What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the practice of defending against malicious attacks on servers, computers, mobile devices, networks, electronic systems, and data. Additionally, it is referred to as information technology security or electronic information security. The term is used in a variety of contexts, from business to mobile computing, and can be classified into a few broad categories.

Network security is the process of defending a computer network against intruders, whether they are deliberate attackers or opportunistic malware.

Application security is concerned with ensuring that software and devices are free of threats. A compromised application may allow access to the data it was designed to safeguard. The secure design begins well before a program or device is deployed.

Information security safeguards the integrity and privacy of data during storage and transmission.

Operational security encompasses the processes and decisions involved in the management and protection of data assets. Permissions granted to users when they connect to a network and the policies that govern how and where data may be stored or shared, all fall under this umbrella.

Disaster recovery and business continuity are terms that refer to an organization’s response to a cyber-security incident or another occurrence that results in the loss of operations or data. Disaster recovery policies define how an organization restores operations and data to its pre-event state. Business continuity is the contingency plan that an organization uses when it is unable to operate due to a lack of certain resources.

End-user education focuses on the most unpredictable aspect of cyber security and that is – PEOPLE. By failing to follow sound security practices, anyone can inadvertently introduce a virus into an otherwise secure system. Teaching users to delete suspicious email attachments, avoid plugging in unknown USB drives, and a variety of other critical lessons is critical for an organization’s security.

The scale of the Cyber Threat

Global cyber threats continue to evolve at a breakneck pace, with the number of data breaches increasing year after year. According to a report by RiskBased Security, data breaches exposed an astounding record of 7.9 billion in the first nine months of 2019. This figure is nearly double (112 percent) the number of records exposed during the same period last year.

Medical services, retailers, and public entities were the most frequently breached sectors, with malicious criminals committing the majority of incidents. While some of these sectors are more attractive to cybercriminals due to their collection of financial and medical data, any business that uses networks is susceptible to data theft, corporate espionage, or customer attacks.

With the cyber threat continuing to grow in scope, the International Data Corporation forecasts that global spending on cyber-security solutions will reach a whopping $133.7 billion by 2022. Governments throughout the world have issued guidance to assist organizations in implementing effective cyber-security practices.

A cyber-security framework has been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States to combat the spread of malicious code and aid in early detection, the framework recommends that all electronic resources be monitored continuously and in real-time.

The importance of system monitoring is echoed in the National Cyber Security Centre’s “10 steps to cyber security” guidance. In Australia, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) publishes guidance on how organisations can defend against emerging cyber-security threats regularly.

Types of Cyber Threats

Cybersecurity around the world combats three types of threats:

1. Cybercrime refers to individuals or groups of individuals who target systems for financial gain or to cause disruption.

2. Cyber-attacks frequently involve the collection of politically motivated information.

3. Cyberterrorism is intended to cause panic or fear by undermining electronic systems.

Therefore, how do malicious actors gain access to computer systems? The following are some of the most frequently used methods for undermining cyber-security:

Malware

Malware is shorthand for malicious software. Malware is one of the most prevalent cyber threats. It is software that has been created by a cybercriminal or hacker with the intent of disrupting or damaging a legitimate user’s computer. Malware, which is frequently distributed via unsolicited email attachments or legitimate-looking downloads, is frequently used by cybercriminals to earn money or carry out politically motivated cyberattacks.

Malware comes in a variety of forms, including the following:

Virus: A self-replicating program that infects clean files and spreads throughout a computer system, infecting them with malicious code.

Trojans: Malware that masquerades as legitimate software. Cybercriminals

dupe users into installing Trojans on their computers, which cause damage or collect data.

Spyware: A program that secretly records what a user does for cybercriminals to exploit the data. For instance, spyware may be used to steal credit card information.

Ransomware: Malware that encrypts a user’s files and data and threatens to delete them unless a ransom is paid.

Adware: Advertising software that is capable of spreading malware.

Botnets: Cybercriminals use networks of malware-infected computers to perform tasks online without the user’s permission.

SQL Injection

SQL injection is a type of cyber-attack that is used to gain control of and steal data from a database. Cybercriminals use data-driven application vulnerabilities to inject malicious

code into a database via a malicious SQL statement. This grants them access to the database’s sensitive data.

