Protecting Software Systems

Protecting Software Systems


  • A firewall is a network security system that observes and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.
  • Acts as a barrier between a trusted internal network and untrusted external networks, such as the internet.
  • The firewall filters network traffic based on an organisation’s previously established security policies.
  • Firewalls can be either hardware or software-based.
  • A firewall can block unauthorized access to a system but can also provide a range of other services, like hiding the system from public view, or providing VPNs for secure remote access.

Antivirus Software

  • Antivirus software helps protect a computer system against viruses, worms, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other forms of malicious or unwanted software.
  • Antivirus software works by scanning files or directories for harmful software and helps to deter threats.
  • Some versions can detect potentially harmful software behaviour.
  • Most antivirus software acts as a background process, checking systems while they’re idle to avoid impacting performance.
  • It’s important to regularly update antivirus software to protect against the most recent threats.

Patch Management

  • Patch management is the process of handling updates of software applications to ensure operating systems and applications stay up to-date.
  • Patching can fix bugs, close vulnerabilities, and provide enhanced features.
  • Patches can be either automatic or manual depending on the system set up.
  • Ignoring patches can leave a system vulnerable to attacks that take advantage of known issues.

User Access Controls

  • User access controls determine who can access what within a network.
  • Using strong passwords helps to protect accounts from unauthorised access.
  • A good practice is to limit user permissions to only what they need to perform their roles.
  • User access involves authentication (through passwords or biometrics) and authorisation (what level of access an authenticated user has).
  • Regular audits can ensure that access is appropriately allocated.

Data Backups

  • Data backups are crucial for protecting data against loss from threats like ransomware or physical damage to storage media.
  • Backups should be encrypted and stored in a physically separate location to the original data.
  • Regular testing of backups is important to ensure they can be successfully restored if needed.
  • A good backup strategy will typically involve making regular, frequent backups and retaining several previous versions of data.