What is Cyber Security? – Follow these 10 Simple Steps to Protect Yourself
In every aspect of our life, cyberspace plays a huge role. With all the convenience and effective ways that the cyber world provides, it also exposes us to huge risks with the highly likely scenario of security breaches. Incidences of cyber-attacks tripled between 2019 and 2020. Also, cyber-attacks are now more frequent than weather-related natural disasters. There have been several cyber-attacks that made major headlines recently. Cyber-attacks hurt individuals and organizations, but they can also be used to steal information and/or send out fake information, thereby impacting many aspects of our lives and society. You’ve probably seen the headlines about the recent US election interference on Facebook and Twitter. So, how do we protect ourselves from these cyber-attacks? A whole subject called Cyber Security that helps not only protects us but also for many students and professionals provides a highly rewarding career. Cyber Security is a rising threat in the modern world. From major government data breaches to the theft of credit cards from retailers, cybercrime is rising in America. The FBI received more than 4,000 complaints a month about cybercrime in 2011, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The FBI estimates that roughly 60 percent of cybercrimes go unreported, freeing the criminals to strike again. If you’re concerned about Cybersecurity, there are many steps you can take to protect yourself. In this blog, we will walk you through Cyber Security, why it is important, and how to take steps to ensure you are secure.
What is Cyber Security?
Cybersecurity is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Cyber Security has multiple meanings. Cybersecurity refers to protecting computer networks, websites, and electronic data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access in its broadest sense. In a narrower definition, it means protecting the private information of individuals and businesses. Cyber Security has become more of a hot issue recently due to increased cyber-attacks, data breaches, and other nefarious activities by rogue actors. To be truly secure, everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions on the internet. Learn more about Cyber Security and how to become a Cyber Security professional on our Online Masters in Cyber Security page. It also provides you with a list of the best schools for Cybersecurity.
Why is Cyber Security important?
Cyber Security is important because cyberspace touches our lives in many ways, including our cell phones, digital TVs, computers, smart home devices, etc. Many people consider that Cybersecurity is purely related to computers only. But in reality, any digital device is at risk of cyber-attacks. In today’s world, everything is connected through cyberspace, and millions of attacks occur every day. Some of the incidents go completely unnoticed as well. Even if you have the best malware protection and firewalls, you could be a victim of a cyber-attack if you are not careful online. Hackers can do everything from stealing your information to deleting your entire hard drive, and the best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself.
How can Cyber Attacks occur?
When we think about Cyber-attacks, we often think of the big ones. The ones that get a lot of media attention take down websites and have nation-states involved. But Cyber-attacks are a crime like any other, and Cyber attackers use the same tools and techniques (phishing, spear phishing, vishing, watering hole attacks, and social engineering, to name a few) to attack you and your business. These attacks can happen do happen every day at much lower levels. On the surface, the idea of Cyber-Attacks is a simple concept — a hacker breaks into a computer with malicious intent. However, there are many different ways that Cyber attackers can target you and your businesses. A major goal of cybercriminals is to find passwords and account information, which they can then use to gain access to your accounts online.
A Cyber-Attack is usually criminally motivated. However, some hackers are motivated by a sense of achievement or a sense of thrill when they bring down a computer system. At times, malicious Cyber-Attacks are aimed at undermining the reputation of individuals, governments, organizations. Additionally, they might try to accomplish a more malicious aim, such as leaking private information, embarrassing records, or revealing sensitive military information. In recent times, several news items about some hackers backed by the nations went further by creating software that could degrade, destroy weapons programs or other crucial infrastructure.
Types of Cyber Attacks
There are several Cyber-attack categories. These categories are divided based on the intent or motivation of the attack. For example, if a Cyber-attacker’s motivation is stealing money or gain a competitive advantage, it could be categorized as an extortion attack. Extortion attacks are sometimes called Cyber-espionage attacks if the intent is to steal intellectual property. Some Cyber-espionage attacks could also be categorized as Cyber-terrorism attacks. There are plenty of types of Cyberattacks, but here are the most common types of Cyber-attacks are:
Spam: Sending junk emails to people. This is one of the simplest forms of attack. In fact, According to Statista, three in four emails sent on the internet are spam messages. In 2018, spammers worldwide sent 3.6 trillion junk emails, an increase of 37 percent over 2017. Despite a spike in spam activity at the end of last year, the volume of spam bounced back in February 2019, after declining steadily since late 2017.
Cookie Poisoning: This is a form of session hijacking where a hacker redirects a user’s browser to a server that they control.
Phishing: Usually performed by sending emails with links that can lead to installing malicious software or sending users to unwanted sites.
Man in the Middle: Putting malware on a device or in an app to read data as it passes by. Phishing attacks are mostly targeted towards financial institutions and SaaS and Webmail services, with 22.5% of phishing attacks.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): Denying the service by overloading the server by sending many requests.
Trojan Horses: This malware is part of legitimate software that executes itself to open up doors for hackers to enter.
How do we protect against Cyber Attacks?
In this digital age, every device connected to the internet comes with a risk of a Cyber-attack. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from Cyber-attacks. Some of them are enforced at corporate or business levels. But as individuals, you can follow the simple steps that are listed below.
1 – Make sure your Wi-Fi networks are secure and password protected. And all your passwords should be complex with lower and uppercase letters, digits, and special characters. The passwords should not be a name or a word that has a meaning.
2 – Make sure that you are all up to date with versions of the software that you use.
3 – If the manufacturer no longer supports the manufacturer’s software, the devices should be upgraded.
4 – Ensure that important data and information are backed up regularly.
5 – If you are a business, you should educate employees about cyber security principles and share the best practices to avoid attacks.
6 – A password manager with multi-factor authentication is an effective security tool that can encourage users to adopt good cybersecurity practices.
7 – Employees should have limited access to data and information and installation rights.
8 – Control physical access to your computers and network components.
9 – Physical access to the computers, servers and network devices should be limited to only trusted employees and authorities.
10 – Require changing passwords regularly.
Here at Online Masters Colleges (OMC), we think the solution to Cyberattacks is education in Cyber Security. Professionals responsible for providing Cybersecurity should get a Master’s in Cyber Security degree to provide against these unwanted attacks at the organizations they work in.