Phishing

Phishing occurs when cyber criminals send victims emails purporting to be from a legitimate business requesting sensitive information. Phishing attacks are frequently used to dupe

individuals into divulging credit card information and other personal information.

Man-in-the-middle attack

A man-in-the-middle attack is a

type of cyber threat in which a cybercriminal intercepts communication between

two parties with the intent of stealing data. For instance, an attacker could intercept data passing between the victim’s device and the network over an insecure WiFi network.

Denial-of-service attack

A denial-of-service attack occurs when cybercriminals overload networks and servers with traffic to prevent a computer system from fulfilling legitimate requests. This renders the system inoperable, impeding an organization’s ability to perform critical functions.

Latest cyber threats

What are the most recent cyber threats to which individuals and organizations must be vigilant? The following are some of the most recent cyber threats reported by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.

Dridex Malware

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) charged the leader of an organized cyber-criminal group in December 2019 for their involvement in a global Dridex malware attack. This malicious campaign had a worldwide impact on the public, government, infrastructure, and business. Dridex is a financial trojan that possesses a wide variety of capabilities. Since 2014, it has infected computers via phishing emails or pre-existing malware. Capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and personal information that can be used to commit fraud,it has resulted in massive financial losses totaling hundreds of millions. In response to the Dridex attacks, the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre advises the public to “ensure that devices are patched, anti-virus software is turned on and kept up to date, and that files are backed up.”

Scams involving romance

In February 2020, the FBI warned citizens in the United States to be cautious of confidence fraud perpetrated by cybercriminals through dating sites, chat rooms, and apps. Perpetrators prey on people looking for new partners, duping victims into disclosing personal information.

According to the FBI, romance cyber threats impacted 114 victims in New Mexico in 2019, resulting in financial losses of $1.6 million.

Emotet Malware

The Australian Cyber Security Centre warned national organizations in late 2019 about a widespread global cyber threat posed by the Emotet malware. Emotet is a sophisticated Trojan that is capable of stealing data and also infecting computers with other malware. Emotet thrives on simple passwords, serving as a reminder of the critical nature of creating a secure password to protect against cyber threats.

End-user protection

End-user protection, alternatively known as endpoint security, is a critical component of cyber security. After all, it is frequently the case that an individual (the end-user) uploads malware or another type of cyber threat to their desktop, laptop, or mobile device by accident. Thus, how are cyber-security measures designed to safeguard end-users and systems? To begin, cyber-security encrypts emails, files, and other critical data using cryptographic protocols. This safeguards information not only during transmission but also against loss or theft.

Additionally, end-user security software scans computers for malicious code, quarantines it, and then deletes it. Security programs are also capable of detecting and removing malicious code hidden in the Master Boot Record (MBR) and are designed to encrypt or wipe data from the hard drive of the computer.

Electronic security protocols emphasize real-time malware detection. Numerous vendors employ heuristic and behavioral analysis to monitor a program’s and its code’s behavior to protect against viruses or Trojans that change their shape with each execution

(polymorphic and metamorphic malware). Security programs can isolate

potentially malicious programs from the rest of the user’s network to analyze their behavior and improve their detection of new infections.

As cyber-security professionals identify new threats and new ways to combat them, security programs continue to evolve new defenses. Employees must be educated on how to use end-user security software to get the most out of it. Most importantly, keeping it running and

regularly updating it ensures that it can protect users from the latest cyber threats.

Cyber Security Tips – How To Protect Yourself From Cyberattacks

How can businesses and individuals protect themselves from cyber threats? Our top cyber safety tips include the following:

1. Keep your software and operating system up to date: This ensures you have the most up-to-date security patches.

2. Use anti-virus software: Anti-virus software such as Kaspersky Total Security detects and eliminates threats. Maintain an up-to-date version of your software to ensure the highest level of protection.

3. Use strong passwords: Ensure that your passwords are difficult to guess.

4. Avoid opening email attachments from unknown senders: They may contain malware.

5. Avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown senders or unfamiliar websites: This is a frequent method of malware distribution.

6. Avoid using public WiFi networks that are not secure: Unsecured networks exposeyou to man-in-the-middle attacks.

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Shruti Saini is an enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert at NJYP (New Jersey Young Professionals, USA). Working as a freelancer with the job responsibilities of On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, HTML/WordPress Website Maintenance, Social Media Optimization, etc.

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