Cybersecurity is a term that refers to the measures taken to protect electronic information from theft or damage, along with ensuring that electronic devices and data are protected from misuse. Cybersecurity can apply to hardware, software, and information online, and is used to protect anything from your personal information stored on your device to complex government systems.
Cybersecurity measures include the prevention, detection, and response to cyberattacks. These measures need to be put in place due to the fact that any information stored on any electronic device such as a computer or stored online can be hacked. Without the proper measures in place, there is a much higher risk of the information getting into the wrong hands. But the good news is that the right measures can prevent the information from theft or damage. Since the world has become more reliant than ever before on computers, electronic devices and cloud-based internet storage, cybersecurity is becoming more and more essential by the day.
Cybersecurity ranges from very simple to very complex. Chances are that you use some basic cybersecurity measures in your everyday life, such as using a password or passcode on your device to prevent hacking. Using anti-virus software and updating your OS regularly are some other simple and common methods that most people today will use to prevent a cyberattack.
Specific measures may be taken depending on the attack type when a system is either at risk of an attack or has been attacked. For example, encryption is one common method that is used to prevent a cyberattack, while certain antivirus programs can be installed and used to detect suspicious online activity and block any attempted software attacks.
To ensure the security and protection of any device or system, it’s important to first make sure that you understand the vulnerabilities and risks specific to that device or network and whether or not they can be exploited by hackers.
Cybersecurity measures and strategies need to be consistently and constantly updated and adjusted to new developments and technologies, to ensure that they stay one step ahead of hackers as cybercriminals regularly adapt their methods to get around new cybersecurity measures and render them ineffective as a result.
A cyberattack can have a wide-ranging effect on anybody that it impacts, from individuals to businesses, and government organizations. Some of the common problems that can be caused as the result of a cyberattack include identity theft, financial loss, and damage to the reputation of a company or agency, particularly if the attack involves the theft or leaking of private customer data. There are many different cyberattack types that both individuals and cybersecurity professionals need to be aware of and vigilant for. Some of the most common cyberattacks include:
Phishing is a type of social engineering that occurs when a message appears to have been sent from a trusted source. However, the message, which is typically a text message or email, is actually designed to fool the recipient into thinking that it’s safe to reply or click through a link, while in reality, it’s designed by cybercriminals. Successfully tricking the recipient with this message could lead to them sharing sensitive information such as passwords with the hacker. It’s one of the most common attacks on consumers, but it can also be used to hack businesses, for example, by posing as a bank or another trusted company to fool an employee into sharing sensitive data or providing access to the system.
This attack involves the theft of information as it is transmitted over a network by a connected device such as a smartphone or computer. To carry out this type of attack, a cybercriminal will take advantage of an unsecured network communication, allowing them to access data as it is being sent or received by the user. This type of attack is not very common these days with most networks secured to protect against them. However, there is a higher risk of them occurring on public Wi-Fi networks, which is why it’s always important to encrypt your data with a VPN or avoid doing anything sensitive on your device when connected while out and about.
Malware refers to malicious software that’s intended to damage a computer or network. There are various different types of malware including spyware, worms, viruses, and ransomware. Malware is usually downloaded unknowingly onto a computer by the user, through clicking a link or opening an email attachment that will then automatically install the malware, often with the user completely unaware of what has happened.
Denial of Service Attacks
The rightful user is prevented from accessing a system during a denial-of-service attack. One common type of method that is used for this type of cyberattack is entering an incorrect password enough times to lock the account.
Common Cyberattack Targets
Any individual or system is at some level of cyberattack risk in the world today, which is why cybersecurity professionals are in such high demand. If you are interested in learning more about keeping systems secure, developing cybersecurity software or working on behalf of businesses or government agencies to improve security, an online cyber security masters program from SBU might be ideal for you.
When it comes to cyberattack targets, larger entities such as government systems and businesses are often the main targets of these attacks, due to the larger amount of valuable information that they store. For example, the Department of Homeland Security uses high-tech cybersecurity strategies to ensure that sensitive government information is kept safe from other countries and individual hackers.
Financial systems that store financial information such as credit and debit card details from its users are also at some of the highest level of risk, since the ability to access these accounts often leads to hackers being able to directly steal money from people. Large businesses tend to be big targets, since they will store a lot of personal information on their extensive employee network that hackers can exploit. Over the past five years, cyberattacks have commonly targeted manufacturing, healthcare, government, transportation, and financial services. Hackers will also often target any systems that control infrastructure such as energy networks and telecommunications.
How to Get into Cybersecurity
With cyberattacks becoming more frequent, it’s no surprise that there is a growing need for cybersecurity professionals around the world today. High demand, generous starting salaries, and the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a wide range of industries and for various different organizations are just some of the main reasons to consider getting into a cybersecurity career.
Often, people who have some previous experience working in IT will have the skills required to excel in a cybersecurity career including the fundamentals of computer science, attention to detail, creative and technical problem-solving, programming knowledge, and an ability to clearly communicate about technical subjects. However, previous experience in IT is not always required for those who want to start a career in cybersecurity, with many companies willing to offer training from the ground up and various training programs and degree programs to consider that will prepare you for working in this role.
Skills You’ll Need to Work in Cybersecurity
To work in cybersecurity, you will need some technical skills. These can either be learned on the job in an IT role or by studying for a degree in computer science, cybersecurity or similar. The most important skills for cybersecurity professionals include:
Security options refer to a range of methods that are related to assessing, preventing, detecting, monitoring, and responding to a variety of constantly changing cybersecurity threats. Dedicated Security Operations teams are often found working for many companies, with the team dedicated to risk monitoring.
Risk Assessment and Management
Risk assessment and management can be applied to both technical and non-technical processes, functions, and applications. In terms of cybersecurity, it refers to identifying the basic threats, determining the level of risk, and analysis of any potential vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity professionals are often asked by organizations to score their system based on how easily it could be exploited or hacked into, with several different threat categories that you may be required to assess including misuse of information, malicious unauthorized access, data leak likelihood, and disruption of service.
Information assurance ensures that sensitive data is processed, stored, used, and transmitted in a secure manner. It requires continuous risk assessment and regular updates to any pre-established risk management plans. This skill is vital for ensuring that information is always available, confidential, and authentic.
Finally, cryptography is an important skill that cybersecurity professionals use to ensure data confidentiality, prevent unauthorized access, and authenticate incoming data sources. Cybersecurity professionals can use cryptography to ensure that sensitive data does not end up in the wrong hands by coming up with novel cryptographic algorithms, managing cryptographic keys, and making changes where necessary to ensure that data remains securely encrypted.
Today, cybersecurity is one of the most important factors for any organization. With more data stored electronically and online, cyberattacks have become a bigger threat than ever before and the demand for professionals who can mitigate this risk is only growing.