Cyber attacks typically involve illegally accessing, altering, or deleting sensitive information to extort money from users or disrupt corporate activities. Nowadays, these attacks are increasing many folds and are becoming cleverer, making them even more challenging to detect.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks. Cybersecurity measures, also known as information technology (IT) security, are meant to prevent threats to networked systems and applications, whether they come from within or outside an organisation.
A successful cybersecurity approach requires multiple layers of protection for computers and networks. To establish a successful defence, an organisation's people, processes, and technology must complement one another.
The importance of cybersecurity
Trade secrets, government and industry data, personal information, personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property, and protected health information are all examples of sensitive data and are primary targets of many cyber attackers. Having effective cyber defence programs and mechanisms to protect data is vital for both individuals and businesses.
At an individual level, cyber attacks can result in identity theft and extortion attempts, which can be frightening to a person's life.
Organisations and businesses keep significant volumes of confidential and sensitive information in data warehouses, computers, and other devices. In many circumstances, exposing this information can damage trust, the company’s competitiveness, and reputation, not just lost revenues. Types of cyber attacks
Despite endless efforts from cybersecurity experts to eliminate security gaps, attackers are continually seeking new ways to avoid detection and exploit new weaknesses. Cyberattacks occur in several ways. Here are some basic types that harm thousands of individuals every day.
The term malware refers to malicious software such as spyware, ransomware, and viruses. It infiltrates networks by exploiting a vulnerability, such as clicking on questionable email links or installing a dangerous program. The malware gathers valuable information once inside a network, develops additional dangerous software throughout the system, and even restricts access to critical corporate network components.
Phishing is the act of sending harmful communications (typically emails) that appear to come from well-known, trustworthy sources. To persuade victims to click on malicious links, these emails imitate the same names, logos, and content from real companies or someone you know and so on. Once clicked, cyber thieves will then have access to personal information such as credit cards, social security numbers, and login credentials.
3. Social engineering
The technique of mentally manipulating someone into giving personal information is known as social engineering. Phishing is a type of social engineering in which thieves use people's natural curiosity or trust to their advantage. Voice manipulation is an example of more advanced social engineering. In this case, cybercriminals use a person's voice (from sources such as a voicemail or a social media post) to phone friends or family and request their credit card or other personal information.
4. Man-in-the-middle attack
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks occur when criminals disrupt a two-party transaction's traffic. Criminals, for example, can step in when an individual uses their personal device to access a public Wi-Fi network. They can occasionally read all a victim's information undetected if the victim does not have access to a secure Wi-Fi connection.
5. Zero-day attack
Zero-day attacks are getting more widespread now than ever. These attacks take place between the moment a network vulnerability is announced and a patch solution is released. Most companies will report that they have discovered an issue with their network security for transparency and as a part of their security process, and some criminals will use this chance to launch assaults before the company can provide a security fix.
The best method to stop any severe cyberattack is to use a multi-layer cybersecurity approach. Malware that damage anything from mobile phones to Wi-Fi can be combated using a mix of firewalls, software, and a variety of technologies.
Here are some of the strategies used by cybersecurity specialists to counteract the onslaught of cyberattacks.
1. Securing against malware
Securing against malware is surely one of the most serious issues today. To avoid any suspicious behaviour from happening, you need anti-virus software. Typically, these packages include tools that do anything from alerting you about dangerous websites to identifying highly unsafe communications.
2. Mobile security
Mobile phones are one of the most vulnerable and common targets for cyberattacks, and the issue is only becoming worse. The loss of a device is the number one fear among cybersecurity specialists. Leaving your phone unattended at the back of your car or forgetting it at a restaurant happens more often than you may think. To prevent your phone from falling into the wrong hands, you can set up multi-factor authentication. If you do happen to misplace your device, there are technologies that can help you virtually lock it.
3. Web browser security and the cloud
Browser security refers to the process of securing internet-connected, networked data against breaches or viruses. Pop-up blockers included in anti-virus browser software merely notify or block spammy, risky websites and advertisements, not actually helping you proactively eliminate the risks. Nowadays, some of the advanced approaches you can implement are two-factor authentication, security-focused browser plug-ins, and encrypted browsers.
Read more: Data Protection: Are Passwords Obsolete?
4. Wi-fi security
Using public Wi-Fi can expose you to a lot of man-in-the-middle cyberattacks. Cybersecurity experts recommend using the most up-to-date software and avoiding password-protected sites that store personal information (banking, social media, email, etc.) to prevent these attacks.
Additionally, you can consider implementing virtual private networks (VPNs), which encrypt your wireless connection, thus providing a secure network so you will not become the next target for a cyberattack while browsing on public Wi-Fi.
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