Cybersecurity Ventures had predicted that there will be roughly $10 billion of global expenses on Cyber Security measures by 2027 to respond against catastrophic cyberattack losses in 2021. To understand its impact in a better way, we will explore the importance of Cyber Security and the following topics in detail:
Before diving into the importance of Cyber Security right off the bat, let’s understand what brought about the need for it.
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The digital transformation brought along with it a gamut of cybercrimes as well. Our personal data, finances, and work-life have blended into the digital world and the internet. Although these are disruptive technologies, the digital revolution has unfortunately led to the beginning of a new category of crimes—cybercrimes like invasions of privacy, malicious attacks, frauds, and many such unethical activities.
This is why Cyber Security is an indispensable element of the digital world for keeping everything secure and in order. Knowing about Cyber Security and its importance can keep us safe from cybercriminals, hackers, and other agents of fraud.
Different Forms of Cyber Security Threats
Hackers have an entire collection of tricks up their sleeves. Some instances are:
Malware is short for malicious software and is a blanket term used for viruses, ransomware, trojans, worms, spyware, and other harmful computer programs. Hackers deliver these attacks through emails or downloads to gain access to sensitive information and wreak destruction. For Example- ‘Mydoom’ caused damage worth $ 38 billion.
The name is pretty self-explanatory. Hackers try to crack weak passwords and gain network entry. The Melissa virus in 1999, MafiaBoy in 2000 are some of the examples of password attacks.
Man-in-the-middle (MitM) Attack
In this type of attack, hackers insert themselves into a two-party communication. They can steal information once they are in successfully. For example- The Belkin attack that occurred in 2003.
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Denial-of-service (DoS) Attacks
Oftentimes, these kinds of attacks are intended to be more of a nuisance than anything else.
Hackers use this attack to shut down a network or system so that it becomes inaccessible to its intended users. This is done by flooding the target with traffic or doing something that triggers a crash. In 1996, Panix, one of the oldest internet service providers, went offline for several days due to an attack by the SYN flood.
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It is one of the most common attacks. Phishing involves fake emails and text messages to scam people into giving hackers access to their private information. For example- The Ukrainian Power Grid Attack in the year 2015.
SQL Injection Attack
SQL injection is a web security vulnerability that allows an attacker to insert malicious code onto an SQL-using server. It allows an attacker to view data and in many cases, modify or delete them, causing changes to an application’s content or behaviour. For example- GhostShell attack and the HBGary Breach.
Why are Cybercrimes Increasing?
The average cost of a data breach in the financial services sector records the highest than any industry, at 5.85 million USD according to Varonis. A cyberattack has the potential to disable the economy of an entire nation, which is why information risk management is critical. Cybint mentions that 95% of Cyber Security breaches are due to human errors.
Data breaches can involve:
- Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
- Financial information like bank details or credit card information
- Protected Health Information (PHI)
- Intellectual property
- Trade secrets
- Other targets of industrial espionage
- Unintentional information disclosure
- Data leak
- Cloud leak
- Information leakage or a data spill
Cyber-attacks may happen at so many levels. Due to the increasing exposure of sensitive information to the web, information theft has become the fastest-growing cybercrime. Not only that, but compromising data integrity permanently is also another form of causing disruption and havoc.
Cybercriminals are becoming more and more clever and sophisticated in their ways. It is an evolving situation so Ethical Hackers and Cyber Security engineers have to be on their toes at all times and find different ways to fight off new forms of attack. One of the easiest forms is social engineering with spyware, phishing, and ransomware being the easiest forms of entry.
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A study done by Varonis suggests that a lot of organizations have poor Cyber Security practices and unprotected data, making them vulnerable to attacks. Another common issue is the poor Cyber Security practices of third-party and fourth-party vendors who process your data. This increases the need for vendor risk management and third-party risk management.
Other factors that lead to the rise in cybercrimes include:
- The internet’s distributed nature
- Difficulty in policing cybercriminals attacking targets outside their jurisdiction
- Commerce and high profitability on the dark web
- The rise in mobile devices
- Adoption of Internet of Things (IoT)
- The recent rise in remote workforces due to the Covid-19 pandemic
The increase in cybercrimes is why we need Cyber Security all the more.
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Impact of Cybercrime
Given the nature and intensity of the attack and the difficulty in detection, it can be hard to understand the direct and indirect costs that may involve in the event of a data breach. This doesn’t mean that the damage is any less.
