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{{Other uses}}File:"WAAC - SILENCE MEANS SECURITY" - NARA - 515987.tif|thumb|Women's Army Corps propaganda (1941–1945) associated national securitynational securitySecurity is freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) caused by others. Beneficiaries (technically referents) of security may be of persons and social groups, objects and institutions, ecosystems or any other entity or phenomenon vulnerable to unwanted change by its environment. File:20151030 Syrians and Iraq refugees arrive at Skala Sykamias Lesvos Greece 2.jpg|thumb|Refugees fleeing war and insecurity in Iraq and Syria arrive at Lesbos IslandLesbos IslandSecurity mostly refers to protection from hostile forces, but it has a wide range of other senses: for example, as the absence of harm (e.g. freedom from want); as the presence of an essential good (e.g. food security); as resilience against potential damage or harm (e.g. secure foundations); as secrecy (e.g. a secure telephone line); as containment (e.g. a secure room or cell); and as a state of mind (e.g. emotional security).The term is also used to refer to acts and systems whose purpose may be to provide security (e.g. security forces; security guard; cyber security systems; security cameras; remote guarding).


The word 'secure' entered the English language in the 16th century. It is derived from Latin securus, meaning freedom from anxiety: se (without) + cura (care, anxiety).WEB,weblink Origin and meaning of secure, Online Etymology Dictionary,, en, 2017-12-17,



A security referent is the focus of a security policy or discourse; for example, a referent may be a potential beneficiary (or victim) of a security policy or system.Security referents may be persons or social groups, objects, institutions, ecosystems, or any other phenomenon vulnerable to unwanted change by the forces of its environment.Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998), p. 32 The referent in question may combine many referents, in the same way that, for example, a nation state is composed of many individual citizens.WEB,weblink Rethinking Security: A discussion paper, Gee, D, 2016,, Ammerdown Group, 2017-12-17,


The security context is the relationships between a security referent and its environment. From this perspective, security and insecurity depend first on whether the environment is beneficial or hostile to the referent, and also how capable is the referent of responding to its/their environment in order to survive and thrive.


The means by which a referent provides for security (or is provided for) vary widely. They include, for example:


Any action intended to provide security may have multiple effects. For example, an action may have wide benefit, enhancing security for several or all security referents in the context; alternatively, the action may be effective only temporarily, or benefit one referent at the expense of another, or be entirely ineffective or counterproductive.

Contested approaches

Approaches to security are contested and the subject of debate. For example, in debate about national security strategies, some argue that security depends principally on developing protective and coercive capabilities in order to protect the security referent in a hostile environment (and potentially to project that power into its environment, and dominate it to the point of strategic supremacy).WEB,weblink Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance, US, Department of Defense, 2000,, en, 2017-12-17, WEB,weblink Re-thinking defence to meet new threats, House of Commons Defence Committee, 2015,, 2017-12-17, WEB,weblink Building a British military fit for future challenges rather than past conflicts, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, 2015,, en, 2017-12-17, Others argue that security depends principally on building the conditions in which equitable relationships can develop, partly by reducing antagonism between actors, ensuring that fundamental needs can be met, and also that differences of interest can be negotiated effectively.NEWS,weblink Peace Through Shared Security, FCNL, 2015, 2017-12-17, en, BOOK,weblink Losing control : global security in the twenty-first century, Rogers, P, 2010, Pluto Press, 9780745329376, 3rd, London, 658007519,

Contexts of security (examples)

The table shows some of the main domains where security concerns are prominent.{{col-start}}{{col-break}}IT realm Political Monetary {{col-break}}{{col-end}}The range of security contexts is illustrated by the following examples (in alphabetical order):

Computer security

Computer security, also known as cybersecurity or IT security, refers to the security of computing devices such as computers and smartphones, as well as computer networks such as private and public networks, and the Internet. The field has growing importance due to the increasing reliance on computer systems in most societies."Reliance spells end of road for ICT amateurs", May 07, 2013, The Australian It concerns the protection of hardware, software, data, people, and also the procedures by which systems are accessed. The means of computer security include the physical security of systems and security of information held on them.

Corporate security

Corporate security refers to the resilience of corporations against espionage, theft, damage, and other threats. The security of corporations has become more complex as reliance on IT systems has increased, and their physical presence has become more highly distributed across several countries, including environments that are, or may rapidly become, hostile to them.File:Delta World HQ - entrance with security station.JPG|thumb|Security checkpoint at the entrance to the Delta Air Lines corporate headquarters in AtlantaAtlantaFile:Flughafenkontrolle.jpg|thumb|X-ray machines and metal detectors are used to control what is allowed to pass through an airport securityairport securityFile:Mall culture jakarta94.jpg|thumb|Security checkpoint at the entrance to a shopping mall in Jakarta, IndonesiaIndonesia

