What is Cyber Security?
Today, we are going to talk a little bit about cybersecurity in general. With opportunity comes danger, and the internet is a great example of this. Cybersecurity is a very big subject with many facets, and it would be impossible to cover all of them in this short article. Thus, we are going to give you the essentials only.
WHAT IS CYBERSECURITY?
Cybersecurity can be defined as the art or practice of maintaining good computer security. This can include internet-borne threats as well as physical access threats. It is important to understand the difference between these two threats because they are dealt with differently.
DEALING WITH ONLINE THREATS
An example of an internet-borne threat would be a computer virus that is transmitted over HTTP or a cloud. These viruses can do a number of things, from compromising the functioning of the system to stealing login credentials. Spear-phishing attacks are probably the most common threat of this type.
DEALING WITH PHYSICAL ACCESS THREATS
In some cases, you may have to worry about the old-fashioned methods. Rather than attempt to crack your network, some thieves and criminals will just steal your computer or some other authorized device. By doing this, they can bypass the need for complex and time-consuming measures. Burglary would probably be the most common threat of this type.
METHODS OF ATTACK
If you are going to protect yourself from all the predators out there, it is best to study their ways and learn how they are likely to attack you. For this purpose, you might want to employ the services of a good penetration tester. Also known as “white-hat” hackers, these are the good guys of the hacking world. Instead of using their skills to do illegal things, they help companies and individuals to protect themselves. However, even if you employ a white hat, you should still be familiar with the most common types of attacks.
BRUTE FORCE ATTACKS
These are probably the simplest attacks, and also some of the most effective. Brute force attacks make use of special password cracking programs that are able to guess a password one character at a time. They make many failed attempts to “guess” the password by trying all kinds of words from many different languages. For this reason, attacks like these are sometimes called “dictionary attacks.” For those who don’t use secure passwords, this type of attack is likely to succeed.
These are probably the most common types of attacks, as they are probably the most likely to succeed. There are all kinds of variations on this basic attack method, but it all comes down to one basic principle. You impersonate a website or entity that the user trusts, and by doing so, you trick them into revealing information or clicking a “boobytrapped” link.
Because of the prevalent nature of these attacks, you should always be on the lookout for things that don’t look right. For instance, let’s say you receive an email that looks to be from Paypal. If it is asking you to do something out of the ordinary, you need to immediately check every detail of the email against one that you know to be legit. You see, phishing attacks work through forgery. Specifically, they work by forging a trusted source. However, it is very rare to encounter a perfect forgery.
These attacks are generally directed at corporations and other large entities rather than individuals. Basically, they encrypt all of your files so that you cannot access them. Then, they force you to pay a ransom in order to regain access. These kinds of attacks have become all too common in recent years, as companies will often cover up the consequences. Many of them would rather pay the ransom than deal with the embarrassment of having had their systems compromised.
CYBERSECURITY TIPS FOR EVERYONE
Now, let’s look at the proactive side of things. Here are a few general tips that everyone should know.
- Always use long and complex passwords. The more random they are, the better. This is the best way to defeat brute-force attacks. To make this process easier, we recommend using a password manager.
- Always be careful where you click. Remember that links can be “boobytrapped.”
- Make good use of hard disk encryption to prevent physical access.
- Make good use of VPNs and HTTPS to prevent online access.
- Use a network monitor like Nmap.
- Change passwords anytime something suspicious happens.
- Keep your software up to date at all times, especially security software.
- Use an encrypted email service like Protonmail.
- Never write down your passwords on your computer-use a hard copy!