Computer Security Incident: How Prepared Are We?

Computer Security Incident: How Prepared Are We?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

A computer security incident refers to an event or situation that causes a security policy to be violated or could potentially destabilize network integrity. This can include things like unauthorized access to a system, transmission of malicious software, system damage, or data breaches.

Computer Security Incident Examples

1. Software Intrusion

A software intrusion is an example of a common computer security incident. In this scenario, an unauthorized person, usually a hacker or cyber-criminal, manipulates a system or network’s vulnerabilities to install harmful software on a device. This software might be a virus, worm, or any type of malware intended to disrupt operations, corrupt data or gain unauthorized access to system resources.

Once the harmful software is installed, it can cause various issues. For example, it can slow down performance, destabilize the system, or even render it unusable. More worryingly, this software often provides the intruder with access to sensitive data stored on the device, which might include confidential business documents, personal identification information, or financial data. Such scenarios can lead to significant losses, both monetary and reputational, for individuals and businesses alike.

2. Phishing Attack

A phishing attack is another example of a computer security incident. In a phishing attack, the user is typically targeted via a seemingly trustworthy but fraudulent email which appears to be sent by a reputable source. This deceptive email often lures the recipient into believing that there is an urgent requirement for them to disclose personal information or login credentials.

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The user, deceived by the authentic appearance of the email, provides the requested information – thereby unwittingly granting the attacker access to sensitive accounts. These accounts can be personal emails, social media profiles, or even bank accounts – this goes to show the wide-ranging impact of falling victim to a phishing attack. Such security incidents can lead to significant information leaks and financial losses.

3. Unapproved Access

An example of a computer security incident could be unauthorized access to a network or system. This situation occurs when someone gains access to a section of your network that they were not granted permission to view or alter. This person may be an outsourced service provider, a temporary employee, or even a malicious hacker who managed to bypass security protocols.

Unapproved access can manifest in various ways, such as viewing or altering confidential files, using someone else’s email account to send misleading messages, or changing system settings that disrupt normal operations. This not only compromises the integrity of the system but could also lead to sensitive information being exposed. Such a security incident can have seriously damaging implications, making it crucial to have robust protection systems in place.


Computer security incidents, whether they occur in the form of software intrusions, phishing attacks, or unapproved access, can cause significant damage. Therefore, it’s crucial for individuals and businesses to understand and implement effective protective measures to safeguard sensitive data and maintain system integrity.

Key Takeaways

  • Computer security incidents include situations like software intrusions, phishing attacks, and unapproved access, which jeopardize system integrity.
  • Software intrusions are instances where unauthorized individuals install harmful software on a device free of consent.
  • Phishing attacks involve the use of seemingly legitimate emails to trick users into revealing personal information or login credentials.
  • Unapproved access refers to unauthorized individuals gaining entrance to a secured network or system.
  • In all cases, businesses and individuals must understand the risks and implement effective protective measures to mitigate potential damage.

Related Questions

1. What are some measures to prevent software intrusions?

Some measures include using strong, unique passwords, frequently updating software to patch vulnerabilities, using a reliable security suite, and avoiding suspicious emails or websites.

2. How can one protect against phishing attacks?

Protection methods include carefully checking email sender details, not divulging sensitive information via email, using two-factor authentication, and generally remaining cautious of any unexpected or unusual requests for information.

3. What tools or methods can detect unapproved access?

Detection can be achieved by using network monitoring tools, setting up email or SMS alerts for unusual activities, and regularly auditing system and application logs for any irregularities.

4. What impact can a security incident have on a business?

Security incidents can lead to financial losses, harm a company’s reputation, disrupt business operations, and potentially result in legal penalties if sensitive customer data is compromised.

5. Are personal devices at risk of security incidents?

Yes, personal devices like laptops and smartphones are just as vulnerable to security incidents as corporate systems, especially if they’re used for work-related tasks and contain sensitive information.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional