What is cyber security?
With the arrival of every new year, follows the arrival of new challenges in the cyberspace for cybersecurity against cybercrime. Being the body of practices, processes, and technologies designed to protect data, devices, programs, and networks from attack, the cyberspace has become a battlefield for cybersecurity to ward off hackers and cybercriminals. With years of struggle, hackers have gotten the upper hand, and to them, your data has either 'been hacked' or 'will be hacked'.
Anyone that uses a computer network is prone to cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals attack computers just to steal sensitive data or information, sometimes to hijack computer networks and lock the users out. This is called Ransomware. Computer users are faced with this threat almost every day. You can boast that you haven't experienced cyberattacks before, but you may have, and you may not know. There is a cyber-attack called Advance Persistent threat, ATP. Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) is one out of the many types of cyber threats that attacks integrity - This happens when an unauthorized user gains access to your network without your knowledge and then stays undetected in the network for a long period.
Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Cybercriminals are taking different forms to attack vulnerable computers or networks, and it is of utmost importance to be careful and always stay informed of their latest forms of attacks so as not to fall victim.
There are so many types of Cyber threats out there, but they all generally fall into three categories which we will briefly discuss. The categories are attacks on Confidentiality, Availability, and Integrity.
Attacks on Confidentiality: These are attacks that are mainly designed to steal confidential information or data. They steal your personal identifying information, including your bank account or credit card details. After a successful attack on your confidentiality, your confidential information is then traded on the dark web for others to purchase and use. This attack exposes one to a financial and moral downturn.
Attacks on availability: This is another type of Cyberattack which aims to block or lock user users out from accessing his or her data until they pay a certain ransom or fee. Typically, a cybercriminal infiltrates the network of unsuspecting computer users or company and then restrict them from accessing their information until they pay a ransom.
Attacks on Integrity: These types of attacks center predominantly on the sabotaging of personal or Enterprise information or data. Cybercriminals will gain access to this information and then try to release it to the general public so that the public will lose interest or trust in that particular organization or person. Just as the name implies, this is an attack on individual or Enterprise personality, image, and integrity.
The above listed are categories that all cyber threats fall into, so lets briefly look at some types of Cyber threats.
1. Advanced Persist Threat (APT): Advanced Persistent Threats (APT), this is an attack on Integrity, this is a kind of attack when an unauthorized user infiltrates a network of an individual, company, or Government sectors undetected for the purpose of mining for information without actually harming the network. APT attacks are usually hard to detect because as the name implies, they are advanced attacks. They cost a lot of money and time to develop. APT is developed to source for highly sensitive information such as a Nation’s Power Grid, Finance industry, National defense, etc.
2. Malware: This enters the computer through different means such as clicking on an insecure link, or through emails. This is a Malicious attack, and this is also a type of attack on availability. This is a Malicious software that’s designed to gain access or damage a computer without the owner knowing anything. Malware does all sorts of things, from stealing data such as login information to completely crashing a computer system. Examples of Malware include Spyware, Key logger, True Viruses, and also Worms.
3. Ransomware: is also an attack on availability, this malicious software is designed to gain access to a computer network while locking and encrypting the network and computer such that the user won’t be able to access the computer unless he or she pays a ransom. Examples of Ransomware include scareware and crypto-malware.
4. Phishing: This is a cyber practice that involves sending fraudulent emails to unsuspecting computer users. These emails always resemble emails from reputable sources. The aim of this is just to steal the users’ data, credit card numbers, pins, and also passwords. A phishing attack is one of the common of social engineering.
5. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks: This is also known as Eavesdropping attacks. Just as the name implies, this occurs when a cyber Intruder imposes himself in the middle of a two-party transaction. By this, the attacker can steal data after he has interrupted the traffic. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks come in two ways,
- Using unsecured Wi-Fi. Connection to a public WiFi that is not secure can lead to Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack and this can lead to a severe data breach.
- An already breached device. A computer system that has already been breached by malware is vulnerable to this type of attack.
6. DNS Tunneling: Attackers use this to disguise outbound traffic like DNS, then proceed to conceal data that is shared by unsuspecting internet users through an internet.
There is no denying the fact that cyber defense tactics are evolving and also on the rise, but while they are evolving, Cybersecurity threats are also evolving. With Cybercriminals multiplying, malicious software taking new forms, politics at the very edge where propagandas and agendas are the order of the day, and terrorists using the internet as their new tool for terrorism. Global connectivity and also the use of Cloud services such as Amazon web services, to store sensitive data and personal information have furthermore increased cybersecurity risk.
Cybersecurity risk is the attack launched by cybercriminals against one or more computers or networks. Cyber attacks are mainly designed or programmed to steal data or sensitive information, they are also designed to use a breached computer as a lunch point for yet another attack. So, let us familiarize ourselves with the three types of cybersecurity risks, and they include Cyber Threats, Cyberattacks, and cyber Terrorism.
