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Information Security Assignment Sample

Value: 15%
Due Date: 23-Apr-2021
Return Date: 18-May-2021
Length: 1000-1500 words
Group Assessment: No

Submission method options: Alternative submission method


This assessment relates to Topics 1 - 6 and consists of two tasks as follows:

Task 1 : Scenario Analysis (44 Marks)

1. Identify one real-life cybersecurity breach that may have occurred in the last 2 Years. Using the vulnerability-threat-control paradigm, discuss the breach (16 Marks).

Tip: You may use any one breach from the following link for assignment help.

2. Discuss the difference between cross site scripting (XSS) attack and cross site Request forgery (XSRF). Further, explain with justification, which attack is easier to defend against (16 Marks).

3. What is buffer overflow? Studies online (e.g. statcounter ) suggest Microsoft Windows has over 70% of the OS market share. For this reason, identify and discuss a feature in Microsoft Windows that prevents attackers from using buffer overflows to execute malware (12 marks).

Task 2 : Short Answer Questions (16 Marks)

1. Discuss the notion of "security through obscurity" and its implication on modern day computer security (8 marks).

2. Discuss at least two security advantages of a host running virtualisation (8 marks).



This assessment task will assess the following learning outcome/s:

• be able to justify security goals and the importance of maintaining the secure computing environment against digital threats.

• be able to examine malicious activities that may affect the security of a computer Program and justify the choice of various controls to mitigate threats.

• be able to compare and contrast the security mechanisms of a trusted operating system with those used in a general purpose operating system.

• be able to compare and contrast foundational security policies and models thatdeal with integrity and confidentiality.


This task also contributes to the assessment of the following CSU Graduate Learning

• Academic Literacy and Numeracy (Knowledge) - Charles Sturt Graduates understand the use and structure of appropriate language in written, oral, visual, mathematical, and multi-modal communication.

• Academic Literacy and Numeracy (Skill) - Charles Sturt Graduates demonstrate the literacy and numeracy skills necessary to understand and interpret information and communicate effectively according to the context.

• Academic Literacy and Numeracy (Application) - Charles Sturt Graduates consider the context, purpose, and audience when gathering, interpreting, constructing, and presenting information.


Task 1

1. Identify one real-life cyber security breach that may have occurred in the last 2 years. Using the vulnerability-threat-control paradigm, discuss the breach

The world has been witnessing various cases of security breaches since the last decade. One major breach of the year 2019 was reported with regards to Facebook and its loss of confidential private data belonging to over 533 social media users. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg could not provide the committed privacy and confidentiality to its millions of loyal users. Vulnerable data like the name, location data, phone number, emails, and other biological data were leaked. The investigators further found that the privacy controls security protocols implemented in this program were weak and had loopholes. As a result data of individuals from over 106 varied nations and 32million data records related to the US was the victim of a real security breach (Jackson, Vanteeva & Fearon, 2019, p. 1277). Serious doubts and questions were raised since Facebook conserved important data like emails and data of birth users, Serious doubts came as Facebook asked all its users to make a password reset be done with urgency.

The vulnerability Threat control paradigm is referred to analyze whether this real-life data breach case fulfills the requirements of computer security (Tamrin, Norman & Hamid, 2017, p. 131). CIA triad comprising of confidentiality, integrity and availability is considered as basic needs of computer security which Facebook failed to fulfill. Confidentiality was lost since user authorization was not there and still their data got leaked. Authorised Facebook users were deceived and were manipulated and hence integrity has been filed. The users were not safeguarded by the security system applied by Facebook and hence their information was not in their hands. This breaks the availability dimension of the CIA triad as well. It can hence be considered that the Facebook data breach incident has failed to provide privacy and security to the users.

2. Discuss the difference between cross site scripting (XSS) attack and cross site request forgery (XSRF). Further, explain with justification, which attack is easier to defend against

XSS or cross-site scripting attack is a web application-centric incidence of a security breach where data or content is vulnerable. Cybercriminal often follows the web programs which the client or users are using. Scripts especially JavaScript is induced in such web pages at the code end (Rodri?guez Germa?n E, Torres, Flores & Benavides, 2020, p. 166). When the potential victim hits these specific web site on their browser these script gets injected. It is an unethical activity where no permission is taken from the victim where they use the vulnerability of the website to exploit them.

CSRF or the cross-site request forgery on the other hand is a more server kind of computer security vulnerability caused by hackers. Cybercriminals at times will send requests in the form of an email communication where the victim will be urgently asked to click open a file or install a file on their system (Kour, 2020, p. 4561). Due to the urgency if this activity request is fulfilled then cookies are detected and interaction is carried out by a hacker. The cookies sit quietly and keep sending data of the co muter system comprised to the external hacker.

So, an XSS attack is where the user will be induced for performing any action. CSRF on the other hand is dangerous as it is associated with some subset activities which users are performing. This is more like a one-way kind of attack. XSS on the other hand is a two-way attack vulnerability.

