The internet is everywhere! From your personal computers to your mobile phones – from your homes to your offices, the internet has touched almost every aspect of your lives.
And, the increasing usage of technology, and the internet has completely transformed the way you imagined the work culture, and this has continued for more than a decade now.
Internet, and cyberspaces continue to dominate, and transform your lives, the way you live them, and also the way you do business. There is hardly any organization that does not make use of cyberspaces.
According to Datareportal.com, “5.07 billion people around the world use the internet as of October 2022 – that’s equivalent to 63.5 percent of the world’s total population”.
However, not everyone on the internet has good intentions. The online environment is rife with threats to your security, and Cybersecurity, and also to the safety of your business.
In a time where companies, celebrities, and even governments are coming under cyber attacks, getting hacked, and becoming a victim of cyber attacks may seem inevitable. Thus, Cybersecurity has become a critical need of this 21st century.
However, what exactly is Cybersecurity? Are there any levels to it? And how can you ensure that you are using the internet safely, and securely? In this post, we are going to explore Cybersecurity, its types, and cool, and handy tips for safe, and happy web surfing! Let’s get started.
What is Cybersecurity?
What is Cybersecurity? Since you now do most of your day-to-day tasks like shopping, sharing important data, payments, etc. online, it is very important to keep yourself safe, and secure while doing so. Cybersecurity is all about safeguarding, and protecting yourself from hackers, and malicious attacks online.
Cybersecurity can be defined as the sum of all the activities that help you defend, and safeguard yourselves, and your networks, devices, and important data, and files while you use the internet or your electronic devices like personal computers, laptops, mobile phones, etc.
It is also known as Information Technology or IT security, however, Cybersecurity is a much more popular term.
Cybersecurity saves you from “cyber attacks”. Cyber attacks, just as the name suggests, are attempts by hackers or cyber criminals that can maliciously steal, destroy, and expose your important data or other assets without permission.
They target computer information systems, and other computer devices to alter or gain access to important files, and networks.
Every year, thousands of people become victims of cyber attacks. While some of them are unavoidable, many of them are the results of users not paying attention to Cybersecurity. And, if you think that common people are more prone to cyber attacks, then you are absolutely wrong.
Even government, and popular organizations are no stranger to cyber attacks. A popular example where government data was compromised or exposed is attacks by the group “Anonymous”.
However, many people do not consider the group to be criminals, and often call them the “Hacktivists (Hacker Activists) as they work towards exposing powerful organizations for public welfare.
Moreover, many tech giants like Facebook, and Yahoo have been victims of some big cyber attacks. Some great examples are Sony PlayStation hack (2011), The Adobe hack (2013), Data Breach at eBay (2014), Bangladesh Bank cyber-heist (2016), and Yahoo Hacks (2016).
Want to learn more about major cyber attacks? Click here to learn about The Most Significant Cyber Attacks from 2006-2020, by Country.
Some common types of cyber threats are Denial-of-service (DoS), and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, Phishing, Malware attack, Identity theft, Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack, Session Hijacking, Eavesdropping attack, etc.
Cyber attacks are dangerous. They can not only cost you your important data, but also pose threat to your personal information, bank account security, money, and much more. Some cyberattacks like Identity theft can sometimes take years for the person to completely recover.
The wrath of cybercriminals can be unpredictable, and there is nothing you can do about it – except its prevention, and being prepared.
Criminals use these attacks to steal personal information of people, and money from around the world, the governments use them for survival, and integrity of national records, and affairs, and hacktivists use them to fulfil their personal agenda, and goals.
However, even with the existence of all these attacks, there are a variety of simple things that you can do to protect yourselves from these attacks. This is where Cybersecurity comes into the picture. Thus, it is always worth paying attention to Cybersecurity, and in using safe, and secure ways to access, and share data online.
Cybersecurity is no more a choice, it is a necessity for safe, and secure web surfing, and for the safety, and integrity of your business.
We will now discuss the types of Cybersecurity. These are some integral ways that can help you protect yourself, your devices, your network, and your information while surfing the internet. So without further adieu, let’s dive in!
Types of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is in itself a complex term that is applied in a variety of contexts. Here are the most common types of Cybersecurity.
Often referred to as Network Security, Network security is a type of Cybersecurity that focuses on defending a computer network like a local area network from hackers, malware, and cyber attacks. Network Security helps you prevent threats, and other types of malware from entering or spreading on the network.
Information Security deals with the privacy, and security of your personal data, and information, either when you share it online or when you store it on your system.
Then we have Application Security which lays emphasis on the security of softwares, and other types of applications, to keep them free from malware, and other malicious stuff.
Application Security is not something that comes as an add-on but refers to all the practices that are incorporated in the design stage of the application.
Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity is the type of Cybersecurity dealing with the response of an organization to a cyber attack.
