Definition: Data, when used in the context of computer security and computer networks, is very specific. It is the plural form of a word that refers to unprocessed values (numbers, letters, words or other values). Most people define the word to mean any information. The bits (1's and 0's) and bytes that are transmitted over the Internet for processing or saved on storage devices to verify transactions is meaningless by itself. It must be specially processed and put into the context of the decision-making process.
Its Relevance: Computers do their work by running programs to processing ones (1s) and zeros (0s) to yield contextually meaningful information for decision making. Changing even the smallest components (1s and 0s) can totally compromise any information security. All numbers that are used for processing must be protected.
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