When both of these attacks are compared it is found that XSS attacks can be defended more easily than CSRF attacks. This is because the security prediction of the ber criminal cannot be made easily for the latter. As result victimisation possible more than the first kind of attack where using ample protection mechanisms one can be protected.

3. What is buffer overflow? Studies online (e.g. statcounter) suggest Microsoft Windows has over 70% of the OS market share. For this reason, identify and discuss a feature in Microsoft Windows that prevents attackers from using buffer overflows to execute malware

When the volume of information to be stored is more than the usual capacity of the stye to store data inside buffer memory the event is termed a buffer overflow (Gao, Wang, Y., Wang, Yang, Z., & Li, 2020, p. 1406). In such a circumstance, efforts are made to conduct a program overwrite over data adjacent to the buffer memory site. This is also technically termed a buffer overrun.

Microsoft, for preventing any hacking incidents or intrusions has restricted such buffer overflow processes. The potentials that applications by Microsoft being exploited is a stack that is applied over the memory spaces. Here storage space is made available. The brand dominates the market and has over 76.56%of the market shares. This is possible as Microsoft makes use of DEP or Data execution prevention programs for the operating system design Windows XP and the SP2. Here the program is given autonomous power so that they can stop any malware to get carried out with the code where there is reach for non-executable memory spaces.

DEP feature in Microsoft is enabled so that any attack upcoming can be detected. The non-explicit memory is not executed. If the buffer overflow gets used up ht DEP protection is applied so the process is carried out without the program which will restrict the security bars automatically (Wang, Huang & Chen, 2019, p. 1). This is performed in two ways by Microsoft- address the space randomization process using ASLR or using the Data Execution Prevention method.

Task 2

1. Discuss the notion of “security through obscurity” and its implication on modern day computer security. All security engineer experts use their robust design, formats, and security mechanisms to be the primary tool to execute safety to their system. In this regards a concept of security through the notion of obscurity is used as the underlying principle for such a security execution by experts (Andrew, 2018, p. 1). In modern times, however, all computer systems and mechanisms are layered by their design. Often there are gaps and loopholes which are detected by the cyber criminals and they use them to attack or hack computer systems.
Such use of security approach using obscurity as the core principle is not a positive or effective one since it is about the protection of system and data. The security mechanism is hence effective only till w nth obscurity is not explored or discovered. Hence such an approach makes the system weak or vulnerable. A modern-day example can be given here. Imagine the owner of a precious residential house uses some of the best security locking systems to give protection to the door. To give effective safety and security jiggling is made through obscurity. However, sometimes tricky ways are used by cyber criminals to get insider information about codes which can then be used to crack open the lock. So as soon as the code is discovered the system becomes vulnerable.

2. Discuss at least two security advantages of a host running virtualization

Virtualization is one of the latest technologies which has revolutionized the way business enterprises conducted their operations. Small and medium scaled business organizations today use virtualized architecture to avail their security advantages (Gavrilovska, Rakovic & Ichkov, 2018, p. 67). In using virtualization, businesses can avoid the face to face communications. Hence the first security advantage is this. The face of an individual is a vulnerable biological data that is hidden along with their other identifying information such as location, contact number of pictures using virtualization. All kinds of personally identifiable information is kept secure due to this.

The second security advantage of virtualization is that it offers centralization of all managerial operations and functions. All the operations which a business performs can run over a controlled architecture as a result. All IT-related activities are kept protected. The authorized users can only get access to such a system. These two security befits make virtualization a highly popular architectural structure.


Andrew, M. (2018). No security through obscurity: changing circumvention law to protect our democracy against cyberattacks. Brooklyn Law Review, 83(4).

Gavrilovska, L., Rakovic, V., & Ichkov, A. (2018). Virtualization approach for machine-type communications in multi-rat environment. Wireless Personal Communications : An International Journal, 100(1), 67–79. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11277-018-5611-y

Gao, F.-J., Wang, Y., Wang, L.-Z., Yang, Z., & Li, X.-D. (2020). Automatic buffer overflow warning validation. Journal of Computer Science and Technology, 35(6), 1406–1427. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11390-020-0525-z

Jackson, S., Vanteeva, N., & Fearon, C. (2019). An investigation of the impact of data breach severity on the readability of mandatory data breach notification letters: evidence from u.s. firms. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 70(11), 1277–1289. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24188

Kour, P. (2020). A study on cross-site request forgery attack and its prevention measures. International Journal of Advanced Networking and Applications, 12(02), 4561–4566. https://doi.org/10.35444/IJANA.2020.12204
Rodri?guez Germa?n E, Torres, J. G., Flores, P., & Benavides, D. E. (2020). Cross-site scripting (xss) attacks and mitigation: a survey. Computer Networks, 166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comnet.2019.106960

Tamrin, S. I., Norman, A. A., & Hamid, S. (2017). Information systems security practices in social software applications. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 69(2), 131–157. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-08-2016-0124

Wang, X., Huang, F., & Chen, H. (2019). Dtrace: fine-grained and efficient data integrity checking with hardware instruction tracing. Cybersecurity, 2(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42400-018-0018-3

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