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CISSP Training Kit by David R. Miller

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Computer hardware and operating systems

Because most of the valuable information assets that need to be protected exist on computer systems, the computer hardware and the basic software must support the protection of those information assets. This chapter focuses on the computer hardware, the low-level software that initially boots the computer system, and the computer’s operating system that supports higher-level drivers and provides the platform for applications and human interaction. Software development security is covered in Chapter 9.

Figure 5-1 presents an overview of this relationship.

This figure shows the hierarchical relationship among the computer hardware, software, and user by showing a stack of layers. The lowest layer, hardware: bare metal, is the most trusted layer. In ascending order are the firmware: bootstrap operating system; firmware: low-level device drivers; operating system: kernel mode, including the kernel, kernel components, and kernel mode device drivers; operating system: user mode, including the user mode device drivers; applications: user mode; and, at the top, user, the least trusted layer.

Figure 5-1. Architecture of a computer system, operating ...

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