The modern world revolves around technology. The tremendous gains we all are availing from technology are coupled with serious cyber threats. The devices, servers, and systems have flaws that upsurge cybercrime. Hence, cyber security is required to counteract cyber threats and minimize the chances of security breaches.
So, what is cyber security?
Cyber security is the technique, tools, and methods of protecting networks, computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, and digital data from malicious cyberattacks. It is often referred to as “electronic information security” or “information technology security.”
The primary goal of cyber security is safeguarding all organizational assets against interruptions resulting from natural catastrophes and external and internal threats. Cyber security measures help Individuals and businesses prevent unauthorized access by cyber attackers to data centers and other digital systems. Cybercriminals initiate cyber-attacks to gain unauthorized access, erase, alter, corrupt, or extort sensitive data and systems. Cyber attackers also hack systems and servers connected to the internet to disrupt or disable regular corporate operations or extort money from the end user.
Effective cyber security policies and security solutions can enable end users and organizations to defend against these malicious attacks. Cyber security controls limit cyber security risks by preventing a system’s or device’s activities from being disabled or otherwise disrupted.
CIA triad or Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability are the guiding principles for any organization’s security. It has been the industry standard for computer security since the introduction of the first mainframes. Cybercriminals use a variety of security attacks to breach the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data against businesses and individuals.
The confidentiality principle refers to authorized access to sensitive data and operations. Confidentiality attacks are intended to steal PII (Personal Identifiable Information) and other sensitive data. For instance, Military secrets.
The integrity principle enables only authorized personnel to change, add, or delete sensitive data and functions. Integrity attacks are intended to disrupt activities and harm reputations. For instance, a hacker adds inaccurate data to the database.
The availability principle refers to the availability of data, systems, and functions following predetermined guidelines based on service levels. Availability attacks are designed to restrict users’ access to information.
An attack could be the start of identity theft, extortion, or the loss of precious data like family photos on an individual level. A cyber threat may cause data loss, operations interruption, ransom demands, industrial espionage, regulator reprimand, and reputational damage at the organizational level.
Let’s have a deeper understanding of cyber threats.
Cybersecurity Threats And Their Types
A cyber or cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that aims to destroy and steal data or interfere with the digital world. Cyber security fends off three types of threats:
- Cybercrime involves individuals and groups targeting systems for harm or financial gain.
- Cyberattacks are often a result of political gains.
- Cyberterrorism aims to compromise electronic devices to elicit fear or panic.
Cyber security professionals are constantly developing security solutions against cyber threats, including:
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
- Business Email Compromise (BEC)
- Credential stuffing attacks
- Cross-site scripting attacks
- DDOS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks
- Drive-by-download attacks
- Exploit Kits
- Insider threats
- MitM (Man-in-the-Middle) attacks
- Phishing/Spear phishing/Vishing
- Social Engineering
- SQL injection attacks
- Zero-day exploits
Latest Cyber Threats
Cyber security experts put endless effort into minimizing security risks, but cyber attackers find novel threats against their security barriers. Some of the latest cyber threats encountered include:
This malware was a financial trojan with several features, including banking and personal information and password theft. These were used for illegal transactions. It has financially affected the government, public, businesses, and infrastructure globally since 2014.
The National Cyber Security Center in the U.K. proposed that devices with updated anti-virus and file backup will protect against Dridex attacks.
The Australian Cyber Security Center warned national corporations about a powerful trojan that can load other malware and steal sensitive data. This Emotet malware was a pervasive global cyber threat in late 2019. Creating a secure password for protection against online risks is important because Emotet thrives on simple passwords.
The FBI discovered that Romance cyber threats in 2019 cost 114 victims in New Mexico with total losses of $1.6 million. Romance scams spread through applications, dating websites, and chat rooms. Cybercriminals take advantage of singles looking for love by tricking them into disclosing personal information.
Now that you know different cyber threats let’s consider how cybersecurity works to eliminate these threats.
How Does Cyber Security Work?
Organizational assets are composed of numerous diverse systems. A successful and efficient cyber security strategy necessitates coordinated activities across all the organization’s information systems. Hence, the multilayered cyber security comprises:
It ensures device and software protection against cyber threats. A compromised application disregards the availability principle. Thus, effective cyber security starts at the design phase of a program or technology.
