Cyber Security | Seers Article
The digital world is constantly changing, and cybersecurity has become a main concern for individuals, businesses and governments alike.
The purpose of cybersecurity is to mitigate data breaches, encourage a safe environment for hardware failures. It protects information from ransom attacks from intruders, Who can make your data unreachable unless a ransom payment is agreed using cryptocurrency. Individuals who can gain unauthorized access to the data on your system or networks can range from hackers who write scripts to try to compromise cybersecurity or organized criminal enterprises who will carry out technically advanced attacks, purely for illegal financial gain.
Businesses rely on Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) for their security planning. Everyone must take cybersecurity seriously as ignoring this growing problem will eventually result in an IT disaster. Today, it forms an indispensable part of the risk management strategy for any organisation.
Cyber Security applies to everyone, no matter it is an individual who must ensure that software updates and virus protection is up-to-date, without failing. It also applies to huge organisations, who rely on specialists to ensure their IT infrastructure is fully protected with suitable planning in place, to recover from data breaches. IT is becoming more advanced and complex, so higher-level management should assure security, and that staff within the organisation is fully aware of the online risks.
No software is bug-free, and this makes it riskier. Bugs in software can create security issues, due for this reason, companies like Microsoft are releasing updates for their products such as Windows and Word. These updates include bug fixes but typically address security risks that may have been identified.
Cyber Security Training
Today, IT users are often the cause of cybersecurity issues. Each user has a purpose different from one another when using a computer. While a few people have better knowledge about computer security, whereas many people do not. Every user must understand the cybersecurity risks and how they can work to reduce security breach risks.
Some approaches that help in cybersecurity planning and programs are as follows:
- Software developers must not only able to develop software, but they should code in an approach that halts easy access to potential hackers. Any software developed should also be a PEN (Penetration) tested, this is a key element of cybersecurity, identify to developers security flaws within the software.
- Train individuals to understand how to ensure the best security, such as ensuring business software and virus protection, has the latest updates applied.
- Training end-users to be able to identify emails that are phishing or to not open attachments from unknown sources or social media.
No business can be protected 100% from cyber attacks, regardless of the commitment each organisation has with cybersecurity. However, cyber-attacks usually occur through the most vulnerable point of access. These weak points are quite easy to secure, and if businesses follow basic cybersecurity protocol, the risk can be minimized. These security procedures which are also known as cyber hygiene include elements such as.
- Ensure the latest software updates are installed.
- Ensure the latest virus software is installed.
- Ensuring strong authentication such as strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Not storing sensitive data in locations that can be easily accessed.
These are just the basics. Businesses must extend these practices much further to maximize their cybersecurity, as experienced hackers will find any weaknesses that may exist. With the advancement of technology, the security risks are now increasing in business computers, and at homes. There are now many physical systems that can be hacked, including:
- Automotive systems
- Airlines systems
- Internet-enabled electronic devices
- Automated systems such as traffic lights in a busy city
The Internet of Things (IoT), also brings new challenges for cybersecurity. With more reliance on these systems, cybersecurity has never been more critical. New regulations, such as the GDPR, are adding further complications to cybersecurity. The GDPR, for example, has a clear security policy, with large GDPR fines for non-compliance. With cyber-attacks becoming more frequent and destructive, resulting in potentially huge financial losses for businesses as well as their credibility, businesses are looking to experience cybersecurity professionals to ensure their organisations are fully protected.
Finding suitably experienced professionals has become a difficult task, with the sudden rise in cyber attacks, there is now a distinct shortage of suitable candidates for these high-end security roles.
The key elements of cybersecurity
The definition of cybersecurity needs to be understood more granularly. Businesses with cybersecurity strategies need to ensure that each of the subcategories is considered, overlooking any, potentially will leave organisations vulnerable.
Communities are relying on critical infrastructure for their day to day existence. These systems include hospitals, utility companies such as electric, gas or water, and automated systems used throughout cities such as traffic lights and railway crossings for example.
These critical infrastructure systems are linked to the Internet, and anything having internet connection is at risk of a cyber-attack. The organisations that manage the critical infrastructure must ensure the highest level of planning for cybersecurity, and continually re-evaluate their planning, contingency plans, and risk analysis/prevention is an ongoing process.
Protection of data and information on a network within an organisation can be controlled with different levels of login/user access. Such a move limits the access for individuals within an organisation and for malicious users from outside the organisation that may have gained access.
There are specialised tools that control traffic on a network; these tools will also highlight potential risks. The issue with these tools is, they are continually generating data. Due to the thousands of logs that are created, genuine alerts may be missed in the process. With the continued advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, security software can identify and alert of imminent risks.
More organisations are storing and sharing data on the Cloud, such as:
- GSuite for emails, storage, and productivity
- DropBox and One Drive for storage
- Xero for accounts
- Office365 for productivity
This creates further issues about cybersecurity and also for new regulations like the GDPR. Poorly configured cloud solutions can result in cyber attacks, and it introduces a substantial risk. Cybersecurity is no longer under the control of your organisation. Businesses are relying on others to implement cyber security strategies. Organisations should carefully consider individual cloud solutions before leaping, perform due diligence to ensure these vendors also take cyber security seriously.
The most vulnerable area for cybersecurity is web applications. With developers worldwide creating web applications, each development team has a different skillset and coding standards. Often developers have not created the systems with secure coding practices, leaving these systems vulnerable and prone to attack.
Web applications must be tested for security weaknesses by performing Penetration (PEN) testing. Software such as OWASP or Fortify will identify issues within web applications that can be addressed by the developers. PEN testing isn’t a one-off procedure; the process must repeat at regular intervals as new hacking techniques become known, ensure the software is always secure.
This can be related to any system that can be accessed via the Internet, such as automated lighting and heating at home, fitness apps tracking your daily actions or a speed sensor in a motor vehicle for an insurance company.
IoT systems are installed, and the software or security updates are ignored. Such behavior can risk the privacy of the users of the IoT systems and also others as often the IoT systems are part of a botnet.
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