What is Cyber Security: Everything You Need to Know
There’s a lot of money in information, which is why threats from cybercriminals are growing increasingly common.
Cyber security is arguably the most important measure modern organisations can take to keep their clients’ information safe. However, what cyber security actually entails is often misconstrued by key decision-makers within organisations.
In this article, we’ll be giving you a total overview on cyber security, including: what it is, what it focuses on, what it protects you from and why it’s important.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security focuses on protecting computer systems and digital infrastructures from online attack. This includes components such as hardware, software, and data.
People often confuse cyber security with information security, which is a much broader concept that is concerned with protecting all aspects of information including hard and digital copies.
Thankfully, some organisations are waking up to the alarming threat that cybercrime poses and have begun investing in staff training to better prepare and arm themselves against new-age digital threats.
Unfortunately, not everyone’s up to speed. Only 51% of businesses and 29% of charities have installed the five basic technical controls of cyber security, as defined by the NCSC. It’s great news for cybercriminals, especially when you consider the number of data breaches and successful attacks occurring every year.
While your organisation might seem secure, ask yourself, is it doing enough to mitigate threats and protect both monetary and informational assets?
Why is Cyber Security Important?
Cyber security awareness is at an all-time high, owing to the hundreds of high-profile cyber attacks every single year. Shockingly, 2018 saw nearly half of all UK businesses fall victim to cyber attacks. If these had all been physical robberies, we’d be talking about an unprecedented crime wave.
The reason for those attacks is simple: there’s money in cyber crime. Just this week, news hit that the UN is set to investigate North Korea for a series of alleged cyber attacks that are thought to have raised over $2bn for nuclear weapons.
When it comes to your organisation, effective cyber security could be the difference between success and failure.
A data breach can damage everything from your finances to your reputation, the latter being much harder to earn back. You don’t need to look too far for an example. Last year, the infamous Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data breach resulted in 5% of Brits deleting their accounts – and that’s Facebook!
It’s crucial to understand these threats so that you are in the best position to protect yourself and your organisation. In order to do this, you need to learn the three pillars of cyber security and the types of threats that are out there.
What are the Three Pillars of Cyber Security?
We believe there are three key pillars of cyber security. By addressing these pillars, organisations can protect themselves from both impulsive and premeditated attacks. They are:
The most advanced technology in the world is powerless if the people in your organisation are vulnerable to exploitation. Most data breaches are the result of human error or malicious intervention. From an organisational point of view, it only takes one person to fall for a phishing email to compromise your whole system.
We believe that staff awareness training is by far the most effective way to instil a cyber security culture within your organisation.
Processes are like a checklist and guide you can follow to make sure you’re employing the best practices for cyber security. It is also a great way of communicating with your employees exactly what is expected of them.
These processes can be far-reaching, from employees’ roles and responsibilities when processing information to reporting suspect emails. Certifications such as ISO 27001, which is covered by our cyber security training courses, can help you develop cyber-safe processes that best suit your organisation.
Technology is your initial defence against cyber attacks.
Cybercriminals are constantly changing their tactics and your antivirus software needs to match this. This is not to say that you should look to install new software, but rather to keep on top of new versions and updates as these could protect you from a new threat that the old version would not recognise.
Whilst we at Bob’s Business think too much emphasis is placed on technological solutions compared to the human factor, it’s vital that software is kept up to date.
What are the Different Types of Cyber Security Threat?
There are a host of cyber security threats that could damage your organisation. We have identified the three most common avenues cybercriminals explore when attacking an organisations finances or data.
Social engineering uses psychological tactics to prey on people, rather than technology. Using ultimatums and evoking urgency to make victims act rashly and give away information. The most common and successful method for this is email phishing.
We have written extensively on how to spot phishing emails but an example might be an email which demands you: ‘pay £50 now to avoid being charged £1,000’ or says ‘we believe your account has been hacked, please enter your login details to avoid your account being deleted’.
This is a broad term that describes any software that is designed to harm a computer system. This can include trojans, worms, viruses and more. Each of these can be downloaded by following a link in an email or using an illegitimate website.
Staff training is crucial to stopping malware from infecting your system. Quite simply, your employees need to know what they’re looking for.
For example, many people look at the lock icon and ‘HTTPS’ next to a web address and assume it’s safe. However, cybercriminals can recreate this with ease and goad victims into thinking they’re using the internet safely.
Ransomware is a type of malware that is an extremely popular choice of attack for cybercriminals. After installing harmful software onto your computer system, cybercriminals will encrypt all the data on the device and demand payment to allow the organisation to use the system again.
Notorious ransomware attacks include the Wannacry attack, which infected over 300,000 devices and caused untold financial and reputational damage to organisations as large as the NHS, FedEx, Renault and Hitachi.
For businesses, the most effective solutions to combat ever-evolving cyber security threats is to keep your software up to date and implement staff training in cyber security awareness to create a secure culture.
Learn more about how we can help educate your staff in cyber security awareness here.