Cybersecurity refers to all the methods by which internet-connected computer systems are protected from attack. The threats, in this sense, can be either external or internal (emerging from within organizations).
This concept has become an increasingly important concern of I.T security experts worldwide. And for obvious reasons, the further spread of computer technology will only lead to the calling of more stringent data-protection measures. The ISP industry, with the Optimum Internet Plans Project currently in the limelight, invests millions of dollars in cybersecurity annually. This expenditure is expected to increase in the coming months and years.
So if you’re lagging behind on your antivirus updates, you’d better see to them right away! Otherwise, you may likely become the target of all kinds of cyberattacks (of the types listed below).
Based on My Own Experiences
I have been working as a systems analyst for over 10 years now. And I’ve seen the progress of software security systems firsthand. This continuing evolution is necessary, because the threats keep on becoming more complex. The reason behind this escalation is the increased incentive for hackers to steal confidential information. And from their perspective, the bigger the target, the better. Because they can then make blackmailing calls for greater stacks of cash. Major government and private organizations, of course, continue to be the preferred targets of cyberattacks in this respect.
I still clearly remember the time when people in just about every workplace did their work by hand.
I recall the dusty ledgers used in my underdeveloped home country by bankers and accountants.
In my mind, I can still see my parents using the calculator to make their basic calculations. And I remember how difficult it often became to spot an accounting mistake from a list of statistics. When something like this happened, auditors had to spend days just to figure out what went wrong. And then a couple of weeks to compile new sheets. With all of this being a nightmare scenario for just about everyone concerned.
The same was the case in people’s personal sphere.
People’s lives used to be simpler. They didn’t need to open their personal computers for managing just about everything under the sun. Most folk didn’t even have this luxury, and they fared just fine without it.
At the time.
How the Problem Started
The problem came when there was a generational push to adopt computers in every aspect of living. The I.T industry had a great role to play in this story.
When big bucks are involved, it’s hard to resist emerging trends anyhow. Because if you do, you risk getting horribly left behind. And in my work, I see examples of this category of almost every other day. Aged individuals, somebody’s grandpas and grandmothers, sitting in busy offices with confused expressions. Trying desperately to make sense of the machines in front of them. And all the while expected to perform just as well as a twenty-year-old, fresh software college graduate. With their only crime being that they didn’t hop onto the I.T bandwagon quickly enough to ground their feet!
Extremely sad when you think about it.
But that’s what capitalism is. Soulless, gutless, and without a conscience. Only interested in making the highest profits, whatever the human cost. Ethics, of course, have no part to play in this sorry picture.
So computers, long-story-short, came to interfere in everything. And by the late 90s, there was hardly any private or public sector workplace that didn’t totally depend on them. This created the market for stringent security solutions to defend systems from ‘malicious actors’. And so the Cybersecurity industry was born.
What Threats Does Cybersecurity Deal With Precisely?
When taken precisely, the main focus of cybersecurity is to guard internet users against the threats of:
- Ransomware (the name contains a clue)
- Phishing (has a lot to do with fraud and spam!)
- Subtle Attacks (these put users’ guard down)
Simply put, malware is any kind of rogue program that is created to harm a computer user or network. And in any way that has to do with software and code. Popular kinds of malware include all types of viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
Spyware programs, which secretly record the activities of internet users, are also lumped into this category.
As the name suggests, these are programs that ransom money from internet users by blackmailing them. A typical ransomware attack involves the ‘locking’ of the victim’s system behind some kind of password shield. In exchange for the blackmailed amount, the hacker provides the pin code to unlock the system.
Using ransomware, many cybercriminals have been able to steal millions of dollars from their victims. And sometimes, especially in the case of big companies, the ransomed amount may be spread out in various installments.
Phishing involves sending huge numbers of fake emails that pretend to be from reputable organizations. Their aim is to convince the victim to reveal his (or her) personal information. Credit card numbers, mobile numbers and residential addresses are some hot favorites.
These kinds of attacks lure their victims into a false sense of security. And once successful, they allow hackers to demand all kinds of confidential data. Normally, this type of assault comes accompanied with phishing attacks. But sometimes, particularly in cases of organizational espionage, they can be effective all on their own.
Solidifying Your Defenses is Key to Winning the Battle
Modern antivirus software comes in-built with all kinds of security shields. And so the best way to remain protected from cyberattacks is to keep it updated. At all times; since new threats emerge on a minute-by-minute basis.
Nowadays, even home phone utilities are constantly under hackers’ radars. A good example is that of the Spectrum Customer Service, which recently came under a targeted hacking assault. But the company’s antivirus defenses were good, and so they kicked in just in time. And as a result, there wasn’t any identity theft reported in the press.