What is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security involves the practice of implementing multiple layers of security and protection against digital attacks across computers, devices, systems, and networks. Usually, organizations have a system and a framework in place for how they tackle attempted or successful cyberattacks. A good framework can help detect and identify threats, protect networks and systems, and recover in case any attack was successful.
Importance of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is even more significant now as most things that we enjoy today are in the form of connected devices and systems. With IoT revolutionizing the way the world operates, it has become imperative that Cybersecurity be implemented in all systems that are prone to threats and attacks to prevent extortion attempts, identity theft, loss of valuable data, misuse of sensitive information, cyberstalking, etc.
Critical infrastructures such as hospitals, financial service companies, power plants, etc. possess sensitive data not only pertaining to their consumers but also to themselves. This calls for serious consideration for Cyber Security implementation to keep our society functioning without disruptions.
Cyber Threat Researchers, in this regard, uncover new vulnerabilities, strengthen open-source tools, and educate people on the importance of Cybersecurity.
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Types of Cyber Threats
Cyber threats are malicious activities that seek to disrupt the digital life in general by stealing data and misusing it. These activities may include the unauthorized accessing, changing, or destroying of sensitive information, money extortion, or process interruptions.
Let’s discuss the different types of cyber threats that exist:
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to send emails claiming to be from reputable sources to obtain sensitive data such as credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, etc. Phishing is the most common type of cyberattack. It can be prevented if the public is educated on it and if the latest technology solutions screen such malicious emails.
Ransomware is malicious software designed as a means to extort money. Attackers block access to files or systems until a demanded ransom is paid by the victim. However, paying the ransom does not necessarily guarantee file recovery or system restoration, which can again be a huge setback.
Malware is a software that is designed to attain unauthorized access to systems or cause damage. These types of malicious software include viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware. Clicking on malicious links or attachments installs the software that activates the malware. Once activated, it can:
- Stealthily acquire data by transmitting it from the hard drive (spyware)
- Block users from accessing key network components (ransomware)
- Make systems inoperable by disrupting individual components
- Install malicious software that can cause harmful effects
Social engineering is a tactic to manipulate people into giving up confidential information, including bank information, passwords, or access to their computer to covertly install malicious software that can steal such information from the system.
Social engineering may also work in conjunction with other cyber threats to make it more likely for users to click on malicious links, sources, or malware download links.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
APT happens when someone unauthorized gains access to a system or network and stays there undetected for a long time. These threats generally do not harm the network or machines and are more focused on data theft. APTs are known to go unnoticed and undetected by traditional security systems, but they are notorious to be the reason for a number of large, costly data breaches.
SQL injection involves inserting a malicious code into a server that uses SQL and allows the attacker to intervene with queries. This web security vulnerability can be as simple as entering the code into an unprotected website search box. The infection causes the server to release sensitive information.
Man in the Middle (MITM)
MITM attacks, self-evidently, occur when hackers alter a two-party transaction and steal data. Any unsecured public Wi-Fi network is prone to such kinds of attacks. The attackers who resort to such tactics insert themselves between the visitor and the network and, with the help of malware, carry out malicious activities.
Denial of Service (DoS)
A Denial of Service (DoS) is intended to shut down a machine or network so that it cannot respond to any requests and to make it inaccessible for users. This type of attack is carried out by flooding the target with traffic and triggering a crash.
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Scale of Cyber Security Threats
Both cyber-defense tactics and Cyber Security threats are evolving in an attempt to outdo one another. As a result, there is a growth of malicious software and threats in new forms that constantly need protection against. Any individual or organization that uses any form of network is equally vulnerable to such attacks and is a potential target.
There are three different types of Cyber Security threats that one needs to be aware of:
- Cybercrime: Committed by one or more individuals who target systems for financial gain or to cause havoc
- Cyberterrorism: Designed to break into systems and instill fear
- Cyberattacks: Often carried out for political reasons and aimed at collecting and/or distributing sensitive data.
Sound Cyber Security measures when implemented in conjunction with an educated and informed user base make up the best defense against cyber threats. One can always start small, focusing on the most valuable assets, and eventually scale the efforts as the Cyber Security program matures. The only way to battle malicious threats and attacks is to let the security programs evolve so that they can fight the advancing and newest threats head-on or, at the best, prevent these types of attacks from being a success in the first place.