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Chapter 16. Controlling Computer-Based Information Systems, Part II. Objectives for Chapter 16. Risks associated with electronic commerce conducted over intranets and the Internet and the control techniques used to reduce these risks

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chapter 16

Chapter 16

Controlling Computer-Based Information Systems, Part II

objectives for chapter 16
Objectives for Chapter 16
  • Risks associated with electronic commerce conducted over intranets and the Internet and the control techniques used to reduce these risks
  • Exposures that arise in connection with electronic data interchange (EDI) and how these exposures can be reduced
  • Exposures that threaten firms that rely on personal computers and the controls necessary to reduce risks in this environment
  • The principal input, processing, and output controls that are used to ensure the integrity of computer applications
slide3

Organizational Structure

Internet

& Intranet

Internet

& Intranet

Data Management

Operating System

Systems Development

Personal Computers

Systems Maintenance

EDI Trading Partners

Applications

Computer Center Security

General Control Framework for CBIS Risks

slide4

Organizational Structure

Internet

& Intranet

Internet

& Intranet

Data Management

Operating System

Systems Development

Personal Computers

Systems Maintenance

EDI Trading Partners

Applications

Computer Center Security

General Control Framework for CBIS Risks

internet and intranet risks
Internet and Intranet Risks
  • Communications is a unique aspect of the computer networks:
    • different than processing (applications) or data storage (databases)
  • Loss, destruction, and corruption of data from two main sources:
    • subversive activities, both inside or outside the firm
    • equipment failure
internet and intranet risks from subversive threats
Internet and Intranet Risks from Subversive Threats
  • These acts include:
    • unauthorized interception of a message
    • gaining unauthorized access to an organization’s network
    • a denial-of-service attack from a remote location
controlling risks from subversive threats
Controlling Risks from Subversive Threats
  • Firewalls - software and hardware that provide security by channeling all network connections through a control gateway
  • Network level firewalls
    • low cost and low security access control
    • does not explicitly authenticate outside users
    • mainly for filtering out junk or improperly routed messages
    • hackers can easily penetrate the system
  • Application level firewalls
    • a high level of customizable network security, but can be extremely expensive
    • performs sophisticated functions such as logging or user authentication
controlling risks from subversive threats9
Controlling Risks from Subversive Threats
  • Denial-of-service (DOS) attacks
    • Security software searches for connections which have been half-open for a period of time.
  • Encryption
    • Computer program transforms a clear message into a coded (cipher) text form using an algorithm.
dos attack
DOS Attack

Receiver

Sender

Step 1: SYN messages

Step 2: SYN/ACK

Step 3: ACK packet code

In a DOS Attack, the sender sends hundreds of messages, receives the

SYN/ACK packet, but does not response with an ACK packet. This leaves the

receiver with clogged transmission ports, and legitimate messages cannot be

received.

variations of dos attacks
Variations of DOS Attacks
  • Smurfing
    • by sending pings to all members in a network to respond to the victim’s spoofed IP address causes the victim’s server to be flooded
  • SYN flooding
    • never sending the final (ACK) part of the three-way handshake causes the victim to keep sending the second (SYN/ACK) part until times out
  • Ping of death
    • send an invalid packet size in the protocol packet header ‘confuses’ the operating system
controlling risks from subversive threats12
Controlling Risks from Subversive Threats
  • Encryption
    • A computer program transforms a clear message into a coded (ciphertext) form using an algorithm.
    • Encryption can be used for transmitted data and for stored data.
data encryption standard technique

Encryption

Program

Communication

System

Ciphertext

Encryption

Program

Communication

System

Ciphertext

Data Encryption Standard Technique

Key

Cleartext

Message

Cleartext

Message

Key

public and private key encryption

Message A

Ciphertext

Ciphertext

Ciphertext

Ciphertext

Message D

Message B

Message A

Message C

Public and Private Key Encryption

Message B

Message C

Message D

Multiple people

may have the public key (e.g., subordinates).

Public Key is used for

encoding messages.

Typically one person or

a small number of people

have the private key (e.g., a supervisor).