Ecological security

Ecological security, also known as environmental security, refers to the integrity of ecosystems and the biosphere, particularly in relation to their capacity to sustain a diversity of life-forms (including human life). The security of ecosystems has attracted greater attention as the impact of ecological damage by humans has grown.WEB,weblink Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 2010, United Nations General Assembly, 2010,, 2017-12-17, File:Graffiti about environmental security.jpg|thumb|Graffiti about ecological security, BelarusBelarus

Food security

Food security refers to the ready supply of, and access to, safe and nutritious food.NEWS,weblink Hunger and food security, United Nations, United Nations Sustainable Development, 2017-12-17, en-US, Food security is gaining in importance as the world's population has grown and productive land has diminished through overuse and climate change.WEB,weblink Greater focus on soil health needed to feed a hungry planet, Food and Agriculture Organizatoin, 2013,, en, 2017-12-17, NEWS,weblink Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues, Arsenault, C, 2014, Scientific American, 2017-12-17, en, File:GLOBAL WARMING AFFECTING GLOBAL AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY.pdf|thumb|Climate change is affecting global agriculture and food securityfood security

Home security

Home security normally refers to the security systems used on a property used as a dwelling (commonly including doors, locks, alarm systems, lighting, fencing); and personal security practices (such as ensuring doors are locked, alarms activated, windows closed etc.)File:Security spikes 1.jpg|thumb|Security spikes protect a gated community in the East End of LondonEast End of London

Human security

File:War in Gaza 018 - Flickr - Al Jazeera English.jpg|thumb|Boys play among the bombed-out ruins of Gaza CityGaza CityHuman security is the name of an emerging paradigm which, in response to traditional emphasis on the right of nation states to protect themselves,WEB,weblink Charter of the United Nations, Chapter VII, United Nations, 1945,, en, 2017-12-17, has focused on the primacy of the security of people (individuals and communities).WEB,weblink UN Trust Fund for Human Security, United Nations,, en, 2017-12-17, The concept is supported by the United Nations General Assembly, which has stressed "the right of people to live in freedom and dignity" and recognized "that all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want".WEB,weblink Resolution adopted by the General Assembly 60/1: World Summit Outcome, United Nations General Assembly, 2005, 2017-12-17,

National security

National security refers to the security of a nation state, including its people, economy, and institutions. In practice, state governments rely on a wide range of means, including diplomacy, economic power, and military capabilities.

Perceptions of security

Since it is not possible to know with precision the extent to which something is 'secure' (and a measure of vulnerability is unavoidable), perceptions of security vary, often greatly. For example, a fear of death by earthquake is common in the United States (US), but slipping on the bathroom floor kills more people;Bruce Schneier, Beyond Fear: Thinking about Security in an Uncertain World, Copernicus Books, pages 26-27 and in France, the United Kingdom and the US there are far fewer deaths caused by terrorism than there are women killed by their partners in the home.WEB,weblink The Terrorism Acts in 2011, David Anderson QC, 2012, 2017-12-17, NEWS,weblink What is femicide?, Womens Aid, Womens Aid, 2017-12-17, en-GB, NEWS,weblink Don't Believe In The War On Women? Would A Body Count Change Your Mind?, Upworthy, 2017-12-17, en, NEWS,weblink Violences conjugales: 118 femmes tuées en 2014, Libé, 2017-12-17, fr, Another problem of perception is the common assumption that the mere presence of a security system (such as armed forces, or antivirus software) implies security. For example, two computer security programs installed on the same device can prevent each other from working properly, while the user assumes that he or she benefits from twice the protection that only one program would afford.Security theater is a critical term for measures that change perceptions of security without necessarily affecting security itself. For example, visual signs of security protections, such as a home that advertises its alarm system, may deter an intruder, whether or not the system functions properly. Similarly, the increased presence of military personnel on the streets of a city after a terrorist attack may help to reassure the public, whether or not it diminishes the risk of further attacks.

Security concepts (examples)

Certain concepts recur throughout different fields of security:
  • Access control - the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource.
  • Assurance - an expression of confidence that a security measure will perform as expected.
  • Authorization - the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources related to information security and computer security in general and to access control in particular.
  • Countermeasure - a means of preventing an act or system from having its intended effect.
  • Defense in depth - a school of thought holding that a wider range of security measures will enhance security.
  • Exploit (noun) - a means of capitalizing on a vulnerability in a security system (usually a cyber-security system).
  • Identity management - enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.
  • Resilience - the degree to which a person, community, nation or system is able to resist adverse external forces.
  • Risk - a possible event which could lead to damage, harm, or loss.
  • Security management - identification of an organization's assets (including people, buildings, machines, systems and information assets), followed by the development, documentation, and implementation of policies and procedures for protecting these assets.
  • Threat - a potential source of harm.
  • Vulnerability - the degree to which something may be changed (usually in an unwanted manner) by external forces.

See also



External links

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