Cybersecurity is the approach to protecting the systems and data connected to the internet from malicious cyber attacks. Cybersecurity has two parts to it; cyber and security: while the term cyber refers to the environment that includes technology systems, servers, networks, software applications, devices, and data, security is about protecting the assets in the cyber environment from unauthorized breaches by hackers.
In an organization, the security shield against cyber attacks is built around key security operations such as detection, investigation, and remediation. The people, processes, and technology need to work together to create this security environment. To put it in other words. Cyber Security is the framework of methodologies, technologies, and processes designed to protect online computing resources and digital assets from theft, damage, unauthorized modification, or access.
Today, a lot of activities including matters that involve sensitive and confidential information happen online. A cyber attack can result in risks to individuals and organizations as a result of theft of identity, extortion attempts, and the loss of critical data. Most businesses including banks and financial institutions, healthcare, and governments use various infrastructure setups and environments that connect devices to the Internet as part of their core operations.
Sensitive information such as intellectual property, financial and strategic data, personal data, and business information getting exposed could have negative consequences for the organization. Cybersecurity strategy is a top priority for governments, organizations, and businesses. This is more so for companies and organizations that deal with information related to national security, or financial data.
A cyber attack that compromises the security of online digital assets is carried out by individuals or organizations through different types of malicious activity with the intention to corrupt or steal data, gain unauthorized access to a network, or disrupt digital activities. The ever-evolving cyber threats come in various forms including the following.
This is a type of malicious software developed by cyber criminals to access digital devices and data with the intention of causing damage to a computer and the software running on it. This is arguably one of the most common cyber-attacking methods. The attackers use the following types of malware to disrupt or damage a user's system.
Virus - Software code that spreads from one program to another and from one device to another to clean or delete files, infect programs, files, and devices to make them unusable, and steal information.
Trojan - A type of malware that appears legitimate and thereby fool us into downloading and running.
Spyware - Software that secretly steals information about user activities like credit card or bank account or subscription account details on their system.
Ransomware - A type of malware that infects and encrypts files and data on a device, making them unusable, and then the attackers demand ransom from the user to decrypt the attacked devices and files.
Worms - A software code that spreads copies of itself from device to device without human interaction to steal or damage data and systems.
Botnets - A collection of malware-infected devices planted in the victim's systems or facilities allowing cybercriminals to control them.
This is a type of cyber threat that adversaries adopt to trick you into revealing sensitive information. The attackers who use social engineering methods try to persuade the victim to pay money or gain access to your confidential data. This approach can be combined with any of the threats listed above to gain the victim’s trust to make them more likely to click on links, download malware, or use a malicious source.
This method, one of the most common types of cyber attacks, is the practice of sending fraudulent emails or phone calls, or text messages that appear to the user to have come from genuine sources like reputed organizations. These communications persuade you to click malicious links that redirect you to fraudulent websites which will steal your sensitive and confidential data.
Another type of cyber threat is MITM in which a cybercriminal gets to know of the communications through interception or transfer of data between two individuals or organizations. The cybercriminals place themselves in the middle of a communication between two parties to resort to eves-dropping communication by appearing to be genuine participants. This action provides them with sensitive information and gains access to critical business or customer data.
This type of cyber threat employs the method of attacking by targeting servers, services, or networks by overloading the traffic with a large number of requests. The DDoS methodology is to send requests from many IP addresses to make the system unusable by slowing down the system or temporarily downing the system to the extent of stopping an organization from performing important business functions.
A brute force attack is a type of attack that adopts a trial-and-error method to simulate all possible combinations till the correct information is elicited. Cybercriminals usually use this method of attack to steal personal information, passwords, login info, encryption keys, and Personal Identification Numbers (PINS).
This method is enacted by cybercriminals inserting malicious SQL scripts into the backend databases to manipulate and access sensitive information. Once the script works successfully, the attacker can view, alter, or delete sensitive and confidential information stored in the SQL database.
In this method, cybercriminals make use of flaws in the Domain Name System to redirect site users to fraudulent websites (DNS hijacking) and get hold of data from attacked computers and systems.
An organization’s digital assets are combinations of a variety of different hardware and software systems. Effective cybersecurity requires coordinated efforts across all of their systems. The comprehensive cybersecurity framework involves the following categories of sub-domains:
Network Security: This refers to protecting a computer network from hackers and attackers.
Application Security: This is about protecting software applications and devices from cyber attacks by constantly updating the apps with security patches and updates.
Information or Data Security: This involves securing a data storage system to ensure the integrity and privacy of data.
Identity management: This refers to the level of access that each individual user has within an organization.
Mobile Security: This involves protecting the organizational and personal data stored on mobile devices against various cyber threats.
Cloud Security: This is the process of protecting the systems and data stored in the cloud environment.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: It deals with the plans and processes for managing system downs or data lost due to cyber-attacks and restoring the lost operations back to the storage as before the event.
New cyber threats are emerging at the speed technology is advancing. You’ll need to implement a risk management program that will take care of the existing threats and keep watch on the emerging new threats. Cybersecurity risk management is critical for organizations for smooth business operations and growth.
Such threats can sometimes disrupt businesses and impact operations negatively.
Organizations need talented technical resources to implement and manage cybersecurity risk management. Small and medium organizations that cannot afford such resources need to explore the options that provide talent services on demand like freelance marketplaces like Talent / Task as a Service (TaaS) platforms, to help them manage cyber threats.