File Management and Protection/Common Threats

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Common Threats

Welcome to Unit 2: Common Threats. This unit will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills on protecting your computer system and data.

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On completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  • identify common threats to data stored in a computer system.

Why protect your system?

Your computer system holds all your valuable information. Without the data on the system a business cannot make money, provide you (and maybe lots of other people) with a job, YOU cannot complete a project, or YOU might lose your favourite game.

Why protect your data?

Data is the life blood of a business. It is generally the greatest asset of the business, but disasters can happen and data can be threatened or destroyed. Data must also be correct and useful to the business (it must have integrity).

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Please note: the following tutorial will open in a new window/tab. When you have finished the tutorial, simply close the window/tab and you'll return to this page.
  • Complete this online tutorial on Computer safety and maintenance. You may have already completed this tutorial in Computer Basics, but please focus again on pages 5-9 as an introduction to this unit.

Protect your data
What are the most common threats to your computer system and your data?


A software virus is a parasitic program written intentionally to alter the way your computer operates without your permission or knowledge. A virus attaches copies of itself to other files such as program files or documents and is inactive until you run an infected program or open an infected document. When activated, a virus may damage or delete files, cause erratic system behaviour, display messages or even erase your hard disk.

A virus may spread through email and instant messenger attachments, through infected files on floppy disks or CD-ROMs, or by exploiting a security flaw in Microsoft Windows.

How can I protect my system and data?

A firewall is a combination of hardware and software that provides a security system to prevent unauthorised access from other Internet or Intranet users to your computer. A firewall prevents direct communication between the two computers by routing communication through a proxy server outside of the network. The proxy server determines whether it is safe to let a file pass through to your computer.