Private Key is used for

decoding messages.

slide15

Controlling Risks from Subversive Threats

  • Digital signature:electronic authentication technique that ensures that the transmitted message originated with the authorized sender and that it was not tampered with after the signature was applied
  • Digital certificate: like an electronic identification card that is used in conjunction with a public key encryption system to verify the authenticity of the message sender
slide16

Receiver's Location

Sender’s Location

Compare

Text Message

Encrypt Using

Receiver’s

Public Key

Digest

Digest

Digital

Signature

Compute

Digest of

Message

Decrypt Using

Sender’s Public

Key

Compute

Digest of

Message

Encrypted Message

with Digital

Signature Attached

Digest

Text Message

Digital

Signature

Encrypt Using Sender’s

Private Key

Decrypt

Using Receiver’s

Private Key

Digital

Signature

Digital Signature

controlling risks from subversive threats17
Controlling Risks from Subversive Threats
  • Message sequence numbering
    • sequence number used to detect missing messages
  • Message transaction log
    • listing of all incoming and outgoing messages to detect the efforts of hackers
  • Request-response technique
    • random control messages are sent from the sender to ensure messages are received
  • Call-back devices
    • receiver calls the sender back at a pre-authorized phone number before transmission is completed
controlling risks from equipment failure
Controlling Risks from Equipment Failure
  • Line errors from noise on a communications. Two techniques to detect and correct such data errors:
    • echo check - the receiver returns the message to the sender
    • parity checks - an extra bit is added onto each byte of data similar to check digits
  • Backup control for networks
    • small networks - a single workstation
    • medium networks - a network server
    • large networks - multiple servers
slide20

Organizational Structure

Internet

& Intranet

Internet

& Intranet

Data Management

Operating System

Systems Development

Personal Computers

Systems Maintenance

EDI Trading Partners

Applications

Computer Center Security

General Control Framework for CBIS Risks

electronic data interchange edi risks
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Risks
  • Authorization
    • automated and absence of human intervention
  • Access
    • need to access EDI partner’s files
  • Audit trail
    • paperless and transparent (automatic) transactions
electronic data interchange edi controls
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Controls
  • Authorization
    • use of passwords and VANs to ensure valid partner
  • Access
    • software to specify what can be accessed and at what level
  • Audit trail
    • control log records the transaction’s flow through each phase of the transaction processing
slide23

EDI

Translation

Software

EDI

Translation

Software

Communications

Software

Communications

Software

EDI System without Controls

Company B (Vendor)

Company A

Sales Order

System

Application

Software

Application

Software

Purchases

System

Direct Connection

slide24

EDI

Translation

Software

EDI

Translation

Software

Communications

Software

Communications

Software

Other

Mailbox

Other

Mailbox

EDI System with Controls

Company B (Vendor)

