What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity can be summarized as efforts aimed at preserving the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computing systems. It’s the practice of affording security to networks and systems to protect them from cyber attacks.
According the definition of cybersecurity by Comodo, (https://one.comodo.com/blog/cyber-security/what-is-cyber-security.php) :
cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, andprograms from digital attacks. These attacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes.
Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is particularly challenging today because there are more devices than people, and attackers are becoming more innovative.
Cyber attacks have been on the rise and are targeted at accessing, modifying, or deleting data, money extortion, and the interruption of normal services. Cybersecurity is of great concern to today’s businesses since there has been a high adoption of information technology to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in business operations. The current business environment is such that there are many devices, systems, networks, and users.
All these are targeted by cyber criminals, and multiple techniques have been devised and used against them. Cyber attacks are only becoming more effective and sophisticated. Therefore, cybersecurity is becoming a survival mechanism rather than a luxury for many businesses. Cybersecurity has multiple layers, which cover devices, networks, systems, and users. These layers are intended to ensure that these targets are not compromised by attackers. In organizations, these layers can be compressed into three categories: people, processes, and technology.
This is the category that includes users. Users are known to be particularly weak in the cybersecurity chain. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are aware of this and often target them rather than systems during attacks. Users are the culprits in creating weak passwords, downloading attachments in strange emails, and easily falling for scams.
This category encompasses all the processes used by the organization. These can include business processes, such as the supply chain, that could be exploited by attackers to get malware inside companies. Supply chains are, at times, targeted in organizations that are well secured against other methods of being attacked.
Technology relates to both the devices and software used by an organization. Technology has been a prime target for cyber criminals and they have developed many techniques to compromise it. While security companies try to keep abreast of the threats facing technology today, it seems that cyber criminals have always had the upper hand. Cyber criminals can source new types of malware from underground markets and use them in multiple attacks against different technologies.
The scope of cybersecurity
The importance of cybersecurity can’t be overstated. The world is in a state of interconnection, and therefore an attack on one host or user can easily become an attack against many people. Cyber attacks can range from the theft of personal information to extortion attempts for individual targets. For companies, many things are always at stake. There is, therefore, a broad scope of what cybersecurity covers for both individuals and corporate organizations—let’s look at this in more detail.
Here are some terms related to the cybersecurity world:
- Cybercrime: Any crime that involves the use of a computer as the object of a crime or as an accessory used to commit a crime. The perpetrators of such a crime are known as cyber criminals. They mostly use computer technology to illegally access sensitive information, scam, or carry out malicious actions.
- Ransomware: Malware built to extort money from victims by blocking access to their computers and files until they pay a ransom amount. However, the payment of the ransom is never a guarantee of file recovery.
- Malware: Malicious software. There are three categories of malware: viruses, worms, and Trojans. These are used to either allow unauthorized access or to
- Social engineering: An attack technique that is increasingly being used by cyber criminals to manipulate people into revealing some information or carrying out some actions. The end goal is either monetary gain or access to sensitive information, such as business secrets.
- Phishing: A common exploitation attack that involves sending fraudulent emails, that claim to be from reputable sources, to users. Phishers aim to get sensitive data or money from their targets. With advancements in technology, phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated and advanced, and thus more successful.
- Botnet: A network of zombie devices that have been infected with malware to make them perform certain tasks, such as denial of service attacks. Personal
computers were once key targets for recruitment in botnets, but since the introduction of IoT devices, hackers have been shifting focus to this largely
insecure technology. A particularly dreadful botnet is the Mirai botnet, which is made up of IoT devices and has been used in several attacks.
- Data breach: A corporate network is attacked by cyber criminals and some valuable data is stolen. In many cases, customer authentication details, addresses,
and their financial information is stolen. Stolen data is valuable and can be sold in black markets or ransomed. Even when the stolen data is encrypted, hackers
can find ways to decrypt it, especially if the encryption algorithm was weak.
- DDoS attack: Attackers target a machine with an overwhelming number of requests, thus clogging its bandwidth and ability to respond to legitimate requests. DDoS attacks are carried out by botnets, which have been discussed previously. DDoS attacks can be used as a diversion technique where hackers
cause security personnel to focus their efforts on recovering from the DDoS attack while another attack is taking place.
- Spyware: Malware used to spy on people for the purposes of obtaining their personal information, login credentials, or other sensitive information. They
mostly infect browsers or come hidden in apps and programs. For mobile devices, malware can use GPS sensors to communicate back the whereabouts of a
user’s device, and they can also access the call history and SMS.
Types of Cybersecurity
Cyber Security is classified into the following types:
Information security aims to protect the users’ private information from unauthorized access, identity theft. It protects the privacy of data and hardware that handle, store and transmit that data. Examples of Information security include User Authentication and Cryptography.
Network security aims to protect the usability, integrity, and safety of a network, associated components, and data shared over the network. When a network is secured, potential threats gets blocked from entering or spreading on that network. Examples of Network Security includes Antivirus and Antispyware programs, Firewall that block unauthorized access to a network and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) used for secure remote access.
Application security aims to protect software applications from vulnerabilities that occur due to the flaws in application design, development, installation, upgrade or maintenance phases.
Among the new technologies that are receiving massive adoption is the cloud. The cloud allows organizations to access resources that they could previously not access due to the financial constraints of acquiring and maintaining the resources. It’s also a preferred option for backing up due to its reliability and availability compared to other backup options. However, the cloud has its own set of challenges where security is concerned.
Organizations and individuals are concerned about the theft of their cloud-stored data. There have already been incidences of data theft in the cloud. Cloud security ensures that cloud users can secure their data and limit the people that can access it.
#Internet of Things security
Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging technology that has been plagued with security threats. However, its practicality has seen it being adopted in many organizations despite the security challenges. IoT devices have been shipping in an insecure state, which poses threats to organizations and individuals. Cybersecurity has therefore been extended to cover this threat landscape.
As said before, these are the weakest weak points, and they are particularly hard to protect since they are targeted using social-engineering techniques. These techniques cannot be prevented by using security tools. Attackers get to users through normal interactions, using media such as phones, emails, or face-to-face encounters. Organizations have lost a lot of money due to their employees being attacked using social-engineering attack methods. Therefore, user-awareness programs have been incorporated into most cybersecurity strategies.
Free guide to Cyber
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Cybersecurity: The Beginner’s Guide
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- ISBN : 978 1 78588 533 2
- ASIN: 1789616190
- ISBN-13: 978-1789616194
Publisher: Packt Publishing
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