Cybersecurity is also known as Information Technology security. Generally, it constitutes of the disciplines and systems used to protect computing assets from unauthorized access, attack or damage.
Why do we need cybersecurity?
Today, a lot of sensitive information is shared on the internet. Many companies are moving their entire operation only forcing subscribers to seek services over the internet. While this is a good thing considering the kind of flexibility it brings, it also means that personal information is endangered.
Ill meaning attackers can access this information and use it for the wrong purposes. These Cyber attacks are becoming more rampant with the advancement in technology and thus the need for cybersecurity. There’s a lot of sensitive information that needs to be protected, like personal information and digital financial transactions.
Anything connected to a smart device or a computer, or needs an internet connection to run should be cyber secured. These include
- financial systems such as paychecks and bank accounts,
- communication systems such as emails and messages, government databases such as tax records and licenses,
- educational systems such as grades and thesis information,
- medical and transportation systems such as medical reports
- Traffic control systems.
Cybersecurity thrives on its own principles which include integrity, confidentiality and availability. A user should be able to access the right information, be ensured that data remains unaltered and that the private information is not accessible to the wrong person.
Who is vulnerable?
You might think only the big fish like governments and organizations are at risk, but in reality, every person with access to devices, networks, data and programs is vulnerable. The internet has made it so easy for attackers to access and use sophisticated malware. Even people who have no dependable computer background can teach themselves to use these cyber attack tools and cause unimaginable harm to computer systems.
This, therefore, makes everyone using electronic systems or the internet a target of cybercrime. In fact, you might be a victim of cybercrime without even realizing it. Tell me if this sounds familiar:
Ever had an instance where you are browsing then a false threat alert pops up, claiming your phone or PC has a virus? Or gotten a spam email that needed you to click a certain link? Yes, that was a cyber attack in disguise.
By clicking such links you introduce malware into your device without even knowing it. Cyber attackers will then use the malware to manipulate your data, giving them access to all your sensitive information including your friends’ and family. They can hack your accounts, send messages to your contacts as you or even worse steal from your bank account.
Other cyber attackers may impersonate officials of different organizations and call you, asking about one thing or the other, and usually personal or financial related information. These are all acts of a con artist and unless you’re well educated and protected, you can fall for such scams without any second thoughts.
As a result, many companies are willing to invest heavily in cybersecurity in order to protect user sensitive user information. For example, in 2014 about $71.1 billion was spent on cybersecurity. This figure grew to $75 billion in 2015 and expected to grow exponentially to $170 billion by 2020.
What has to be done to prevent cyber attacks?
Cybersecurity begins with you as a person. Although we can trust the companies that have our personal information to protect them, there are also a few things you can do on your end to ensure that you do not fall victim to cybercrimes.
The first thing you can do is enlighten yourself on the basics of cybersecurity. There are many courses online that will teach how to protect yourself and other people online. Cyber Secure Central has some of the best courses which you can take advantage of if you are looking to be a cybersecurity expert.
If you are a company, investing in cybersecurity is the most prudent business decision you can ever make. While this kind of investment can be costly, it is nothing compared to the losses you will suffer if your systems are breached and sensitive user data stolen or leaked to the public.
On a personal level, you can install an anti-malware and a trusted antivirus program on your PC or smartphone. Do not give out personal information to an anonymous caller or email sender. Completely ignore any false threat alert; also known as scareware and don’t open any email appearing in your spam folder unless you are sure where it came from.
These are just primary measures taken to avoid being a victim of cyber crimes. You need to invest in tight cybersecurity, especially if you have a business or handle a lot of data concerning a larger group of people. Cyber attacks evolve by the day, with attackers inventing new ways of committing cyber crimes to their benefits. For instance, a while back, cybersecurity resources where focused on perimeter security. They protected and defended only their crucial system components against known threats. That is no longer a reliable way, giving preference to more adaptive and proactive approaches.
The need for Cyber Security Experts
For a large company holding enormous user information, the need for a cybersecurity expert is undebatable.
You need a cybersecurity expert who is well informed and competent. Cyber Secure Central is a very good example of such.
There are different aspects of cybersecurity. One needs to understand the modern security environment, how attackers work, what tools they use, what are the vulnerabilities targeted, what they are really after and the cyber threat landscape. In addition, a top-down approach that efficiently deals with major challenges such as zero-day attacks, budgetary constraints, kill chains, ransomware and alert fatigue is essential.
These experts should conduct a cyber risk assessment effectively. It’s a process that involves three factors: first, identify the most valuable information that needs protection then identify the threats and risks it and outline the damage incurred in case of a breach. After this, develop and implement a plan to curb cyber risks and threats. It should also consider the regulations of handling data by the user to ensure effective detection and response to security incidences.