Vulnerabilities of information technologies

Impact on the Information Society
  • Klaus Brunnstein
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 161)


Faster than any technology before, Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) continue to change economies and societies in ways affecting many aspects of human life. Already after a short time organisations and individuals have become so dependent upon proper functioning of highly complex and hardly understandable ICT-systems that any deviation from “normal” behaviour may have adversary, if not damaging effects. Contemporary technologies are in many cases designed and implemented without adequate provisions for safe and secure functioning. These systems can easily be attacked, even by experimenting boys at the age of puberty. e.g. by injecting viruses and worms into The Internet, which then rapidly propagates these malicious gifts (in some cases even in epidemic amounts of up to 100 million emailed worms per 24 hours) into enterprises, offices, schools and everybody’s PC. Internet communication protocols are weakly designed, and it is easy to “spoof” ones email address, to “sniff” and to intercept messages, such as transfer of electronic funds. To protect these already overly complex systems, the usual solution is to add more complexity: firewalls, antivirus software and encryption. Two types of reaction to ICT related vulnerabilities can be observed. Some users have a “don’t care” strategy, especially young people who leave a data trail of personal behaviour when surfing websites with potentially interesting economic or sociological content. Other users wish to exclude all risks and follow a strategy of “don’t use”. Both reactions are undesirable in the Information Society. Education on how to work with unsafe and insecure systems may help to protect users from undesired side-effects of ICT work.

Key words

computer crime malicious software risk analysis risk management safety security theory of economic cycles vulnerabilities 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Brunnstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty for InformaticsUniversity of HamburgGermany

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