How Important is Cyber Security?

Posted on February 16th, 2015 by Justin Powell in Basics, Security, Technology | Comments Off

Understanding Cyber Security

From a National scale to your local businesses, to even your home PC, Cyber Security is an important aspect of every day computing. Over the past decade, computer use by a national scale has increased significantly in both home and work surroundings. With the introduction of the smart phones and tablets, most people don’t need to be at home to stay connected online. Because as a society, we’ve grown so fond of our technological advances, it’s easy to forget the measures we take to protect our valuable information. For us to fully appreciate the importance of cyber security, we must first understand what it means.

The term “cyber security” encompasses the entire field of data protection whether a user is authorized to handle protected data or an unauthorized one is trying to gain access to it. It also includes both physical and non-physical security measures as well. Some examples of physical security would be a physical firewall which directs network flow and connectivity to outside sources or the keypad unlock feature on a smart phone. Non-physical security would consist of such things like your anti-virus software or encryption software.

Attacks

The number of known digital attack methods are numerous and they vary greatly based off their method of gaining entry. Attacks are the sole reason why we take cyber security as a society so seriously. Types of attacks range from a direct attack method such as a computer virus or trojan to using another person’s computer to gain entry to wanted data. Some attacks happen because of the vulnerabilities that already exist in a computer system.

Reasons for Attacks

The reasons for attacks vary as well depending on the person or group who’s committing the attack. Some attacks are performed merely done for bragging rights, thrill-seeking, to cause vandalism. Attackers may also be trying to gain intelligence of some sort or committing some form of espionage. Some are out to gain profit from their attacks, using viruses to gain access to bank account numbers and credit card security codes. Last but not least, there are the attacks that are made to test the vulnerability of a security system which in most cases are done by IT professionals who are looking for ways to bolster up their security.

So, how Important is Cyber Security then?

Cyber security is monumentally important to everyone. Risk of loosing anything from your entire identity to something as insignificant as a social media password is becoming more and more of a concern each day. Reports of hacking have only increased over time as computers have been more accessible to people around the world. It’s more commonplace now to hear about a friend losing their email account to a hacker than ever before. Some of you might even be that friend who’s email account was hacked. The deadlines at which software application developers must meet in order to be competitive in today’s markets are leaving more security loop holes and vulnerabilities than ever before. Many super businesses operate strictly online now days, many of which are still reporting to have been the victims of hacking even as they invest millions in their security.

It’s important to realize that anyone can take control of their chance of risk when it comes to cyber security. You don’t need to be an IT professional with a degree to protect your information.  I found that the best place to start learning how to protect yourself is government agency websites, like the FBI’s website, reputable tech websites such as Tech Advisor or reputable blogs like Wiki How.

 


 

Recent Cyber Attack News Headlines

Anthem, Inc. – Records Database Breach
Thursday, January 29, 2015

The well known health insurance provider company Anthem, recently fell prey to a “very sophisticated” cyber attack according to an official company statement from Joseph R. Swedish (President  & CEO). The attack targeted their IT systems and stole a wide assortment of their policy holder’s information. It’s speculated that the hackers were able to obtain names, birthdays, social security information, street addresses, email addresses, and sources of income. The FBI investigative reports are still underway to find out if other customer records that fell prey to the hackers. While Joseph’s press release doesn’t give any clear number of people affected to this attack, the New York Times reported that “…as many as 80 million records” were accessed.  Anthem is one of the primary sources of health coverage in 14 states.  This Anthem attack is being named as one of the largest medical related cyber attacks in history.

Sony Pictures Entertainment – International Cyber Attack
Monday, November 24, 2014

Shortly after Sony Pictures caught insight of a large scale abduction of personal records from their company database, a group by the name “Guardians of Peace” (GOP) came forward to take responsibility.  The demand was for Sony Pictures to cancel a film that featured a plot revolving around the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.  United States intelligence officials deemed the culprit to be North Korea once the method and style of attack was analyzed.  North Korea denied all U.S. accusations of the attack.  This led to U.S. Government officials raising new arguments for stronger trade sanctions and safe guards against nations vying to hijack U.S. commerce and business property.

Since the attack, skeptics poured over the facts and scrutinized a possible legitimacy of North Korea’s denial claim.  These skeptics included big names from cyber intelligence agencies as well as reformed hackers.  Even with the combined efforts of these individuals bringing new evidence to FBI attention, the FBI remains resolute on placing the blame on North Korea.

|