Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) caused by others. Beneficiaries (technically referents) of security may be of persons and social groups, objects and institutions, ecosystems or any other entity or phenomenon vulnerable to unwanted change.
Security mostly refers to protection from hostile forces, but it has a wide range of other senses: for example, as the absence of harm (e.g. freedom from want); as the presence of an essential good (e.g. food security); as resilience against potential damage or harm (e.g. secure foundations); as secrecy (e.g. a secure telephone line); as containment (e.g. a secure room or cell); and as a state of mind (e.g. emotional security).
The word 'secure' entered the English language in the 16th century. It is derived from Latin securus, meaning freedom from anxiety: se (without) + cura (care, anxiety).
Contexts of security
The table shows some of the main domains where security concerns are prominent.
- Airport security
- Corporate security
- Food security
- Environmental security
- Home security
- Infrastructure security
- Physical security
- Port security/Supply chain security
- Security bag
- Security print
- Border security
- Security seal
- Communications security
- Computer security
- Internet security
- Application security
- Data security
- Digital security
- Information security
- Network security
- Endpoint security
Certain concepts recur throughout different fields of security:
- Access control - the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource.
- Authorization - the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources related to information security and computer security in general and to access control in particular.
- Countermeasure - a means of preventing an act or system from having its intended effect.
- Defense in depth - a school of thought holding that a wider range of security measures will enhance security.
- Exploit (noun) - a means of capitalizing on a vulnerability in a security system (usually a cyber-security system).
- Identity management - enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.
- Risk - a possible event which could lead to damage, harm, or loss.
- Security management - identification of an organization's assets (including people, buildings, machines, systems and information assets), followed by the development, documentation, and implementation of policies and procedures for protecting these assets.
- Threat - a potential source of harm.
- Vulnerability - the degree to which something may be changed (usually in an unwanted manner) by external forces.
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