and manager of illegal activities such as drug
trafficking and pornography. However, we must not just consider the harmful
applications of the computer, but also take into account the good that they have

When society embraced the computer technology, we have to treat this as an
extension of what we already have at hand. This means that some problems that
we had before the computer era may also arise now, in the form where computers
are an accessory to a crime.

One of the problems that society has faced ever since the dawn of
civilization is privacy. The issue of privacy on the Internet has risen many
arguments for and against having it. The issue of privacy has gotten to the
point where the government of the United States has placed a bill promoting a
single chip to encrypt all private material on the Internet.

Why is privacy so important? Hiding confidential material from intruders
does not necessarily mean that what we keep secret it illegal. Since ancient
times, people have trusted couriers to carry their messages. We seal out
messages in a envelope when sending mail through the postal service. Using
computer and encrypting programs to transfer electronic messages securely is not
different from sending a letter the old-fashioned way. This paper will examine
the modern methods of encrypting messages and analyse why Phil Zimmerman created
an extremely powerful civilian encipherment program, called the PGP, for "Pretty
Good Privacy." In particular, by focusing on cryptography, which was originally
intended for military use, this paper will examine just how easy it is to
conclude why giving civilians a military-grade encrypting program such as the
PGP may be dangerous to national security. Therefore, with any type of new
technology, this paper will argue that the application of cryptography for
civilian purposes is not just a right, but is also a necessity.

Increasingly in today\'s era of computer technology, not only banks but also
businesses and government agencies are turning to encryption. Computer security
experts consider it best and most practical way to protect computer data from
unauthorized disclosure when transmitted and even when stored on a disk, tape,
of the magnetic strip of a credit card.

Two encryption systems have led the way in the modern era. One is the
single-key system, in which data is both encrypted and decrypted with the same
key, a sequence of eight numbers, each between 0 and 127. The other is a 2-key
system; in this approach to cryptography, a pair of mathematically complementary
keys, each containing as many as 200 digits, are used for encryptions and
decryption. In contrast with ciphers of earlier generations, where security
depended in part on concealing the algorithm, confidentiality of a computer
encrypted message hinges solely on the secrecy of the keys. Each system is
thought to encrypt a message so inscrutably that the step-by-step mathematical
algorithms can be made public without compromising security.