Cloud security relates to data encryption through genuine confidential computing to meet consumer privacy, company needs, and regulatory compliance criteria.
These are security procedures for maintaining the economic viability, public safety, or national security of networks, computers, and other assets of society. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers additional recommendations, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a cybersecurity framework to assist enterprises in this area.
Identity Management and Data Security
Data security measures protect your most sensitive information from unauthorized access, disclosure, or identity theft—for instance, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Endpoint Security/End-user Education
Endpoint Security refers to securing remote network access. Increasing security awareness within the company improves endpoint security. Users can be taught to discard ambiguous email attachments and avoid unidentified devices.
It offers network protection against attackers on either wireless or wired connections.
Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning
It resolves unanticipated occurrences (power outages, cybersecurity incidents, or natural disasters) with the least impact on crucial activities.
It secures personal and organizational data on mobile devices against various cyber threats.
The Scale Of Cybersecurity Threats
Each year, the number of data breaches increases as the worldwide cyber threat develops quickly. RiskBased Security survey revealed that data breaches exposed 7.9 billion records in 2019, which is twice those in 2018.
Forbes proposes that various alarming cyber security concerns will arise in 2022, including supply chain disruption, threats from smart devices, and a continuous shortage of cyber security experts. The International Data Corporation projects that global cyber-security solutions expenditure will increase to $133.7 billion by 2022 due to the spread of cyber threats.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a framework for cyber security that allows constant, real-time monitoring of all electronic assets. The National Cyber Security Center advises the “10 steps to cyber security” and reiterates the need for system monitoring. Australia’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) frequently releases instructions to defend against recent cyber-security threats.
Cybercrime Magazine predicts until 2025; global cybercrime costs will increase to $10.5 trillion annually. They are expected to increase globally by about 15% annually during the following four years.
Importance Of Cyber Security
Why is cybersecurity essential? The main goal of the modern cyber security sector is to defend systems and devices from intruders. It is challenging but rewarding. Without the diligent efforts of cyber security experts, it would be almost impossible to use many websites due to ongoing DDoS attacks. Without strong cyber security protections, necessities like electricity grids and water treatment facilities would be disrupted. Hence, cyber security is extremely vital to protect our accustomed lifestyles.
The following elements primarily determine the importance of cybersecurity.
Highly Complex Attacks
Cyberattacks are growing in complexity. The threat landscape has become highly detrimental because of APTs, DDoS, state-sponsored hacking, ransomware, etc.
Easily Accessible Hacking Tools
A modern cyber attacker does not need strong digital expertise or requires to be an evil genius programmer. There is a plethora of free online resources and strategies with which one can pull off a crippling cyber-attack.
Non-compliance leads to payments of hefty penalties and facing legal consequences. Organizations must implement security measures to safeguard sensitive information per laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Escalating Cost of Security Breaches
The escalating financial impact of security breaches is not just lost business and penalties. Impact mitigation, plugging security flaws, disaster recovery, purchasing new security systems, brand image restoration, etc., incur huge additional costs.
Strategic Concern at the Board-Level
According to recent research, cyber threats rank among the most common hazards to businesses. New rules have only highlighted these problems by focusing on internal cyber dangers to the firm.
The Cybercrime Business
Cyberattacks might involve social, moral, or political interests, but most cybercriminals are attracted to financial gains. The cybercrime industry is worth billions of dollars.
Challenges of Cyber Security
Over time, cyber security has become increasingly challenging with the escalation of cyber threats. The factors contributing to the cybersecurity challenges include:
Various organizations have adopted remote working since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has exposed corporations to increased cybersecurity risk. The use of public Wi-Fi involves the risk of connecting to a malicious hotspot, giving hackers access to private and sensitive company data. Remote working has increased the risk of equipment theft and spying.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Organizations can eliminate the cost of company-owned devices through BYOD policies. Inspection and regulation of a BYOD are not possible like company-owned devices. Thus, BYOD is vulnerable to malware introduction into the business.
