Computer Network Security

Malware is software that is intentionally malicious, in the sense that it is designed to do damage or break the security of a system. Malware comes in many familiar varieties, including viruses, worms, and Trojans.

a. Has your computer ever been infected with malware? If so, what did the malware do and how did you get rid of the problem? If not, why have you been so lucky?

b. In the past, most malware was designed to annoy users. Today, it is often claimed that most malware is written for profit. How could malware possibly be profitable?

In the movie Office Space [223], software developers attempt to modify company software so that for each financial transaction, any leftover fraction of a cent goes to the developers, instead of going to the company. The idea is that for any particular transaction, nobody will notice the missing fraction of a cent, but over time the developers will accumulate a large sum of money. This type of attack is sometimes known as a salami attack.

a. Find a real-world example of a salami attack.

b. In the movie, the salami attack fails. Why?

Large and complex software systems invariably have a large number of bugs.

a. For honest users, such as Alice and Bob, buggy software is certainly annoying but why is it a security issue?

b. Why does Trudy love buggy software?

c. In general terms, how might Trudy use bugs in software to break the security of a system?


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