All you need to know about cyberthreats and how to protect yourself with Cybersecurity.
The internet allows us to connect with almost anyone around the globe. It helps us to expand our horizons through employment opportunities, personal projects and social connections.
It also leaves us open to a world of attackers eager to obtain valuable information that they can use against an individual or an organisation. Therefore it is essential to be prepared.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the protection of systems, networks, programs, devices, and data, against cyberthreats or unauthorised access. Cybersecurity offers defence, protection, detection, response, and recovery from cyberattacks. It also reduces the risk of exposure to cyberthreats.
While information is probably the main target of malicious individuals or entities, there is also potential for hardware and software systems, networks, routers, and devices to fall prey to cyberattack.
There are three types of cyber threats to be aware of:
1) Cyberterrorism – occurs to cause panic or fear.
2) Cyberattack – hackers gather information for mostly political or financial uses.
3) Cybercrime – refers to an individual or group of hackers seeking information for extortion or using the information to their advantage.
Attacks on systems are generally carried out by hackers in search of relevant information or data, whether from devices or the cloud. They use a variety of techniques to exploit the vulnerabilities of a system with few defences. A combination of several levels of defence is needed, as well as proactivity to gather information from the attacker to learn about their objectives and be able to stop their advances.
What are the cybersecurity risks we can be exposed to?
Risks on the web continue to grow daily and exploit system vulnerabilities, remote access, work-from-home environments, and cloud services.
The most common threats facing industries, are:
–Malware: the term is derived from Malicious Software. The intention is to cause damage or allow unauthorised access to a system, most commonly known as worms, trojans, viruses, and spyware.
–Ransomware attacks: the objective of this type of attack is to obtain money from the victim, as they enter the system in search of information. Threats are made about revealing the information to the public or destroying it.
–Phishing: happens when a user is tricked into giving out their private information or their Personal Identifiable Information (PII), usually posing as a legitimate company through text messages or emails.
–Distributed Denial-of-Services (DDoS) attacks: the attacker’s goal is to overload the server, network, or website with traffic using coordinated attacks from multiple systems.
–Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): this is a dangerous and silent threat, as it infiltrates the system unnoticed by spying and stealing sensitive data.
–Man-in-the-Middle attacks: Connecting to an insecure network can leave you vulnerable to a third party intercepting relevant data in the middle of a message or a conversation without you realising it.
What is quite dangerous is not only that an external attack can occur, but that they are mostly caused by malicious insiders or internal oversights, leaving systems vulnerable to malvertising attacks, business email compromise (BEC) and zero-day exploits, credential stuffing attacks, botnets. This limits the capabilities of an internal information technology team.
Leaving the system and network unprotected can lead to several problems.
Three fundamental elements that create reliable cybersecurity:
–Users: one must be aware of the dangers we face and how to avoid falling into traps, clicking on dangerous sites, giving information to actors who appear to create secure passwords,
–Process: regardless of the threat facing the system, the IT team involved (clarify who this is?? is it staff, employers, users?? – are required to engage in processes that prevent cyberattack.
–System: the first defence against threats is the technology that protects the system such as firewalls, DNS filtering, and antivirus software.
What is the impact of leaving the system unprotected?
For system protection to be successful, experts (who are they) must be aware of the elements that can be affected by a cybersecurity threat:
–Critical Infrastructure Security: refers to the protection of systems, networks, assets, and infrastructure that is vital to business operations.
–Physical Security: accessing a system from different devices facilitates efficiency and productivity in the workplace. It is also necessary to limit the spaces in which data is stored by keeping automatic notifications activated in case of a breach in the system, and require passwords and credentials to access routers and other physical networks.
–Cloud Security: it is becoming increasingly easy to use the cloud to store information. Being able to access data from anywhere in the world at any time has both advantages and disadvantages.Ensuring that data is kept private and secure across applications and platforms is achieved by following necessary protocols.