Cybercrimes can have a negative impact in a range of ways including:
- Economic costs - Theft of corporate information, intellectual property, disruption in trading, and the cost of repairing involved
- Reputational cost – Loss of consumer trust, loss of current and future customers, and negative media coverage
- Regulatory costs – GDPR and other data breach laws mean that an organization may have to pay regulatory fines or sanctions as a result of cybercrimes
All employees in any business should be made to understand such threats, how to minimize such risks, and Cyber Security and its importance. It can be done through regular training and a set framework to work with.
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Importance of Cyber Security
There is no indication that the reliance on technology will ever subside. This means that there are more cases of sensitive information and bank details being found stored in cloud storage services that result in data leaks and identity thefts more often. Hence, it is inevitably crucial to understand Cyber Security awareness.
From using computer systems every day to the rise in cloud services, we have a myriad of Cyber Security threats to be concerned about. Governments around the world are turning their attention to cybercrimes. There have been major cyber attacks over the years. For example- The Melissa virus attack in the year 1999, the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, the NASA Cyber attack in 1999 etc. Councils like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have begun releasing frameworks to help everyone understand the security risks, Cyber Security measures, and prevention methods.
Cyber threats can arise at any level in the organization and the attacks are getting more sophisticated day by day. For Example- The WannaCry attack flooded millions of systems across the world in May 2017. Organizations are aware of this and spend loads of time and money on cyber security technologies and processes. Reports state that the Indian government has increased the funds allocated for cyber security in the IT industry. The figure has reached 170 crores from 102 crores for the year 2020-2021. As per the report by the Data Security Council of India, the country’s cyber security services industry is projected to reach USD $ 7.6 Billion by 2022. The world has witnessed a shift to remote working and hence, the importance of cyber security has been leveraged more than before.
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What does tight Cyber Security look like?
Fortunately, there are many handy Cyber Security practices that one can adopt in their daily life to reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks.
- Strong Password Selection – If not anything, we have all been annoyingly reminded, time and again that our passwords should be between 8 and 12 characters with a mix of upper and lower case letters, at least one number, and a unique character (Eg: #, !, ?, @). No matter how lazy you feel or how complicated it seems, avoid using simple passwords and definitely, don’t set obvious passwords about yourself.
- Keep Your Wi-Fi Secure – Ensure that your Wi-Fi network is protected. Use WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2).
- Install Antivirus Software – Antivirus software is an obvious, easy, and inexpensive answer to protect your systems.
- Avoid Suspicious Emails and Texts – If you are not sure of an email address or phone number or are suspicious of them, don’t open the emails or messages. Delete them without a second thought. It is very much likely that these are opening gambits in an identity theft attempt or a phishing scam.
- Use Firewalls and Encryption – Firewalls help in the inbound and outbound network traffic regulation. They block suspicious websites. Financial transactions should include encryption as the software scrambles the data. This means that even if there is a leakage of information, it’s rendered useless unless the attacker also has the encryption key.
- Safeguard Your Devices – One of the easiest and most successful entry points for hackers is through your devices like laptops, smartphones, or tablets. All the hacker has to do is physically grab it and log in. So, make sure your devices are never left unattended in public or with people you don’t know. Also, make sure to set strong login passwords.
- Wise Bluetooth and GPS Usage – It’s possible to penetrate a system using a Bluetooth or GPS connection. GPS lets people be aware of your location, so it’s recommended to keep it turned off. The same goes for Bluetooth as hackers can gain access to your device through it.
- Taking Cyber Security Courses – Understand the importance of studying Cyber Security. The more knowledgeable you are about Cyber Security, the better you can protect your systems and network.
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A Career in Cyber Security
With the increased awareness about the benefits of Cyber Security, it is no surprise that there are many opportunities available to start a career in this field.
The unemployment rate in Cyber Security is 0% and is expected to remain that way through 2021 – CSO Online
Whether you want to learn Cyber Security for personal use or a new career, you can sign up for an introductory course to give you a foundational look at the current Cyber Security landscape. It will teach you the evaluation and management of security protocols in information processing systems.
You will get to learn about information security, security architecture, how to fix vulnerabilities and threats, and risk and incident management for protection against cyberattacks.
Below are six of the highest paying job profiles in Cyber Security:
- Network Security Engineer
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Security Architect
- Cyber Security Manager
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
- Ethical Hacker
The average annual salary of a Cyber Security professional in India is around ₹717,800 according to PayScale. ZipRecruiter records an average annual salary of about US$111,000 in the US for Cyber Security Specialists.
There are over 4,000 Cyber Security positions in India and 77,000+ Cyber Security jobs in the US listed on LinkedIn.
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If you think that you can’t possibly be the victim of a Cyberattack and only big organizations are major targets, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Anyone who is connected to the internet and not vigilant enough can easily fall prey. Since connected devices are easy targets, learning the need for Cyber Security is the first step you can take to protect your data and digital assets.
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