Massive Confidential Data
Many confidential user information is collected, processed, and stored by organizations, including a fraction of sensitive data. Even new or small businesses gain access to multitudes of customer data. The massive confidential data increases the possibility of cybersecurity risk to the organization.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Apart from routers, computers, servers, etc., electronic devices like bulbs, refrigerators, etc. are now internet enabled. There are more attack entry points with the rise of IoT that cybercriminals can utilize to launch a DDoS attack.
Fast Internet Connection
The internet now enables real-time data exchange. Attackers can instantly upload enormous amounts of data with increased bandwidth and the widespread availability of high-speed internet.
Rapidly Evolving Risks
With the rapid evolution of I.T., risks have evolved as well. New technological developments account for the introduction of new threats and attack vectors. Organizations find it challenging to update their policies accordingly, particularly smaller businesses that don’t possess enough resources to bear the expenses of huge security, I.T., and compliance staff.
State-Sponsored Hacker Teams
Cyber-attacks against a company’s cyber defenses are no longer the exclusive domain of a tech-savvy person holed up in a dark cellar. The threat actors of today are more organized and systematic. Government agencies and activist groups like Anonymous are involved in cyber espionage, cyber warfare, and cyberterrorism.
Cyber Security Certifications
The expansion of cyber threat space and the evolution of complex attacks necessitates hiring professionals with cybersecurity certifications and expertise. Individuals can acquire cybersecurity certifications irrespective of the study domain. Popular cybersecurity courses include:
Current cyber security recruiters actively seek CISSP-certified individuals.
Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) Certification
This course allows individuals to develop ethical hacking expertise. It opens a highly rewarding career path in the cybersecurity industry.
Various job positions available in the cybersecurity industry include:
Chief Security Officer manages a company’s cyber or physical security.
The Chief Information Security Officer manages the operations of the I.T. security department and ensures the implementation of the security protocol across the company.
They plan, analyze, design, test, maintain, and support the organization’s infrastructure.
They defend the organization’s assets against cyber threats and ensure I.T. infrastructure quality control.
They organize internal and external audits, safeguard digital assets, and develop security regulations, policies, and procedures.
They identify threats and vulnerabilities in the system before an organization’s security is compromised.
- Penetration Testers/Ethical Hackers
They evaluate the security of networks, systems, and applications in search of vulnerabilities that attackers could abuse.
- Cloud security architects
- Data protection officers
- Security consultants
- Security investigators
- Security administrators
- SOCs (security operations managers and analysts)
Advantages Of Cyber Security
There are multitudes of advantages of adopting and retaining cybersecurity policies, including:
- Limiting unauthorized access.
- Network and data protection.
- End-user and endpoint device security.
- Business security against data breaches and cybercrime.
- Minimal breach recovery period.
- Compliance with regulations.
- Continuity of operations.
- Increased brand integrity among stakeholders, partners, consumers, employees, and developers.
Cyber Security Management
Cyber security management involves various methods, techniques, tools, technologies, practices, and services. The most crucial practices for cybersecurity management include:
Routine Risk Assessments
Regular cyber risk evaluations help to recognize and assess threats while also assessing the effectiveness of the safeguards in place. It is a practical and affordable method of proactively safeguarding your digital assets.
Robust Cybersecurity Culture
Human errors majorly produce vulnerabilities for cyberattacks. Users’ behaviors unlock doors for unauthorized entry of attackers through dupes like malware attachments, phishing emails, weak passwords, and scam calls.
Employees must be aware of their role as the first line of defense against cyber-attacks on the organization’s digital assets. It necessitates regular training. It is important to incorporate cybersecurity into the company’s principles and goals. Additionally, introduce incentives and awards for staff members who exhibit good cybersecurity conduct.
Create guidelines and education campaigns to make sure users choose complex passwords. Ensure updating default passwords before deploying a device or application into a production setting.
The highest level of the organization needs to support cybersecurity publicly. When leadership explicitly endorses a cause, employees will be dedicated to it.
A target-rich environment is being created for criminals to take advantage of the pandemic, bitcoin, and increasing remote work. Hence, cyber security solutions will safeguard organizations and individuals from cyber threats.