iGCSE Computer Science - Distance Learning
Protecting Data with Software
Utility software is a smaller sub type of system software which is used to manage and protect the data on a system. There are a number of different types of utility program, some of which are automatically installed along with your operating system as they are vital to maintaining the smooth running of the computer.
Security software includes applications like anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewalls. All security software on the computer system is aimed at protecting the data from malicious attacks and unauthorised access.
Several different specific utility programs are responsible for the security of the data within our computer systems.
Firewalls allow us to prevent unauthorised access into the system from outside the network. They do this by closing the entry points into our networks known as ports. Support acts a little bit like and numbered doorway into the network and the firewall can keep these doors locked unless the user or network manager specifically requests that the door is left open to network traffic. Many malicious attacks will often use doors (or ports) that are kept locked by the firewall therefore maintaining a certain level of protection.
Antivirus scans the secondary storage of the computer system using a database of known virus programs and looking for patterns similar in the installed programs across the computer system. If a pattern is found that match is a potential threat, then the antivirus program will place that program into a quarantine folder and alert the user. It is important that the antivirus does not simply delete the program as it may have made a mistake and this extra step allows the human override the antivirus program if needed.
Other types of anti-malware include antispyware which works in a similar way to antivirus looking for patterns that match programs like key loggers and other programs that threaten our personal data security.
There are other ways that we are able to protect our data in addition to simply using utility software and we will look at these in more detail in the security section later on in the course.
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