What is Cyber Security?
The term cyber security is often confused with the definition of information security, also called as ‘IT security’. IT security is the protection of information system and information from any unauthorized access, disclosure, use, modification, disruption or destruction to provide integrity, availability, and confidentiality.
Importance of Cyber Security in Today’s Era
Cyber security is a subset of IT security. It is defined as the technologies and the processes constructed to protect the computer, software, computer hardware data and network from any authorized access, vulnerabilities supplied through the Internet by cyber criminals, terrorist groups, and hackers. It is designed to protect your internet and all the network-based digital equipment and information from any authorized access and modification of data.
In a computing context, security comprises cyber security and physical security. Both are used by enterprises to protect against unauthorized access to data centers and other computerized systems. Information security, which is specially designed to maintain the integrity, confidentiality and the availability of the data is the part of cyber security.
Now in this era internet is not just the only source of information but it serves as a medium where businesses carries out the advertisement of the products across the globe in a very short period of time with very less human effort to sell those products and to communicate with the customers and retailers as well as to do their financial transactions.
The internet was never constructed to trace and track user behavior. Its actual purpose is to link the autonomous computers for sharing their resources and to provide community researchers with a common platform.
Internet comes with a lot of benefits but on the other hand, it also provides numbers of equal opportunities to hackers and cyber-terrorists.
They use the internet for a variety of purposes like a gathering of information and dissemination of it for illicit purposes. The internet is also used to ease communication within the terrorist groups.
In recent years, cyber security has come under intense media scrutiny due to the rapid development of cyber risks in both size and number, and the degree of impact on individuals, governments, and organizations. Most well-informed organizations now consider cyber-security a critical business issue.
Cyber-attacks can cause significant disruption and damage to even the most resilient organization. Impacted organizations stand to lose assets, reputation, and business, and face fines and remediation costs.
Elements of Cyber Security
A strong cyber security posture hinges on a systematic approach that encompasses
Web application development vulnerabilities are a common point of intrusion for cyber criminals. As applications play an increasingly critical role in business, organizations urgently need to focus on web application security to protect their customers, their interests and their assets.
Network security is the process of protecting the usability and integrity of your network and data. This is usually achieved by conducting a network penetration test, which aims to assess your network for vulnerabilities and security issues in servers, hosts, devices, and network services.
Operational security protects your organization’s core functions by tracking critical information and the assets that interact with it to identify vulnerabilities.
Human error remains the leading cause of data breaches. Your cyber security strategy is only as strong as your weakest link, so organizations need to make sure that every employee knows how to spot and deal with the threats or risks they may face, whether it’s not becoming a phishing victim, not sharing passwords, or being cautious about public Wi-Fi.
Leadership Commitment and Involvement
Leadership commitment is the key to the successful implementation of any cyber security project. Without it, it is very difficult to establish or enforce effective processes. Top management must also be prepared to invest in appropriate cyber security resources, whether it’s hiring qualified people, awareness training programs or investing in new technology.
Importance of Cyber Security
The cost of cyber-attack is all time very high and the incident of intrusion can take months to discovered by the third party. Like the advanced persistent threats use the continuous hacking techniques to gain access to a computer system and it can remain within the system for months before any intrusion is observed. The job of the cyber-security is to continuously monitor and manage information security risks and streamline the mapping of assets, vulnerabilities, and controls to enable continuous compliance.
The costs of Data Breaches
The privacy laws that are emerging now have significant fines for the organization. The high profile general data protection regulation has a maximum fine of 20 million euro or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater. There are other non-financial costs to the organization which is its reputation that is damaged and its sustainability.
Sophisticated Cyber Attacks
Cyber-attacks continue to grow in sophistication, with attackers using an ever-expanding variety of tactics including social engineering, malware, and ransomware used for Petya, WannaCry, and NotPetya.
Cyber Attacks are Lucrative
The cyber-attackers usually seek some kind of benefit and they will invest in various techniques, technology, and tools to gain their aims. The financial gain is the most common aim of the cyber-attackers but they may also be driven by political, ethical, intellectual or social incentives.
A Critical, Board-level Issue
New regulations and reporting requirements make cyber-security risk a challenge. The board will continue to seek assurances from management that their cyber-risk strategies will reduce the risk of attacks and limit financial and operational impacts. A strong cyber-security stance is a key defense against cyber-related failures and errors and malicious cyber-attacks. So, having the right cyber-security measures in place to protect your organization is vital to automate and enforce processes for IT security risk management and compliance. Cyber-security also ensures compliance with the leading federal, defense, and industry security standards.