Company A

Application

Software

Audit trail of

transactions between

trading partners

Sales Order

System

Application

Software

Purchases

System

Transaction

Log

Transaction

Log

Software limits vendor’s (Company B) access to company A’s database

Use of VAN to enforce use of passwords and valid partners

Company

A’s mailbox

Company

B’s mailbox

VAN

slide25

Organizational Structure

Internet

& Intranet

Internet

& Intranet

Data Management

Operating System

Systems Development

Personal Computers

Systems Maintenance

EDI Trading Partners

Applications

Computer Center Security

General Control Framework for CBIS Risks

personal computer pc controls
Personal Computer (PC) Controls
  • PCs…
    • are relatively simple to use
    • are frequently controlled and used by end users
    • usually employ interactive (v. batch) data processing
    • typically run commercial software applications
    • allow users to develop their own applications
  • PCs, in contrast to servers and mainframes, have weak operating systems.
    • makes them easy to use
    • but results in minimal security and weak controls
access risks in the pc environment
Access Risks in the PC Environment
  • PCs typically weak in controlling access data files
  • Techniques to prevent theft or tampering of data:
    • data encryption - must decode even if stolen
    • disk locks - software or physical locks to prevent booting from A:\
inadequate segregation of duties
Inadequate Segregation of Duties
  • In PC environments, employees often have access to multiple applications that process incompatible transactions.
  • Controls:
    • increased supervision
    • detailed management reports
    • more frequent independent verification
pc backup controls
PC Backup Controls
  • PC end-users often fail to appreciate the importance of backup procedures until it is too late.
  • Back up mechanisms:
    • tape--high capacity (3.2gb, inexpensive)
    • CD--about 650mb (>450 floppies)
    • dual internal hard drives (high capacity)
    • dual external hard drives (>12 gb)
    • USB memory attachments (portable, >64 mb)
inadequate systems development and maintenance procedures in pcs
Inadequate Systems Development and Maintenance Procedures in PCs
  • Commercial software should be used when possible for accounting applications, and these systems should be purchased from a reputable vendor.
  • Formal software selection procedures should be practiced by firms of all sizes.
slide31

Organizational Structure

Internet

& Intranet

Internet

& Intranet

Data Management

Operating System

Systems Development

Personal Computers

Systems Maintenance

EDI Trading Partners

Applications

Computer Center Security

General Control Framework for CBIS Risks

application controls
Application Controls
  • Narrowly focused exposures within a specific system, for example:
    • accounts payable
    • cash disbursements
    • fixed asset accounting
    • payroll
    • sales order processing
    • cash receipts
    • general ledger
application controls33
Application Controls
  • Risks within specific applications
  • Can affect manual procedures (e.g., entering data) or embedded procedures
  • Convenient to look at in terms of:
    • input stage
    • processing stage
    • output stage

PROCESSING

INPUT

OUTPUT

application controls input
Application Controls Input
  • Goal of input controls - inputted data are valid, accurate, and complete
  • Source document controls
    • use prenumbered source documents
    • auditing missing source documents
  • Data coding controls
    • transcription errors
    • check digits

GIGO

application controls input35
Application Controls Input
  • Batch controls - used to reconcile the output produced by the system with the input originally entered into the system
  • Based on different types of batch totals:
    • total number of records
    • total dollar value
    • hash totals - sum of non-financial numbers
application controls input36
Application Controls Input
  • Validation controls - intended to detect errors in transaction data before the data are processed
    • field interrogation - data in individual fields; for example, missing data, data type, range
    • record interrogation - interrelationship of data in fields of a record
    • file interrogation - the correct file; for example, internal and external labels compared, version, dates
application controls input37
Application Controls Input
  • Input error correction techniques
    • immediate correction during data entry
    • error file creation
    • batch rejection
application controls input38
Application Controls Input
  • Generalized data input systems (GDIS) - centralized procedures to manage the data input for all of the organization’s TPSs
  • Five major components:
    • generalized validation module - standard validation routines common to different applications
    • validated data file
    • error file
    • error reports
    • transaction log
application controls processing
Application Controls Processing
  • Run-to-run controls - use batch figures to monitor the batch as it moves from one programmed procedure (run) to another
  • Operator intervention controls - used to limit human involvement in certain actions in order to reduce error
  • Audit trail controls - numerous logs used so that every transaction can be traced through each stage of processing from its economic source to its presentation in financial statements
application controls output
Application Controls Output
  • Goal of output controls is to ensure that system output is not lost, misdirected, or corrupted, and that privacy is not violated.
  • In the following flowchart, there are exposures at every stage.
slide43

Output

Report

Output

Report

Output

Report

Output

Report

Output Run

(Spooling)

Data

Control

Output File

Print

Run

Report

Distri-

bution

Output

Report

Bursting

Aborted

Output

End

User

Waste

File

STAGES IN THE OUTPUT PROCESS

application controls output44
Application Controls Output
  • Batch systems output: spooling creates a file as an intermediate step in the printing process that is a risk
  • Report distribution: for sensitive reports, the following are available:
    • use of secure mailboxes in which to place reports
    • require the user to sign for reports in person
    • deliver the reports to the user
application controls output45
Application Controls Output
  • End user controls: end users need to inspect reports and report any inaccurately produced reports
    • Highly sensitive reports should be shredded after their use.
  • Controlling real-time system output: the primary output threat is the interception, disruption, destruction, or corruption of the output message as it passes along the communications link