Cybersecurity refers to the terms, practices, methods and processes that we should adopt to prevent our computer systems, networks, data and devices from unauthorized access, cyberthreats and cyber-criminals. In other terms, cybersecurity is also known as “IT Security” (information technology security).
Today, cyber-crimes have become more advanced and they are more focused towards their motives. All thanks to the emerging technologies which has given power to us but has also motivated the cyber-criminals to adopt them in a destructive way. They are constantly around us, they can be our neighbours talking to us politely, but you don’t even know what they are up to.
In this digital era, where our daily activities are all dependent on our devices, computers, smartphones, smart appliances and they are all connected to the internet. While, the Internet provides us with vast knowledge and access to millions of resources, there lies a dark world of cyber-crimes. Internet is also making things easier for them to breach our security and get unauthorized access to our system and information stored within.
Hence, everyone must be aware of the basics of cybersecurity and should practise them in real life.
Types of Cyber-attacks
As we are using the internet in our day to day activities like visiting thousands of websites, online purchasing, digital transactions, sharing information via social media platforms. But have we ever thought about what working behind them?
- What if the link you hit on social media is malicious?
- Do you exactly know if the webpage in which you are feeding your transaction details is secure or a cloned one?
- What if an attractive ads may contain malicious code within?
We never think of all these questions, while we are on the web. When we are online our all activities are being watched and informations are getting tracked wither by the advertisers, website owners and hackers.
Thus, it is very important to be aware of what type of cyber-threats and attacks are there and how to stay alerts from them.
Cybersecurity attacks are classified as:
- Web-based attack
- System based attack
Web-based attacks are now raising more than the system based attacks. This method of attack targets the websites, applications, API managed through the internet. The cyber-criminals attempts to breach these web entities to get unauthorized access to the system. Again there are various types of web-based attacks that are commonly used as a method of intrusion.
Types of web-based attacks:
- DNS spoofing: This is also known as “DNS cache poisoning”. In this, the attacker exploits the vulnerabilities of the DNS (Domain Name System) and replaces the original DNS data within the DNS cache resolver to a corrupt one. This causes the change in server name and IP address. Thus, the user’s traffic is redirected diverted to a fake or malicious servers.
- Phishing: It is a type of cyber-attack, the attacker shoots out deceptive emails pretending to be legitimate. If user opens the malicious email or click on the link attached to it, then the hacker installs the harmful program and attempts to steal sensitive information. Phishing email campaigns is also used to spread ransomware threats.
- Brute force attack: It is a trial and error attack method in which the attacker attempts to enter inside the system or server by doing overwhelming login attempts. This is the simplest method to decode the keys of any encrypted data or illegal access.
- Denial of Service: In this, the attacker send too much request at the server, site or any network same time which it cannot handle and restricts users from accessing the website, server or network due to resources full, request time-out or server temporarily down issues. This cyber-attacks needs huge computer resources to send large number of traffic together.
- Man in the middle attack: It is an attack where the hacker silently enters within the communication between client and server and intercepts the information sent by the client. While the client thinks that they are having direct communication with each other.
System based attacks
System-based attacks are not new, we are all aware of viruses, trojan threats and malware that aims to infect the system via compromising the security and silently carry out malicious actions. Thus they are known as cyber-threats.
Types of cyberthreats:
- Virus: It is malicious software that is entered into the system without the user's information. They modify system settings and often shuts down firewall of the system. Once it enters into the computer, it can be used to steal confidential information, spy around online and offline activities and more.
- Worms: They are malicious piece of software that multiplies itself and has a specific task to perform on the target system. They generally remain undetected on the host machine.
- Trojan Horse are generic name for the malicious software program that enters along with freeward downloads, file-sharing platforms or application patches. It can be used to execute various destructive tasks like stealing information, communicating with the hackers, dropping other harmful threats.
- Ransomware: These are file-encrypting malware program designed to encrypt important files on the attacked computer. The files are locked with asymmetric pair of public and private keys. Thus users cannot access their files without the private keys. The hackers demand huge ransom fee to unlock the files.
- Crypto-miners: These malicious programs are used to secretly use the CPU and GPu resources of the attacked machine to mine for crypto-currency. This happens without the permission of users. As mining consumes huge system resources so users may get huge electricity bill and also put load on the hardware. Crypto-miner can render the computer system worthless.
By now you are aware of the cybersecurity and its threats. So now you might feel the need to take on security measures to stay safe or at least be ready to face it. But that is too not easy. Cybersecurity explains the discipline to the organizations where tons of data flow from one device to another, one system to another and one server to another.
Any security flow may prove an advantage to the cyber-criminal who know it very well to exploit it and enter within. To maintain end-to end security within the systems, data, process and devices is a challenging task for any organization. So let's take a look at cybersecurity challenges that lies ahead before executing the action plan of cybersecurity.
Challenges of cyber security
For an effective cyber security, an organization needs to coordinate its efforts throughout its entire information system. Elements of cyber security encompass the following:
- Network Security: Protection of the network from the direct and indirect attack and filtering unwanted access to the intruders.
- Malware Protection: There must be proper firewall and anti-malware protection incorporated well within the system.
- Endpoint Security: It is difficult to plan a robust security from the manufacturing unit till the delivery of the products. There must be constant monitoring of the entire infrastructure that helps to get information about the complete system, so that the organization should be alerted for any flaws.
- Device Security: It is again a most challenging thing faced by any organization, as every communication is controlled by the devices, there should be enough planning to secure them.
- User education Awareness: There should be staff training system about cybersecurity and its best practices.
Cybersecurity Tools & Best Practices
For the protection from Cyber-attacks, there are different types of Cybersecurity tools that help in the maintenance of the IT environment.
These are some essential tools that every organization big or small or even individual should use to help safeguard from the challenges of cybersecurity.
- Firewalls & Antivirus software: It is necessary to safeguard all the devices, applications and network with an anti-malware software. A secure firewall should be installed and activated to prevent any phishing activity.
- Enforce Two-factor authentication and secure password practices: As cyber-criminals take advantage of weak security to breach the login of system and networks via brute force attack. Thus, every individual within the company medium or small should be enforced with two-factor authentication and strong passwords for their secure logins.
- Data Backup solution: Companies should be more concerned about protecting their data from unauthorised access or destructive cyber attacks like Ransomware. An encrypted cloud-based data backup solution should be incorporated to safeguard the data.
- Staff Training: As the employees in any organization have various access to the network, data and processes flowing within.Thus it is very important to train the employees with best practices and cyber protocols of the company. Also any new cyber-threats or patches and risk factors should be circulated regularly among them.
- Some of the other cyber management tips also include:
- Restricting Administrative access to devices, networks, media and cloud systems.
- Managing user privileges
- Information risk management Regime
Security in any field should be paramount, thus every organization whether government, hospitals, institutions and corporate should be aware of the Cyber security policies. As any operation behind the organizations runs successfully because of the consistent flow of data from end-to-end. Thus any flaw within this chain can allow the unauthorised access to hackers. These sensitive data should flow in an encrypted format and along with the devices and network should also be secured enough to be unbreachable. Thus every organization and individual should take security measures to fight against cyber attacks and secure the personal information.