What is cyber security?
Cyber security can be described as the security measures or precautions that any organization take to defend its software from malicious attack. These malicious attacks can be carried out from any corner of the world and can be carried out by either an individual or group of people, the people who carry out such attacks are called Hackers. Hacker groups like “Anonymous” are a real threat to any organization or even the whole countries. Since most of the crucial data is backed up on remote servers everyday by governments and large organizations. These hackers are continuously finding ways to access classified data and manipulate it. Many hackers demand ransom in the form of cryptocurrency that is virtually untraceable in order to return this data or give the owners access back to their software systems.
Hackers are getting smarter every day, and they keep finding new ways to gain access to systems with military level security. Large organizations like FaceBook and Google face thousands of attacks every day, and they even have a bounty system which offers some amount of cash to these hackers if they identify a bug or a security loophole. The reason for this is that when big companies are offering you reward upfront along with recognition that you have found some vulnerability in their system, and when a hacker is offered that then they don’t really think about asking for ransom or getting into any illegal activity.
There are three types of hackers that are trying to break security. White hat hackers, Grey hat and black hat. White hat hackers are clean and legit, they try to break the security of any system and soon as they find some vulnerability, they report it to the authorities and demand recognition and some bounty for their efforts which they usually get without much hassle. They grey hat hackers are kind of mysterious, as they will try to break security of systems just for the fun of it, or to check and improve their skills, but when they do find a vulnerability, they don’t do anything about it, they just let it be. These two kinds of hackers and the attacks they carry out are mostly okay and appreciated or ignored by organizations. But the black hat hackers can not be ignored, as they maliciously try to break into systems security and exploit it. These are the ones who either destroy your data, break your system or demand ransoms to get it running again, they carry out all illegal activities. Cyber security is mostly focused around how to stop these kind of hackers which can collapse whole organizations.
Why cyber security matters?
As explained earlier cyber security is no joke, there is a big role of cyber security in the future of any organization. If cyber security is not kept in mind in the initial stages of any project or organizational infrastructure then the whole process can collapse at anytime even by an undergraduate student sitting in his dorm room trying out his hacking skills. Cyber security is currently very important because these days most people but their monthly groceries online through credit cards, they invest in cryptocurrencies and also alot of online funds transfer is happening everyday throughout the world. Since so much money is involved in daily online activities all black hat hackers try to steal as much as they can by any means necessary.
For organizations cyber security plays a key role in gaining customer and user’s trust. People tend to trust such organizations more which have least reported vulnerabilities, and more stable cyber security in place. There are many cybersecurity certifications like the CompTIA security+ certification which helps security engineers help understand the most common vulnerabilities and how to stop them. Most large organizations get these certifications for their security experts from time to time.
Different areas of cyber security
Cybersecurity can be broken down into various different areas, as cybersecurity itself is a very vast term. It covers all levels of security of a software system. But mostly cybersecurity can be broken down into these four common areas.
- Infrastructure level security
This level of security relates to the infrastructure of any project or the whole organization as well. Before starting any new project or task, infrastructure level security has to be kept in mind. Because things can collapse massively if you start without keeping in mind the infrastructure and what negative side effects might occur in the whole infrastructure itself if something new is introduced. The infrastructure of the system or the whole organization has to be built with expansion in mind, otherwise whenever something new is introduced in the process and there is no proper way to introduce this new feature rather a kind of hack to implement it, then some security is also compromised.
- Application and interface level security
This is more related to the front end of the applications or software. From the front end or user interface there should be no room to pass any malicious data altering queries to the backend or server. The SQL injection is a simple example which can be stopped from application level security. Application level security in most cases only affects the particular application but in severe cases can also lead to organizational vulnerabilities that might have been discovered due to poor security measures on one application.
- Data security
When it comes to web applications data is everything. From each user’s credentials to their login tokens everything can be hacked. Data is the most crucial part in any user based application and when the users data is corrupted or stolen then fundamental usage of that application is broken. At a smaller level data thefts include stealing someone’s social media account credentials, which is harmless for others but severe for that particular individual. On a larger scale, the historic data of organizations can be stolen or manipulated which can result in loss of millions or billions of dollars. An example of this kind of scenario would be data theft or manipulation of stock exchange or Forex.
This is a security level that involves both the technical aspects and human power as well. Organizational security includes implementing such organizational structure that no one from the outside of organization has access to crucial resources of that organization. These resources could include access to data warehouse of an organization, or any employee workstation, or if not physical access than access of any outbound IP to an organization’s internal portals. Social engineering is have organizational security mostly prevents, such as prevent giving access to someone pretending to be the part of organization.