Definition: The term "backdoor" refers to computer code that is surreptitiously installed upon a computer that allows for unauthorized access to the system. Malware of this type can be very sophisticated and once it gains access can re-write compiler (or machine) code. A program can be installed without the knowledge of the owner or can allow for full access to information infrastructure. Malware enables unauthorized access to an information system can be particularly damaging. A variety of malware exists that target both Windows and Linux operating system software. Even software publishers have been known to include instructions in the software to allow access.
Its Relevance: Unrestricted access to one’s information infrastructure is intolerable. Strict policies and procedure must be in place to guarantee that an organization’s information system isn’t compromised. The task is made increasingly difficult with growth in the use of electronic commerce. Software vendors that include software that compromises security are less than reputable and should be avoided.