Years ago, when most computing was done on mainframe computers, data processing centers were responsible for protection. Responsibility for security rested neither with the programmers nor the users but instead with the computing center staff itself. These centers developed expertise in security, and they implemented many protection activities in the background, without users having to be conscious of protection needs and practices.
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But beginning as far back as the 1980s, the introduction of personal computers and the general ubiquity of computing have changed the way many of us work and interact with computers. In particular, a significant amount of the responsibility for security has shifted to the user and away from the computing center. Alas, many users are unaware of (or choose to ignore) this responsibility, so they do not deal with the risks posed or do not implement simple measures to prevent or mitigate problems.
You have probably seen many common examples of this neglect in news stories. Moreover, neglect is exacerbated by the seemingly hidden nature of important data: Things we would protect if they were on paper we ignore when they are stored electronically. For example, a person who carefully locks up paper copies of company confidential records overnight may leave running a personal computer on an assistant’s or manager’s desk.