What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks. Also known as information technology (IT) security, cybersecurity measures are designed to combat threats against networked systems and applications, whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organization.
Cybersecurity is a part of information security that relates to the protection of computers, networks, programs and data against unauthorized access. As cybersecurity includes the protection of both company and personal data, the fields of cybersecurity and data protection overlap. The security objectives of confidentiality, integrity and availability are of paramount importance to both elements of information security

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Types of Cyber Security

1. Critical infrastructure security
Concerns the protection of systems, networks and assets whose continuous operation is deemed necessary to ensure the security of a given nation, its economy, and the public’s health and/or safety. Examples include hospitals, electricity grids and traffic lights.

2. Application security
A set of best practices, functions and/or features added to an organization’s software to help prevent and remediate threats from cyberattacks, data breaches and other sources. Examples include antivirus programs, firewalls and encryption programs that prevent unauthorized access.

3. Network security
Works to act against unauthorized intrusion of internal networks. It protects the internal infrastructure by inhibiting access to it. Examples include extra logins, new passwords and monitored internet access.

4. Cloud security
Protects cloud platforms, services and data against unauthorized access and disruption through access management, network security and secure cloud configurations. Examples of security in cloud include encryption and disaster recovery.

5. Internet of Things security
Internet of Things (IoT)—networks of connected devices, appliances and machines embedded with software and sensors that can send and receive data through the internet—offers new opportunities and impressive growth potential, but it also creates new vulnerabilities. IoT security requires innovative ways of thinking to defend the enterprise and its customers against attackers and data abuses.

Importance of Cyber Security

Cybersecurity is important because it protects all categories of data from theft and damage. This includes sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information systems.
Without a cybersecurity program, your organization cannot defend itself against data breach campaigns, which makes it an irresistible target for cybercriminals.
Both inherent risk and residual risk is increasing, driven by global connectivity and usage of cloud services, like Amazon Web Services, to store sensitive data and personal information. Widespread poor configuration of cloud services paired with increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals means the risk that your organization suffers from a successful cyber attack or data breach is on the rise.
Business leaders can no longer solely rely on out-of-the-box cybersecurity solutions like antivirus software and firewalls, cybercriminals are getting smarter and their tactics are becoming more resilient to conventional cyber defences.

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Cyber threats can come from any level of your organization. Workplaces must not include cybersecurity awareness training to educate staff about common cyber threats like social engineering scams, phishing, ransomware attacks (think WannaCry), and other malware designed to steal intellectual property or personal data.
The proliferation of data breaches means that cybersecurity is not just relevant to heavily regulated industries, like healthcare. Even small businesses are at risk of suffering irrecoverable reputational damage following a data breach.
To help you understand the importance of cyber security, we've compiled a post explaining the different elements of cybercrime you may not be aware of.
If you're not yet worried about cybersecurity risks, you should be.

Cybersecurity Threats

1. Malware
Malware is malicious software such as spyware, ransomware, viruses and worms. Malware is activated when a user clicks on a malicious link or attachment, which leads to installing dangerous software. Cisco reports that malware, once activated, can:

  • Block access to key network components (ransomware)
  • Install additional harmful software
  • Covertly obtain information by transmitting data from the hard drive (spyware)
  • Disrupt individual parts, making the system inoperable

2. Emotet
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) describes Emotet as “an advanced, modular banking Trojan that primarily functions as a downloader or dropper of other banking Trojans. Emotet continues to be among the most costly and destructive malware.”

3. Denial of Service
A denial of service (DoS) is a type of cyber attack that floods a computer or network so it can’t respond to requests. A distributed DoS (DDoS) does the same thing, but the attack originates from a computer network. Cyber attackers often use a flood attack to disrupt the “handshake” process and carry out a DoS. Several other techniques may be used, and some cyber attackers use the time that a network is disabled to launch other attacks. A botnet is a type of DDoS in which millions of systems can be infected with malware and controlled by a hacker, according to Jeff Melnick of Netwrix, an information technology security software company. Botnets, sometimes called zombie systems, target and overwhelm a target’s processing capabilities. Botnets are in different geographic locations and hard to trace.

4. Man in the Middle
A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack occurs when hackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. After interrupting the traffic, they can filter and steal data, according to Cisco. MITM attacks often occur when a visitor uses an unsecured public Wi-Fi network. Attackers insert themselves between the visitor and the network, and then use malware to install software and use data maliciously.

5. Phishing
Phishing attacks use fake communication, such as an email, to trick the receiver into opening it and carrying out the instructions inside, such as providing a credit card number. “The goal is to steal sensitive data like credit card and login information or to install malware on the victim’s machine,” Cisco reports.

6. SQL Injection
A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection is a type of cyber attack that results from inserting malicious code into a server that uses SQL. When infected, the server releases information. Submitting the malicious code can be as simple as entering it into a vulnerable website search box.

7. Password Attacks
With the right password, a cyber attacker has access to a wealth of information. Social engineering is a type of password attack that Data Insider defines as “a strategy cyber attackers use that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking people into breaking standard security practices.” Other types of password attacks include accessing a password database or outright guessing.