Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computers, servers, mobile devices, electric systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. It is also referred to as IT security or electronic information security. The term is used in various contexts, from business to mobile computing, and can be broken down into a few common categories.
- Network security protects a computer network from intruders, whether targeted attackers or opportunistic malware.
- Application security focuses on keeping software and strategies free from threats. A compromised application could grant access to data it is designed to protect. Successful security begins at the design stage before any program or device is implemented.
- Information security protects the integrity and confidentiality of data, both at rest and in transportation.
- Operational security includes the processes and results for managing and protecting data assets. Users’ permissions when accessing a network and the procedures that determine how and where data can be stored or shared fall under this umbrella term.
- Disaster recovery and business steadiness define how a group responds to a cybersecurity incident or other event that results in operational or data loss. Disaster recovery rules dictate how the organization restores its operations and information to the same operational capacity before the event. Business continuity is the organization’s plan when trying to operate without specific resources.
- End-user training addresses the most unpredictable factor in cybersecurity: people. Anyone can inadvertently introduce a virus into a secure system by not following security best practices. Teaching users how to remove suspicious email attachments, don’t plug in unidentified USB drives, and learn some other important lessons is vital to the security of any organization.
The scale of the cyber threat
The global cyber threat continues to change rapidly, with an increasing number of data breaches every year. A report by RiskBased Security found that 7.9 billion records were exposed due to data breaches in the first nine months of 2019 alone. That number is more than double (112%) of records uncovered during the same period in 2018.
Medical services, retailers, and public institutions saw the most breaches, with malicious criminals responsible for most incidents. Some industries attract cybercriminals because they collect financial and medical data. Still, any company that uses networks can be the target of client data, corporate espionage, or customer attacks.
As the scale of the cyber threat grows, International Data Corporation predicts that global spending on cyber security solutions will reach a whopping $133.7 billion by 2022. Governments worldwide have responded to the growing cyber threat with guidelines to help organizations implement effective cyber security practices.
In the US, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a framework for cyber security. The framework recommends continuous, real-time monitoring of all electronic assets to combat the proliferation of malicious cyphers and support early detection.
The importance of system nursing is reflected in the “10 Steps to Cyber Security”, a guide from the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre. In Australia, the Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) regularly publishes guidance on how organizations can address the latest cyber security threats.
Types of Cyber Threats
There are three threats that cybersecurity counteracts:
- Cybercrime involves individual actors or groups targeting systems for financial gain or disruption.
- Cyber attacks often involve politically motivated information gathering.
- Cyberterrorism is designed to undermine electronic systems to induce terror or fear.
So how do hateful actors gain control of processer systems? Here are approximately common methods used to threaten cybersecurity:
Malware means malicious software. One of the most shared cyber threats, malware, is software created by a cybercriminal or hacker to disrupt or damage a legitimate user’s computer. Often distributed via an unsolicited email attachment or a legitimate-looking download, cybercriminals can use the malware to make money or conduct politically motivated cyber attacks.
There are some different types of malware, including:
- Virus: A self-replicating package that attaches itself to a clean file and spreads through a computer system, infecting files with malicious code.
- Trojans: A type of malware that disguises itself as legitimate software. Cybercriminals trick users into uploading trojans on their computers, where they cause harm or gather data.
- Spyware: A program that secretly annals what a worker is responsible for so that cybercriminals can use this information. For example, spyware could collect credit card information.
- Ransomware: Malware that locks a user’s files and data and threatens to delete them unless a ransom is paid.
- Adware: Adware that can be used to distribute malicious software.
- Botnets: Networks of malware-infected processers that cybercriminals use to perform online tasks without user permission.
A Structured Language Query (SQL) injection is a cyber attack to hijack and give away data from a file. Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in data-driven applications to inject spiteful code into a database via a malicious SQL statement. This gives them entree to the sensitive information contained in the database.
Phishing is when cybercriminals attack victims with emails that appear to be from a legitimate company requesting sensitive information. Phishing spells are commonly used to trick people into giving up credit card details and other personal information.
A man-in-the-middle attack is a cyber threat where a cybercriminal intercepts communications between two people to steal data. For example, an attacker could intercept data transmitted between the victim’s device and the network on an unsecured WiFi network.
Denial of Service Attack
In a denial of service attack, cyber criminals prevent a computer system from meeting legitimate needs by overloading networks and servers with traffic. This condenses the system unusable and prevents an organization from performing vital functions.
Latest Cyber Threats
Which current cyber threats do people and organizations need to protect themselves counter to? Here are some of the latest cyber threats stated by the UK, US and Australian governments.
In December 2019, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) accused the leader of an organized group of cybercriminals for his role in a global Dridex malware attack. This malicious campaign affected the public, government, substructure and businesses worldwide.
Dridex is a financial trojan with a variety of capabilities. Also, It can steal passwords, banking details and personal details that can be used for fraudulent transactions and has caused massive financial losses worth hundreds of millions. It has affected victims since 2014, infecting computers via phishing emails or existing malware.
In reply to the Dridex attacks, the UK’s Countrywide CyberSecurity Midpoint advises the public to “ensure devices are patched, antivirus enabled and up to date, and files are backed up”.
In February 2020, the FBI warned US citizens to be aware of trust fraud perpetrated by cybercriminals.
End User Protection
End-user protection, or endpoint security, is a critical aspect of cybersecurity. After all, an individual (the end user) often inadvertently uploads malware or some other form of the cyber threat to their desktop, laptop or mobile device.
So how do cybersecurity measures protect end users and systems? Also, First, cybersecurity relies on cryptographic protocols to encrypt emails, files, and other critical data. This not only protects information during transmission but also protects it in contradiction of harm or theft.
In addition, end-user security software scans computers for malicious code snippets, quarantines this code, and removes it from the computer. Security programs can detect and remove malicious code hidden in the master boot record and are designed to encrypt or erase data on a computer’s hard drive.
Security programs can confine possibly malicious programs to a cybernetic bubble separate from a user’s network to analyze their behaviour and learn how to detect new infections better. Electronic security protocols also focus on present malware detection. Many use behavioral analysis and heuristic analysis to monitor the behavior of a program and its code and to ward off viruses or Trojans that change shape with each execution (polymorphic and metamorphic malware).
Also Security programs continue developing defences as cybersecurity professionals identify new threats and ways to combat them. To get the most out of end-user security software, employees need to know how to use it. Crucially, it is kept running and regularly updated to ensure it can protect users from the latest cyber threats.