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Web Security, Privacy & Commerce, 2nd Edition by Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Protecting Computer Hardware

Physically protecting a computer presents many of the same problems that arise when protecting typewriters, jewelry, and file cabinets. As with a typewriter, an office computer is something that many people inside the office need to access on an ongoing basis. As with jewelry, computers are valuable and generally easy for a thief to sell. But the real danger in having a computer stolen isn’t the loss of the system’s hardware but the loss of the data that was stored on the computer’s disks. As with legal files and financial records, if you don’t have a backup—or if the backup is stolen or destroyed along with the computer—the data you have lost may well be irreplaceable. Even if you do have a backup, you will still need to spend valuable time setting up a replacement system. Finally, there is always the chance that the stolen information itself, or even the mere fact that information was stolen, will be used against you.

Your computers are among the most expensive possessions in your home or office; they are also the pieces of equipment that you can least afford to lose.[145]

To make matters worse, computers and computer media are by far the most temperamental objects in today’s homes and offices. Few people worry that their television sets will be damaged if they’re turned on during a lightning storm, but a computer’s power supply can be blown out simply by leaving the machine plugged into the wall if lightning strikes nearby. Even if the power surge ...

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