What Is Cyber Security? [A Beginner-Friendly In-Depth Guide]
Updated · Jul 19, 2022
With global connectivity spreading, more and more digital threats are emerging. We’ve seen some major data breaches during the past years, for instance, the Cambridge Analytica one in 2018. And despite many efforts to prevent such, almost every business, regardless of its size, is at risk.
The good news is that there are many ways to ensure your data stays safe and sound.
Let's consider what cyber security is and discover practical techniques for keeping internet wrongdoers at bay.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is the action of protecting information and data stored on electronic devices and in the cloud. This includes safeguarding against malware, denial of service attacks, and numerous other threats.
Without proper cyber security measures, businesses put their sensitive information at risk. Not only can they lose their data, but someone else could use it with ill intent.
One of the biggest problems is that new threats are emerging every day. Hackers create 300,000 new pieces of malware every 24 hours. So, no matter how much effort someone has put into staying safe, safeguarding all the data is nearly impossible.
This is precisely why the importance of cyber security only continues to increase.
How Does It Work?
To create a unified defense against potential attacks, cyber security experts follow a set of steps. This includes three key steps:
- Identifying threats - Every good cyber security process starts with experts detecting potential threats. They do this through data breach research and persistent internet monitoring for new cyberattacks.
- Analyzing threats - Once identified, it’s time for the experts to take a closer look at them. They can determine the likelihood of infection and the potential risk posed in doing so. Subsequent preventative measures can now be developed and employed.
- Responding to threats - Developed countermeasures are put in practice to prevent and mitigate any harm effectively. Prepared companies often have data breach plans. This includes collecting, maintaining, and disseminating cyber security information and implementing preventative measures.
Categories of Cyber Security
Cyber security segments into several categories. These include:
Network Cyber Security
Network security protects the integrity, accessibility, and confidentiality of data transmitted through business networks. It protects data stored on devices attached to them.
Without cyber security protection, attackers may intercept files and information shared between network connected computers. This can include anything from passwords and credit card numbers to trade secrets kept by companies.
Another thing cyber security does is safeguard sensitive information at the app level. Generally, users should implement all measures before deploying an application.
One of the leading cyber protection tactics is the use of strong passwords. Whether it’s a personal or business account, coming up with a combination that’s difficult to decipher is extremely important.
Safer apps often include two-factor authentication, security questions, and other similar measures.
Nowadays, most of our data is in the cloud. In fact, ever since internet storage became ubiquitous and affordable, many people rarely even use local hard drives.
The most critical aspect of cyber information security for cloud tech includes selecting the safest internet-based storage. The company’s platform of choice must be as secure as possible.
Some of the best available options are Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Apple iCloud.
Look closely at the data storage security features and backup plans when choosing one.
Internet of Things Security
Modern Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems are pretty complex. Companies in almost every industry have machines and devices that connect over mobile networks and send data to cloud applications.
As you can imagine, many hackers are more than ready to take advantage of any system vulnerabilities.
The problem is, with diverse devices and data types, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why businesses that deploy IoT need to identify the weakest points in their system and find cyber security components that can plug these security gaps.
Operational security is the process of securing the company’s day-to-day activities.
It identifies and implements proven steps that help companies fight off potential attackers and implements countermeasures for protecting sensitive data.
Operational security also includes educating employees on cyber security and not revealing sensitive info on social media.
Types of Cyber Security Threats
There are quite a few ways to access someone’s data unlawfully. Similarly, the reasons behind attacks can vary. For instance, threats can originate from a lone hacker with a grudge, hacktivists with a cause, criminal organizations yearning to steal, or even industrial spies looking for a leg-up on the competition.
Knowing what threats are out there is critical to gaining a better understanding of cyber security concepts. Let’s check out the most common ones among them:
- Malware - The term malware often gets thrown around when talking about internet threats. It’s a broad name for a large variety of modus operandi. This includes viruses, trojan horses, spyware, ransomware, worms, and more.
- Phishing - This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s all about using deception to steal sensitive information. In business, attackers often use phishing to infiltrate a company’s network and steal important info. They’re often master manipulators and count on human error to help them achieve their goals.
- Keyloggers - Like a hidden surveillance camera, a keylogger can record and keep track of all sensitive information a user inputs. These things are easy to sneak onto a device and tricky to detect.
- Denial of service - This type of attack floods a targeted machine with messages it can't process. Often this spamming becomes too much for it to handle, and the system stops accepting new connections or requests. This can significantly impact any company’s operations. Preventing and responding to DoS attacks is one of the key aspects of an effective cyber security system.
- Password spraying - This type of brute force attack involves the malicious entering of many passwords on several user accounts to break in.
- Rootkits - While not harmful themselves, rootkits can sneak malware onto a computer. They can also block some antimalware and antivirus software, thus allowing malware to infect its target.
- Man-in-the-middle attacks - Sometimes, internet criminals succeed in eavesdropping or even impersonating an individual or party. In doing so, they can steal sensitive information and use it to make unapproved fund transfers and password changes.
Cyber Security Best Practices
Protecting a business from cyberattacks can be quite tricky. You never know what internet criminals will develop and use in their next attack.
Luckily, some aspects of cyber security aren’t difficult to implement. Most companies should be able to incorporate measures into their operation with little effort.
So, what are the best practices to employ?
Let’s consider some of the most popular approaches.
Software companies provide regular updates that allow for new features, security upgrades, and fixes to any discovered bugs. Installing patches is imperative to keeping up with critical safeguards.
Human error is the cause of most cybercrime. Even with all the technological advances made, people still remain one of the weakest links in the system. There are times when even the most sophisticated cyber security technologies fall prey to human error. AI advances are though making inroads in reducing the chances of human error.
As long as a company’s devices have internet connectivity, it’s impossible to be 100% safe from cyber threats. However, with capable antimalware and antivirus software in place, vulnerability can be significantly reduced.
Enabling Two-Factor Authentication
Many platforms now have two-factor authentication to help minimize the risk of having information stolen. This cyber security technology combines password protection with an additional unique identifier. These include one-time codes sent by email or SMS.
Avoid Opening Suspicious Emails
We’ve all received emails that look suspicious. Opening these can be a huge mistake, especially when using a company’s computer. It takes just a single click to infect an entire network of machines. Best to drop such mail in the trash or spam box.
With all this said, you can’t ignore the importance of cyber security. Bad guys, a.k.a. black hat hackers and other malicious actors, can access almost anything on the internet without preventative measures in place.
This includes website registration details or online shopping credentials. We’re talking names, addresses, and even credit card numbers. Nothing anyone wants to be exposed.
Luckily, most businesses now take clear and concrete steps to prevent hackers' invasive ways and protect their data.
The information above can help everyone learn all about cyber security. So worry less and get started with implementing protective measures right away.
What Does Cyber Security Do?
The role of cyber security is to protect information from threats on the internet. Usually, it refers to protecting businesses and organizations from data loss, extraction, blackmail, and other similar risks.
Can I Teach Myself Cyber Security?
Yes, you can gain cyber security knowledge by educating yourself. Numerous websites offer free resources that you can access with just a few clicks. Some target individuals who are looking to self-learn, while others support organized courses and degrees.
Who Needs Cyber Security?
Many companies, organizations, and governments need cyber security. Individuals can also benefit from taking protective measurements. You can find out more about it in the above what is cyber security guide.
Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.
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