Cybercrimes are committed by one or more individuals whose sole aim is to target vulnerable computers or networks.
Cyber-attacks may be committed for political reasons, something that's called hacktivism. They do this to spread political agendas, And also to source for an opponent's vital piece of information. Hacktivism is an example of DoS (Denial of service attack. Which aims to shut down a system to prevent it from getting accessed by the customer. Another example of hacktivism is providing citizens with access to Government censored or classified pages.
Cyber Terrorism is designed to breach electronic or computer systems and then instill panic and fear into the victims. Just like terrorism, the goal of Cyber Terrorism is to gain enough attention to cause panic and fear among civilians as a whole. While terrorists use bombs, Cyberterrorists on the other hand uses the internet.
Cybersecurity is the body of practices, processes, and technologies designed to protect data, devices, programs, and networks from attack. Some data are sensitive information which should be personal, they include intellectual property and financial data among others. They are various types of Cybersecurity and they include;
1. Critical Infrastructure Security: This type of security consist of cyber-physical systems that modern societies rely on. Examples of critical infrastructure include Electricity Grid, Traffic lights, Water purification, Hospitals, etc.
2. Application Security: An application Security is one of the most important security measures to protect your network or systems. It uses both software and hardware method to tackle external threats. The types of Application Security include; Firewall, Encryption, and Antivirus programs.
3. Cloud Security: Cloud security is the software-based security tool that helps users protect theirs on the cloud. Cloud Security is probably the safest security tool right now. This is because cloud providers have been so consistent in the way that they implement new security tools to help users secure their data.
4. Internet of things security (IoT security). This refers to varieties of critical and non-critical Cybersystems. Examples include Television, Wi-Fi, Printer, cameras, etc.
5. Information security: this is otherwise known as InfoSec, it helps to protect both physical and digit data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, and deletion by an unknown party.
6. Data loss Prevention: This consists of developing policies and strategies that will be useful when it comes to handling and Preventing the loss of Data. This also provides recovery policies when a server has been breached. This includes setting network permission for data storage.
7. End-User Education: This is about teaching users to follow the right protocols or procedures when it comes to working on the internet, they include teaching them not to click on suspicious or unknown links attacked to emails, Monitoring their Network server for unusual behavior, etc. Failure to do this may let in malware and other forms of malicious software.
8. Network security: Network security Involves securing a computer network from unauthorized access, whether opportunistic Malwares or targeted attacks
In a world where virtually everything is connected to the internet, the best ways to protect yourself, your network and your business are by staying informed and also being cautious online. Ways by which one can be cautious include;
- Using a trusted website when providing your personal information: This involves checking the URL before accessing the website. A good and secure URL should be Https://, the addition of “s” demarcates that the site is secure. If the “S” is missing, avoid such a URL.
- Avoid Emails with suspicious links. The commonest way people get attacked is by email that’s disguised to have been sent from someone you know or trust.
- Always update your Device and antivirus: Periodic software updates contain patches that help to fix security vulnerabilities.
- Also, invest in security training for your employee. Through negligence from the employee, Cyber Criminals usually gain access to computers and networks thereby making off with sensitive data.
- Always back up your data. Make it a norm to back up all sensitive data to an external file or the cloud. Such that when you get attacked, the damage will be limited.
- Implement Multi-factor identification. This is another cybersecurity tool to mitigate the intrusion of cybercriminals, this type of security that grants access to users only if they can provide something only they know. This is usually a password or a secret question.
- Most importantly, avoid connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network in public places. Unsecured Wi-Fi usually leaves Users vulnerable to attacks. And that is usually a man-in-the-middle type of attack.
- Use a strong password. Your password should be very strong and secure. The best way to create a strong password is by mixing letters together with special symbols and numbers. And refrain from dropping your password to unsecured sites or even to people around you.
- Always be vigilant for strange activities on your network traffic. Always be on the lookout for in and outbound encryption messages on your server.
- Always perform penetration and vulnerability assessment at least once in a while. The best way to mitigate cyber threats is by testing how vulnerable a system is to these types of attacks.
- Always prepare for the worst-case scenario. This means that you should develop an emergency incident response (IR) plans.
Cybersecurity helps to keep our network and data safe from hackers, Cybersecurity also has its own disadvantages, and they include;
- Cost: it may be too costly for an average computer user. Not everyone can afford it.
- Inability to configure the firewall correctly. A lot of people will struggle to get the firewall up and running which at the end of the day, will leave room for Cybercriminals to attack.
- It also makes the system slower than usual. This is as a result of heavy antivirus or any cyber defense software that might have been installed. So this software can make the computer lag and unresponsive.
- The need to update computer or device software to keep the security up to date can consume time, and this sometimes bores users.
But overall, the advantage of Cybersecurity outweighs the disadvantages because it helps protect our Network from Intruders. And it also protects the computer from viruses and malware such as Trojan horse, etc. It also protects the computer from getting hacked by cybercriminals and most importantly, it protects the computer against data theft.