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Modern Operating Systems by Herbert Bos and Andrew...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Modern Operating Systems by Herbert...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Page 630
SEC. 9.1
9.1.2 Attackers
Most people are pretty nice and obey the law, so why worry about security?
Because there are unfortunately a few people around who are not so nice and want
to cause trouble (possibly for their own commercial gain). In the security litera-
ture, people who are nosing around places where they have no business being are
, or sometimes
A few decades ago, crack-
ing computer systems was all about showing your friends how clever you were, but
nowadays this is no longer the only or even the most important reason to break into
a system. There are many different types of attacker with different kinds of moti-
vation: theft, hacktivism, vandalism, terrorism, cyberwarfare, espionage, spam, ex-
tortion, fraud—and occasionally the attacker still simply wants to show off, or
expose the poor security of an organization.
Attackers similarly range from not very skilled wannabe black hats, also
referred to as
, to extremely skillful crackers. They may be profes-
sionals working for criminals, governments (e.g., the police, the military, or the
secret services), or security firms—or hobbyists that do all their hacking in their
spare time.
It should be clear that trying to keep a hostile foreign government from
stealing military secrets is quite a different matter from trying to keep students
from inserting a funny message-of-the-day into the system. The amount of effort
needed for security and protection clearly depends on who the enemy is thought to
There are many ways to compromise the security of a computer system. Often
they are not sophisticated at all. For instance, many people set their PIN codes to
, or their password to ‘‘password’’—easy to remember, but not very secure.
There are also people who do the opposite. They pick very complicated passwords,
so that they cannot remember them, and have to write them down on a Post-it note
which they attach to their screen or keyboard. This way, anyone with physical ac-
cess to the machine (including the cleaning staff, secretary, and all visitors) also
has access to everything
the machine. There are many other examples, and they
include high-ranking officials losing USB sticks with sensitive information, old
hard drives with trade secrets that are not properly wiped before being dropped in
the recycling bin, and so on.
Nevertheless, some of the most important security incidents
due to sophis-
ticated cyber attacks. In this book, we are specifically interested in attacks that are
related to the operating system. In other words, we will not look at Web attacks, or
attacks on SQL databases. Instead, we focus on attacks where the operating system
is either the target of the attack or plays an important role in enforcing (or more
commonly, failing to enforce) the security policies.

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