With modern technologies evolving every day, life seems easier than ever – our compact gadgets contain powerful stuffing, and even home appliances connect easily to wifi. But without proper cyber-security solutions your private information can be in danger of leaking.
The definition of cyber security is easy to understand – it is a number of technological solutions designed to protect users, software and/or computer systems from unwanted access. Today cyber-security awareness is growing as people do not just search for information or communicate through the internet – they perform transactions, buy and sell goods, keep private data in cloud storage, and much more. Cyber security policy involves preventing digital attacks, which are usually aimed at deleting or leaking information, or stealing money.
Depending on the level of protection, cyber security can be divided into several types:
- Data security
This type of digital security involves protecting users’ private information. The means of data security usually include user authorization, cryptography, complicated passwords, etc.
- Network protection
When a digital attack is launched on a network, harm is caused to each member of the network. Antiviruses and firewalls can prevent unauthorized members from intruding into the network, thus keeping its data safe.
- Apps protection
This type of cyber security concentrates on an app’s data protection, such as flaws in its design or features.
Knowing what is cyber security is not enough: each user should understand its importance. Huge cyber attacks can ruin businesses and global organizations; they can deprive thousands of people of the money in their bank accounts within a minute. With the data-protection technologies evolving, digital attacks are also taking on more complex features and forms.
Main types of digital threats
Cyber risk relates to several types of malicious programs, each of which performs certain functions. Viruses, for instance, are able to replace normal files with themselves, or attach to them, causing damage to a compromised computer, such as stealing information, modifying files, or corrupting the work of the hardware. Viruses usually exist on their own or as a parasite within a program; once they get into a system, they start replicating and searching for uninfected files and programs.
Viruses stop functioning as soon as the program they are attached to is deleted, but sometimes they can remain in the memory and continue infecting. Modern antivirus software easily detects them and constantly improves their database to protect the users.
Another peculiar type of cyber crime is stealing the identity of a victim, which usually involves creating a copy of a social media page or getting an access to it. This is performed by frauds who pretend to be a chosen person on the social media platform and start sending out messages asking for money or private information. Some criminals manage to get some personal or compromising information and blackmail their victims. To protect yourself from such a cyber attack, use complicated passwords, and never fail to log out of your social media page if you are using someone else’s device.
You may be wondering how hackers actually steal your passwords. There are various methods – for instance, digital criminals can generate so-called password attacks, when a huge number of passwords are entered every second, and eventually one of them turns out to be correct. Another way to get all your personal data, PINs and passwords is by using keyloggers – programs that track all your activities on the computer. The data received can be used to steal money from your accounts or can be sold to a third-party member, e.g. carders.
Adware is probably the most irritating type of cyber attack with its unbearable pop-ups, which can either be benign, aiming simply to show you all these awful ads, or rather harmful – as soon as you install the adware component it gets permissions that allow it to track or modify your data. Another way to get an adware is by clicking on a suspicious banner, which usually draws your attention by its catchy headline or a tempting offer. The people who buy that may not seem smart, but the number of such people is still too high to believe in human evolution.
The Trojan Horse myth has given birth to a household phrase and a cyber-crime term. Trojans represent a harmful software that actually mimics a normal program. After being installed it starts causing all sorts of damage to a computer.
Ransomware is the type of software that blocks your computer in order to get payment from you for its removal. You can get such a program in the same ways as any other type of virus – from an untrusted website or link, for example. Your files are encrypted and a warning message appears on the screen after the program gets into the system.
Phishing emails are sent out in order to get a victim’s personal data, card details, etc. They contain links with malicious software and are not always easy to identify. Spam is more primitive and is often sorted out into the relevant folder, but we all know at least one person who believed in the existence of a rich Nigerian uncle who passed away.
These are far from being all the methods of performing a cyber attack on your devices – their is a rich variety of them, and new ways to bypass the security are constantly being invented. However, software developers are keeping track of all new malware and building new means to stop it.
Cyber security strategy: how to make your data invincible
Cyber security articles contain lots of effective ways of preventing cyber attack. This is especially significant for businesses and large organizations who can lose clients and money due to a digital attack, but every individual should also stick to cyber security rules to keep their data and money safe.
First and foremost, you should get and install some cyber security tools. Pick an antivirus and update it regularly, and update your operating system as well; implement firewall programs for your internet connection. Make sure your wifi connection is secure and the password is only known to you or your employees.
If you own a business, make sure your staff members are aware of cyber-security principles and treat them seriously. Create accounts for each individual and make sure all of them have a sufficient level of access to the network or your software.
Backups are a must for those who care about their information protection: do them regularly so as not to be taken unaware. Change your passwords too, and make sure no one else knows them. And, just as importantly, keep your gadgets safe – if your smartphone is stolen, the thief will be able to get a lot of personal data from it.
Cyber security tips - what also matters
The world’s list of cyber attacks already includes thousands of local or huge ones leading to catastrophes. The most recent large cyber attacks shocked millions of people and became notorious. For instance, in 2014, South Korea survived a nightmare – more than 20 million bank accounts were stolen and over 100 million credit cards were placed in the hands of fraudsters. The amount of damage is unbelievable.
But money is not everything. Several huge companies, including Sony, Yahoo, Google and others, have gone through users’ data being leaked and accounts being stolen. Huge hotel chains, adult dating sites, and credit companies have had their customers’ personal data compromised, including private information and payment credentials. This affects the companies themselves, who suffer colossal losses, and ordinary people, whose private lives and money are intruded on.
To keep yourself safe from a digital attack, track the latest cyber security news – learn about new methods of fraud, effective modern software, etc. to be ready to protect your data. Make sure the banks, stores, hospitals and other public places you use provide complete personal data security and refuse their services if they do not.
Cyber-attack prevention has already become one of the many world governments’ issues, on which a lot of money is spent, but the cases of powerful viruses or spyware paralyzing the market and stealing thousands of passwords are still common.
Here is a list of other cyber security tips that will help you protect against your private data being breached:
We all think of mass cyber attacks or local frauds as things that will never happen to us. This is a fallacy. Each of us is a potential victim, a target for cyber criminals.
Work on your password
The length of a password is usually about 8 different symbols, and this may not be enough. Create a unique one using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g. !, ?, $, etc.) – use lower and upper case letters, and don’t make it too obvious.
Use trustworthy resources
Never click on a suspicious link or visit a suspicious site. If you receive an email from an unknown person and it contains an attachment, think twice before downloading it and pay attention to the file type.
Use your own device
It’s a bad idea to make an online order or payment using a public computer or someone else’s device.
Use devices you trust
Flash drives are used less frequently today, but they are a potential source of danger for your computer. Plug in only those devices that you absolutely trust.
Don’t share too much
Control what you post on your social media accounts. Geolocations and vacation photos are nice but they can become a lead for burglars.
Today, cyber risk can not be underestimated – millions of people have already suffered from data breach and new threats are constantly appearing. That is why cyber security policy is a must for every business of any size. Every individual should also care for the protection of their personal information. Follow simple yet effective cyber security tips, watch the safety of your devices and passwords, never click on something that looks strange, and your passwords will remain safe.