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CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 08

Computer operating system software has become increasingly standardized. But when a large business with multiple, linked computer systems uses identical operating system software on all of its computers, a computer vandal who gains access to one computer automatically has access to the data on all the computers. Using a program known as a “virus,” the vandal can then destroy much of the data on all the computers. If such a business introduced minor variations into its operating system software, unauthorized access to all the computers at the same time could be virtually eliminated. Furthermore variations in operating system software can be created without any lose of computer compatibility to the business. Therefore, it is advisable for businesses to implement such variations.

Which one of the following, if true, supports the conclusion in the passage?

[A]. Standardization of computer operating system software has increased computer compatibility among different businesses.
[B]. Correcting any damage resulting from an invasion by a computer virus program is more expensive than preventing the damage.
[C]. It is not costly for a business to maintain incompatible computer operating systems.
[D]. There are other kinds of destructive computer programs that do not depend on inter-computer links.
[E]. Not all businesses need to share date among their internal computer systems.
Answer: B

Businesses should introduce some variety into their software systems (that’s the conclusion, signalled by “therefore”), because using only one system leaves a company intensely vulnerable to vandalism. That logic, however, relies on the assumption that letting a virus loose in a system is worse than rebuilding a system post virus. (B) asserts that that assumption is true, and hence it supports the reasoning. Use the Denial Test to check it: If (B) is false—if it’s no more expensive to rebuild a system than to prevent a problem— then the wisdom of the author’s advice is seriously in doubt.

(A) is an irrelevant generalization about standardization and its effect on business.

(C) Since the argument is solely concerned with businesses that have compatible systems,

(C) is beyond the scope.

(D) The argument is about the damage caused by vandals, not about the inherent destructiveness of programs. And (D)’s other topic, non-linked computers, is equally outside the scope.

(E) is true. But businesses that do need to share data are the topic here, because they’re the ones at risk. (E) neither supports nor weakens the logic.

The conclusion is what every argument is based on. So if a Keyword signal like “therefore” jumps out at you, pay special attention to what follows. In some cases, you can even jump right to the “therefore” in order to read and paraphrase the conclusion first, and then go on to see how the author reached it.

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