equipped with, built-in security features which isolate computer users from classified or sensitive
information. Finally, the information processed by and stored on PCs is often in the form of "finished"
documents which can be more sensitive than the raw data stored in the large computer system.
PCs are, by their very nature, extremely difficult to secure. The PC and the information it processes
are highly vulnerable to unauthorized access and theft. Despite this fact, the Army is using PCs on an
ever-increasing basis to process and store classified and sensitive information. When a PC sits out
in the open, protecting it and the classified and sensitive data stored on it is a challenge.
Part G: Physical Protection
Since most PCs are located in an open office environment and lack built-in security features,
physical security measures are the primary line of defense. The first problem is to protect the PC
and the sensitive data processed and stored on it from unauthorized access. Unauthorized access is
any intrusion by a thief, a foreign country agent, or a dishonest employee who wants to obtain
information; destroy or alter information; steal, damage, or destroy the PC; or use a PC.
Every office has some physical security procedures in use, and these procedures apply to the PC as
well. Generally, every office is locked at the end of the day and when nobody is in the office.
Somebody usually does an end-of-day security check. Classified and sensitive information is
secured when not in use, and we can expect employees to challenge a stranger who enters the
However, there are limits to what locked doors and windows can do to stop a determined thief, and
some additional physical security measures should be considered. PCs are small and light enough
for a single person to carry off, and are easily marketable items for the thief. A few simple physical
security measures can stymie a thief.
Bolting down the PC: Physical security for the PC begins with fastening the PC, and its peripherals, to
a table or desk. There are a number of commercially available locking systems. Most rely on wire
cable and locks similar to those used to secure a bicycle. Another approach involves encasing the
PC in a lockable cabinet or workstation. This won't protect your PC from a well-prepared thief armed
with the right tools, but it might send him looking for easier pickings.
Marking the PC: The most cost- effective anti-theft measures are undoubtedly marking each piece of
computer equipment with the unit's name. You can mark the equipment with indelible markers,
stencils and paint, or an engraving tool. The thief will have a hard time fencing a PC that is engraved
with "Property of the United States Army."
Locking up the keyboard: Most PC keyboards are removable, and a good measure against
unauthorized use is removing the keyboard and locking it up when the PC is not being used. This
won't stop a thief from stealing the PC, since replacement keyboards are relatively cheap, but at least
you can control its use.