Computers see data as nothing but 0s and 1s. A blank hard drive is a giant sea of 0s, ready to have 1s strategically placed like buoys in a busy harbor. But how should the computer organize the data on the hard drive? That’s a tricky question. Every operating system deals with this question in a different way. These organizational strategies are called file systems. The most common file systems have names like FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, JFS, FFS, UFS, VFS, and ext2/3.
Early file systems were just responsible for getting information on and off a storage device. The operating systems were responsible for controlling the way in which the information was used. More recent systems have direct support for access control, error recovery, and data security.
The majority of users and organizations today employ two basic types of operating systems, Unix or Windows. For this reason, the file systems used by these operating systems are covered in the greatest depth.
The above information is the start of a chapter in "Network Security Illustrated," published by McGraw-Hill and available from amazon.com, as well as your local bookstore. The book goes into much greater depth on this topic. To learn more about the book and what it covers, click here.
Below, you'll find links to online resources that supplement this portion of the book.