Protection and Security in Operating System

Computer ScienceMCAOperating System

Protection and security requires that computer resources such as CPU, softwares, memory etc. are protected. This extends to the operating system as well as the data in the system. This can be done by ensuring integrity, confidentiality and availability in the operating system. The system must be protect against unauthorized access, viruses, worms etc.

Threats to Protection and Security

A threat is a program that is malicious in nature and leads to harmful effects for the system. Some of the common threats that occur in a system are −


Viruses are generally small snippets of code embedded in a system. They are very dangerous and can corrupt files, destroy data, crash systems etc. They can also spread further by replicating themselves as required.

Trojan Horse

A trojan horse can secretly access the login details of a system. Then a malicious user can use these to enter the system as a harmless being and wreak havoc.

Trap Door

A trap door is a security breach that may be present in a system without the knowledge of the users. It can be exploited to harm the data or files in a system by malicious people.


A worm can destroy a system by using its resources to extreme levels. It can generate multiple copies which claim all the resources and don't allow any other processes to access them. A worm can shut down a whole network in this way.

Denial of Service

These type of attacks do not allow the legitimate users to access a system. It overwhelms the system with requests so it is overwhelmed and cannot work properly for other user.

Protection and Security Methods

The different methods that may provide protect and security for different computer systems are −


This deals with identifying each user in the system and making sure they are who they claim to be. The operating system makes sure that all the users are authenticated before they access the system. The different ways to make sure that the users are authentic are:

  • Username/ Password

    Each user has a distinct username and password combination and they need to enter it correctly before they can access the system.

  • User Key/ User Card

    The users need to punch a card into the card slot or use they individual key on a keypad to access the system.

  • User Attribute Identification

    Different user attribute identifications that can be used are fingerprint, eye retina etc. These are unique for each user and are compared with the existing samples in the database. The user can only access the system if there is a match.

One Time Password

These passwords provide a lot of security for authentication purposes. A one time password can be generated exclusively for a login every time a user wants to enter the system. It cannot be used more than once. The various ways a one time password can be implemented are −

  • Random Numbers

    The system can ask for numbers that correspond to alphabets that are pre arranged. This combination can be changed each time a login is required.

  • Secret Key

    A hardware device can create a secret key related to the user id for login. This key can change each time.

Updated on 31-Jan-2020 06:51:53