Cybersecurity is important because it helps protect sensitive information and systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
For example, in a hospital setting, patient health information must be protected from unauthorized access to maintain patient privacy. In a financial institution, personal financial information must be protected to prevent fraud and identity theft. In a government setting, classified information must be protected to maintain national security.
We all heard a lot about Snowdon’s leaking sensitive data from NSA, and Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. Not only that; hackers targeting a bank’s online system or any financial institution aren’t uncommon to hear.
But a layman can question what on Earth is cybersecurity?
It’s a digital system designed to guard a system or a program against any penetration or malicious attack coming from potential attackers. It can be aimed for various purposes. Either an attacker wants to steal sensitive information, change data or might be up to destroying it completely. Financial theft through digital means is another trouble in the list.
What is a cyber-attack?
Some common types of cyber-attacks include:
- Malware: This type of attack involves the use of malicious software, such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, to damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.
- Phishing: This type of attack involves the use of fraudulent emails or websites to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): This type of attack involves overwhelming a website or network with a flood of traffic from multiple sources, making it unavailable to legitimate users.
- Ransomware: This type of attack involves encrypting a victim’s data and demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key.
- Advanced Persistent Threat (APT): This type of attack involves a prolonged, targeted attack on an organization’s computer systems, often with the goal of stealing sensitive data.
- Social engineering: This type of attack involves manipulating people into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that can harm the security of an organization.
- SQL Injection: This type of attack involves injecting malicious code into a website’s database through its web-based input fields. The attacker can gain access to sensitive information stored in the database, modify it, or delete it.
- Zero-day Exploit: This type of attack involves taking advantage of a previously unknown vulnerability in a software or system. These attacks are particularly dangerous because they can be used to exploit systems before patches or fixes have been developed.
- Spear Phishing: This type of attack is a targeted version of phishing, where the attacker creates a personalized message to trick a specific person or organization into revealing sensitive information.
- IoT attacks: Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Smart home devices, cameras, and other connected devices are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This type of attack can compromise those devices and use them to launch a larger attack on an organization or an individual.
- Cryptojacking: This type of attack involves the unauthorized use of a victim’s computer resources to mine for cryptocurrency. This can slow down the victim’s computer and use up their electricity.
- Watering hole attack: This type of attack targets a specific group or organization by compromising a website that they frequently visit, and then using it to deliver malware to their systems.
What constitutes cybercrime?
Cybercrime is a broad term it can include financial manipulating, stalking or intimidating someone, harassing, stealing personal or professional data, or even interrupt an entire business organization.
In the old days, sensitive information used to be confined within files kept hidden inside lockers. As much as technology puts ease over data collection, it’s perils become obvious too. Nowadays it’s a lot easier to access those very files stored electronically.
What are impacts of cybercrime?
The impact of cybercrime can have serious consequences for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole.
- Financial loss: Cybercrime can result in significant financial losses for individuals and businesses, including theft of money and personal information, fraud, and extortion.
- Damage to reputation: A cyber-attack can damage an organization’s reputation and customer trust if sensitive information is stolen or made public.
- Disruption of business operations: Cybercrime can cause disruptions to business operations, such as by shutting down or damaging computer systems or networks.
- Loss of personal information: Cybercrime can result in the loss of personal information, such as Social Security numbers and credit card numbers, which can lead to identity theft and other types of fraud.
- National security threats: Cybercrime can also have serious national security implications, such as espionage and sabotage against critical infrastructure.
- Privacy invasion: Cybercrime can lead to the invasion of personal privacy by stealing personal information, and surveillance.
Major cybersecurity Tips
- Keep software and operating systems up to date: Software vendors frequently release updates and patches to address known vulnerabilities. Installing these updates as soon as they are available can help protect against cyber-attacks.
- Use strong and unique passwords: Strong passwords that are difficult to guess or crack can help prevent unauthorized access to accounts. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) : MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication in addition to a password.
- Be cautious when opening emails and attachments from unknown senders: Malware and phishing attempts often come in the form of emails and attachments. Be skeptical of unsolicited emails and be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments.
- Use a reputable Antivirus software: Antivirus software can help detect and remove malware from computer systems.
- Back up important data: Regularly backing up important data can help protect against data loss in the event of a cyber-attack or other disaster.
- Limit the amount of personal information shared online: Be selective about the personal information shared online, as it can be used for identity theft or other types of fraud.
- Educate employees and end-users: Regularly train employees and end-users on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify and avoid phishing attempts and other types of cyber threats.
- Have a incident response plan: Having a incident response plan in place can help organizations quickly and effectively respond to a cyber-attack and minimize the damage.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing sensitive information over a public network: A VPN encrypts data transmitted over a network, making it more difficult for attackers to intercept and steal sensitive information.
