What Are the Different Types of Computer Security Hardware?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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There are many different types of computer security hardware, though they are typically designed to either protect the physical components of a computer or the data on that computer. Some of the most common forms of security hardware are locks and cables used to secure computer components to a desk or cart to prevent theft. There are also security devices such as authenticators and dongles that can be used with a computer to prevent unauthorized access to certain programs or data. The internal components of a computer can also be used as security hardware by some programs that can be used to make data only available on a certain system.

Computer security hardware refers to devices and physical products used to increase or improve upon computer security. There are cables and locks, for example, to physically secure a computer and its components within a certain environment. Metal cables can be used to keep a laptop connected to a desk or cart, which prevents others from stealing the laptop. There are also locks that can be used as security hardware, often securing metal cables or preventing access to internal components of a computer without a key.


Some computer security hardware is more specialized in nature and is designed to prevent access to a computer system or a program on that computer. Security dongles, for example, are devices that can easily be connected to a computer, often through a universal serial bus (USB) port, in order to allow access to that computer. Someone who does not have the dongle is unable to access data on that system. There are also authenticators that can be used as computer security hardware, which are typically tied to a particular program and prevent unauthorized access to those programs.

It is even possible for the physical components within a computer case or tower to be used as security hardware. This typically requires particular software, however, which can be used to essentially connect software or data on a computer to information derived from the components in that computer. When someone wishes to access data that is protected in this way, the software checks for those components and only provides the data if those components are found. This type of computer security hardware prevents someone from copying data or programs off of a computer system and accessing them on another system.


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