The Three Pillars of Data Security
The information security and cyber security both involve the implementation of controls based on three pillars that are people, processes and technology. These three pillars help the organization to protect them from the opportunistic and organized attacks by the cyber-attackers as well as common internal threats, such as a user falling for a phishing scam or mistakenly sending an email to an unintended recipient. Effective cybersecurity uses risk management to ensure these controls are implemented cost-effectively.
An employee working in the organization must be aware of their role in preventing and reducing cyber threats and the employees who are dedicated to cyber-security need to keep up to date with the emerging cyber risks and their solutions as well as qualifications to mitigate and respond to cyber-attacks effectively.
The processes are crucial for communicating the organization’s cyber security stance. The processes that are in documented form, should clearly define the roles and responsibilities and also specify the procedure to follow while reporting any suspicious email or activity. The cyber landscape is continuously changing so the processes should be reviewed regularly to account for the latest cyber threats and responses.
While organizational measures are a big part of cyber security, technical controls are just as essential. From access controls to installing antivirus software, technology can be deployed to mitigate cyber risks.
Cyber Attacks and Threats
Cyber-security is becoming a complex undertaking as cyber threats are continuously evolving. The cyber criminals and cyber attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics due to the lucrative nature. Below are a few common cyber-attacks and threats.
Phishing is an old but still a very popular tactic it is a social engineering attack that is used to trick people to disclose their confidential and sensitive information. They are not easy to differentiate from the original message and these scams can cause an enormous amount of damage to organizations.
Social engineering comes in many more types than just phishing and it is always used to manipulate and deceive victims to get their sensitive and confidential information to gain access to their computer system. To achieve this, the cyber attackers trick the users by clicking to malicious links or by physically gaining access to a computer through deception.
A DDoS attack is done to disturb the normal web traffic and take a site offline by flooding a system, server or network with more requests than a server can handle.
A virus is a piece of malicious code that is loaded into the user’s computer without the user knowing it. It can replicate itself very fast and can spread to the other computers by attaching itself with the files of a computer.
The Worms are much like the virus and they are capable of self-replicating, but they don’t need to attach with any file or program. They are continuously looking for the vulnerabilities and if they find any weakness they report to their creators.
It is a very broad term that is used to describe any file or a program that is intended to harm a computer and encompasses Trojans, worms, viruses, social engineering, and spyware.
A Trojan is a type of malware that disguises itself as legitimate software, such as virus removal programs, but performs malicious activity when executed.
Ransomware is one of the most fastest-growing forms of cyber-attack. It is the type of malware that demands the payment from the victim after encrypting the victim’s files and making files inaccessible for them. But there is also a risk that after getting attacked and paying the ransom to the attackers, it does not guarantee the recovery of the encrypted data.
It can be installed on the victim’s computer without even knowing. When the victims click on the malicious link sent by the cyber attackers or any software coded by the cyber attackers. It collects all the sensitive and confidential information and monitors the activity of the victim’s computer.
It occurs when an attacker inserts the malicious code into any server that uses the SQL. This is only possible when there is a security vulnerability that exists in applications software. Once it has successfully into the system it will force the server to provide access to or modify data.
Cyber criminals are continuously searching and identifying new loopholes in the systems, networks, and applications to exploit them. These activities are conducted through automated attacks and these can affect anyone and anywhere in the world.
When using outdated software, open up the opportunities for the cyber attackers to take advantage of this vulnerability into the system and use this to bring the whole system down. A zero-day exploit can occur when a vulnerability is made public before a patch or solution has been rolled out by the developer.
The use of cyber-security has now become pivotal to help prevent against cyber-attacks, data breaches, and identity theft and can aid in risk management. When an organization has a strong sense of network security and an effective incident response plan, it is better able to prevent and mitigate these attacks. The most effective strategy to mitigating and minimizing the effects of a cyber-attack is to build a solid foundation upon which to grow your cyber security technology stack. It defends information and guards against loss or theft while also scanning computers for malicious code. It also protects networks and data from unauthorized access. When an effective cyber-security is in place, it helps business continuity due to increased stakeholder confidence in the company’s information security arrangements and improved the company’s credentials. It also helps in faster recovery times in the event of a breach.
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About The Author
My name is Stuti Dhruv & I am senior consultant at Aalpha, primarily working on pre sales, consulting with clients on latest technology trends.