- Use a Firewall: A firewall can help protect against unauthorized access to a computer system or network by controlling the incoming and outgoing network traffic.
- Be aware of social engineering: Social engineering is a tactic used by attackers to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or text messages asking for personal information.
- Use a password manager: Password managers can help generate and store strong, unique passwords for different accounts, making it easier to use different passwords for different accounts.
- Use encryption for sensitive data: Encrypting sensitive data can help protect it from unauthorized access, even if it is intercepted by an attacker.
- Monitor network traffic: Regularly monitoring network traffic can help detect unusual or suspicious activity that may indicate a cyber-attack.
- Have a plan in case of a breach: Having a plan in place for responding to a data breach can help organizations minimize the damage and get back to normal operations more quickly.
- Use cloud-based services securely: Cloud-based services can be useful for storing and sharing data, but it’s important to use them securely. Use a reputable provider and be sure to use strong authentication methods.
- Be aware of the laws and regulations: Be aware of the laws and regulations that apply to your organization and make sure that you are in compliance with them.
Overall, it’s important to be vigilant and proactive about cybersecurity, and to regularly review and update security measures to stay ahead of potential threats.
Favorite targets of cybercriminals
Usually, it’s known to be banks or any software containing financial information. Microsoft and Paypal are some of the favorite targets of hackers. Microsoft to gain access to confidential files and Paypal for obvious reasons. Then come Netflix and some large banks. Netflix because it stores financial information.
Sometimes hackers choose a time and day more suitable to carry out their heinous acts. For instance, Netflix is targetted more on Sundays as favorite shows of many, are released on Friday. And generally, people prefer to watch them over Sundays. Likewise, banks face more threats on weekends because their branches are closed and helplines not functional.
Cybercrime as a demoralizing force
In 2000, an Australian hacked a system of city’s sewerage system and dumped an entire city’s waste into parks, business areas, and even rivers. Likewise in Massachusetts, a hacker ended up disrupting the entire aviation system. These examples are of cybercrime, not terrorism. But these incidents are sufficient to scare the masses. They might feel more insecure imagining a cyberterror attack. These factors make a cybersecurity program a need of the time.
Countries best and worst in cybersecurity
So far only the USA is the country that was the attackers’ favorite target for both financial and security breaches yet countered them efficiently. It has succeeded in formulating a highly sophisticated cyber protection plan. Japan takes a lead with few other countries on the top including the US, Canada, and the UK. The rest of the world including Europe has still room for improvements. But the Middle East and South Asia is a harbinger of such attacks but have a long way to reach the top ranks.
Europe took precedence in protecting the data privacy of its citizens with passage of strict GDPR laws. These laws ensured that no breach of personal data is made but faced with strict penalties. Consent was made mandatory even when data was required for professional or official matters. Companies have an obligation to comply with these laws. The Stafftimer app keeps this factor in mind and completely abide by GDPR compliance.
No doubt the US has taken immaculate measures to counter cybercrime but they failed to take proper measures to protect personal data. In fact, US security agencies take a lead in violating the privacy of its citizens on the name of national security. This issue has to be addressed properly.
How Artificial intelligence can help fix this problem?
Hackers mainly break into firewall settings of their target system then counter it’s antivirus software. A small breach of a firewall can become a major one in no time. AI is needed to develop firewalls with built-in machine learning technology. It can prove to be a much-protected system than the conventional one. Passwords are a big nuisance. Many use the same passwords across all of their accounts and devices. An AI-based technology can keep on inventing and perishing passwords with an automated system to make the data secure.
Human vulnerability is paving ways for cyberattacks
Some businesses hand over their official devices into their employees’ hands even out of the workspace. They use it for their personal activities too like those of social media. They enter multiple passwords making phishing attacks easier. Personal email checks give a passage into business data stored in official devices.
What does a cyber security professional do?
A cybersecurity professional, also known as a “cybersecurity analyst” or “information security analyst,” is responsible for protecting an organization’s computer systems, networks, and data from cyber attacks and other security threats.
Some specific duties of a cybersecurity professional may include:
- Identifying and assessing security risks to an organization’s information systems and networks
- Developing and implementing security measures to protect against identified risks
- Monitoring and analyzing security systems to detect and respond to security breaches
- Investigating security incidents and determining the cause of the breach
- Keeping up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity threats and technologies
- Creating and maintaining security policies, procedures, and standards
- Training employees on cybersecurity best practices
- Collaborating with other members of the IT team to ensure the security of systems and networks
Overall, a cybersecurity professional plays a critical role in helping organizations to protect against cyber attacks and other security threats that can have serious consequences for both personal and professional lives.