Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and digital information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, or destruction. It involves implementing measures to prevent, detect, and respond to various types of cyber threats and attacks.
The amount of data breaches each year is increasing as the worldwide cyber threat develops quickly. According to a survey from RiskBased Security, data breaches have exposed an astonishing 7.9 billion records in just the first nine months of 2019. When compared to the same period in 2018, this amount is more than double (112%) the number of records disclosed.
The most breaches happened in the medical industry, retail, and public sector, with malicious criminals being most often to blame. Because they gather financial and medical data, some of these industries are more interesting to cybercriminals than others, but any firms that use networks might be the target of customer data theft, corporate espionage, or customer attacks.
In the U.S., the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a cyber-security framework. To combat the proliferation of malicious code and aid in early detection, the framework recommends continuous, real-time monitoring of all electronic resources.
Types of cyber threats:
CyberCrime: Individuals or groups targeting systems for harm or financial gain constitute cybercrime.
Cyber-attack: often involves politically motivated information gathering.
Cyberterrorism: is intended to undermine electronic systems to cause panic or fear.
Malware: Malware refers to harmful software. Malware is software that cybercriminals or hackers have developed to disrupt or harm a genuine user’s computer. It is one of the most prevalent cyber hazards. Malware is frequently sent by an unauthorised email attachment or a download that appears legitimate. It can be used by cybercriminals to steal money or launch cyberattacks with political motivations.
To mitigate these threats, cybersecurity professionals employ various preventive and defensive measures, including:
- Firewalls and Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS): These systems monitor network traffic and block or alert against suspicious or malicious activities.
- Antivirus and Anti-malware software: These tools detect and remove or quarantine malicious software from systems.
- Encryption: The process of encoding data to make it unreadable to unauthorized users, ensuring secure transmission and storage.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA): Requiring users to provide additional verification factors, such as a fingerprint, token, or SMS code, to access sensitive information or systems.
- Regular software updates and patches: Keeping operating systems, applications, and firmware up to date with the latest security fixes and enhancements.
- Employee training and awareness programs: Educating individuals about common cyber threats, best practices for data protection, and how to identify and report potential security incidents.
Cybersecurity is an ongoing and evolving field, as cybercriminals continually develop new techniques and attack vectors. It requires a proactive and multi-layered approach to safeguarding digital assets and maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.