–Network Security: is a combination of hardware and software protection, as well as procedures and configurations that protect the network from malicious actors and other threats. Making use of various defence tools such as firewalls, antivirus software, application security essential in today’s world.
–Information or Data Security: system intrusion gains access to important information or data as malicious actors plan to use this information for extortion. Necessary protection of data encryption, tokenisation, hashing, and key management in applications and platforms prevents data from being affected or corrupted after unauthorised access.
–Application Security: implementing this procedure protects the code and data of software applications by making use of authentication, scanning, and testing processes.
–End-User Education: education is one of the best strategies for maintaining a healthy system. Despite using technological devices every day, the reality is that many users are unaware of the dangers they expose themselves to with their online activities. Educating an organisations employees can be the first line of defence. – For example, not clicking on suspicious links can undoubtedly save a business time and money and avoid system breaches.
–Operational Security: Information technology teams create processes and strategies that can be applied a real malicious actor occurs in the system, in addition to knowing the potential risks and vulnerabilities.
–Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning: once the threat has entered the system there are many things to do. It is not the end of the process but the beginning of recovery from the attack. Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are two different processes, and for both to complement each other they require strategic plans to work. While dealing with the recovery and getting everything back to normal, employees can continue with their work and use of applications.
The reality and challenges faced by the Information Technology team on a daily basis.
Between all the elements, add-ons, strategies, and processes that the Information Technology team must apply, keeping abreast of all the threats that can affect an industry can be a challenge. Protecting the infrastructure and the system must be paramount otherwise a business could suffer major information and financial loss. Keeping up to date with your businesses cybersecurity needs allows you to deal with the problem more proactively and adapt to the way the problem needs to be handled.
Considering that the Internet of Things is being applied more frequently technology is continuously progressing. This means the number of cyberattacks will increase over time. Rather than feeling overwhelmed with information, it is necessary to be aware and stay informed on how you can protect your business from malicious actors. All Information Technology teams need to acquire teams tools to defend and protect against an attack.
The first line of defence is employees or users. The second line of defence is automation, which can reduce the number of attack. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) can detect known threats, create protective measures and help experts determine which alerts to prioritise and pay attention to.
For organisations that have experienced a cyberattack, it is not only the loss of information or extortion that affects them. It can also damage the credibility and trust of customers within a company. This includes significant losses in profits resulting in more time and effort required to regain customer loyalty and brand trust.
In terms of financial costs a company can lose a lot if hackers have taken information from financial accounts, this includes the cost it takes to recover from the attack. This could also result in your customers choosing to do business with your competitors.
The challenge is to recognise when you need to implement cybersecurity measures in your organisation before it is too late.
What are the benefits of implementing cybersecurity to your business?
–Prevention: being prepared for attacks can reduce unauthorised access, data breaches, and cyberattacks by malicious actors.
–Protection: a good strategy prioritises keeping data and information intact, ensuring that data breaches do not occur, as well as protecting the network, end-users, and endpoint devices.
–Improvements: every time an attack can be prevented, the Information Technology team can create better strategies that decrease further risk, increase trust with customers, stakeholders, partners, developers, and employees, and improve response and recovery time.
If you are interested in protecting and preventing attacks the below steps are easy to implement.
–Use strong passwords to protect personal and company accounts.
–Back-up relevant information and data constantly, this allows you to always have the information in case an attacker deletes or corrupts it.
–Encrypt the data, hackers will not be able to use it once it is a complex code.
–Ensure that all devices used are protected with multiple authentication factors to limit the access points hackers may have.
– Education, as discussed above, network users must be prepared for the dangers of the network, time spent on education will decrease the costs of an attack.
–Update anti-virus software, so that an up-to-date list of malicious actors is maintained, and constant use of anti-virus software to monitor the system will allow early detection and removal of threats.
–Avoid using insecure or unknown networks, accessing important pages using an unknown WiFi connection would expose user and company information.
It's a good time to consider what action to take.
Take the most important step in protecting and securing your business and allow our cybersecurity experts to proactively defend your organisation against these attacks.
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