Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Hack? Everyone Should Be!

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Hack? Everyone Should Be!

Article excerpt

Laverna Saunders, Ed.D., is the dean of library, instructional, and learning support at Salem State College. Send news and article queries to her there: 352 Lafayette St. Salem, MA 07970-5353 saunders@noblenet.org

Most of us have never encountered a hacker, but ever since I saw the movie War Games (1983), I have wondered about the security of the computer systems that I work on. Even more, I sometimes fret about safety of the big databases used by the government, credit reporting agencies, and banks. If I paid much attention to the media, I would probably be paranoid about conducting any business using computers or the Internet.

In our feature article, J. R. Charnetski covers several designs for Internet/intranet firewalls. This article challenged me in several ways. I am not technical enough to tell a hub from a router unless the case is labeled. I have a key to the IDF closet, but I know that I have no business touching anything besides the light switch. Terms like "bastion host" make my eyes glaze over. Heretofore I haven't needed to know all of the technical details because the staff in library systems and information technology are experts and I trust them. I don't like feeling stupid, however, and am the first to admit that I really should know more than I do.

Inspired and motivated, I searched the term "firewall" on one of the full-text databases to which my library subscribes. I found quite a number of articles from computer trade journals and printed off a few to read later at home. …

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