This aims at designing, and implementing a well-researched cyber attack recovery plan, and also focuses on restoring organizational operations, and ensuring that the operations return to the same as before.
End User Education is the part of Cybersecurity that aims at educating people, and making them aware of safe cyber practices, and online behavior.
For example, clicking on spam, and malicious emails, and attachments, or downloading stuff without an antivirus, or clicking on suspicious websites can make you a victim of viruses, and cyber attacks.
So, end-user education in Cybersecurity takes into account your online behavior, and addresses not the threat, but the users. It is all about teaching the users more about how they can safeguard themselves from cyber attacks, and hackers.
So, these are the categories of Cybersecurity. Let’s learn more about them in detail.
As previously discussed, Network Security is a type of Cybersecurity that comprises a wide range of rules, regulations, practices, and tech to help safeguard your computer network, devices, and processes. Thus, protecting proprietary information from cyber attacks.
The main focus of network security is to enhance the safety, integrity, and privacy of computer networks within an organization or on a larger scale, also protect the data shared, and accessed within the network.
It protects data, and systems from not only outside threats, and unauthorized personnel but also from people inside the network such as employees.
Since the number of people becoming victims of cyber attacks is increasing, it is very crucial for every organization to pay special attention to Network Security, and the need for Network Security Strategy, and its implementation.
It is worth noticing that cyber attacks can harm different levels of your network. For example, sometimes your physical network security can be compromised, as sometimes your technical network security can be harmed.
A well-designed, and implemented Network Security plan provides you with an all-around protection on the physical, technical, and administrative levels of your network.
Physical Network Security refers to the practices, and techniques that secure the physical elements or components of your network such as systems, routers, etc.
Technical Network Security works on protecting data that is stored, accessed, or is in transit within the network or from your network to another network.
Lastly, Administrative Network Security is all the security policies, and techniques that take into account the administrators, the IT staff, and users of the network, and how they access the network, and implement changes to it.
To enhance the security of your network there is a whole range of applications, and safety management tools that you can use. Some of the most commonly used methods to secure your network are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), using a Firewall, using Antivirus software, and defining Network Access Controls.
Let us briefly discuss about each of them.
Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network, commonly abbreviated as VPN, is a great network security tool that protects your network by creating your own private network from a public internet connection. By doing so, you can keep your data safe, and get great privacy, and anonymity.
It can hide your IP address, encrypt your internet traffic, and disguise your online identity in real-time due to which your online actions are not traceable (virtually). Thus, no third party can track your online activity or steal data from you over the internet. This, ultimately helps you secure your network.
A Firewall Protection, or simply called a Firewall, is a software that protects your network from untrusted networks, and third parties. A firewall does not let you connect to the potential sources of malware, viruses, and other malicious content, and also monitors the incoming, and outgoing network traffic.
Thus, it is a highly efficient, and reliable network security solution. Some popular firewalls are FortiGate, Sophos XG Firewall, Check Point Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs), Huawei Firewall, and GlassWire Firewall.
Antivirus Software, also known as Antimalware Software are special applications that safeguard your systems, devices, and your network from a wide range of malicious content including viruses, ransomware, worms, spam, and trojans. There are hundreds of anti-virus softwares to choose from.
Most antivirus softwares also let you scan your system, and every file on it for viruses, and other malware whenever you want. Moreover, they continuously scan, and track files over your system, connected devices, and the network to provide great levels of network security.
Network Access Controls
Just as the name suggests, these are some basic yet highly useful controls that define the levels of accessibility of the network. To ensure that the network is completely safe, it is important to clearly define how much control a user has over your network.
Thus, by defining network access controls, you can avoid potential attackers or hackers, and protect your network from being infiltrated.
For example, you can provide certain prominent figures in your organization full access, and control over your network but can deny other employees permission to access the Network in the same way as them.
Information Security, commonly abbreviated as InfoSec is a crucial part of Cybersecurity. InfoSec refers to all the safety tools, and processes designed for securing your data, and important files, and information.
It’s not just preventing unauthorized access to your organizational data, and information, but also aims at preventing any type of stealing, disclosure, alteration, manipulation, or destruction of important documents, and files.
Information is often stored in records. These records can either be stored electronically in the form of files, spreadsheets, or in the cloud or can be maintained physically in the form of files, and folders. Since we are discussing about Cybersecurity, our focus here is on digital information.
By creating, and using a well-structured, and strategized information security management system, organizations can help you secure your data, and minimize risks from hackers, and other such entities accessing, stealing, or exposing your sensitive data.
Information Security doesn’t stop at your company files, and records. Your biometrics, the data, and information in your laptop, and mobile devices, and even the information you share on social media, and other sites – everything is taken into consideration when discussing about Information Security.
It’s easy to forget that the information you put on social media is visible not only to your actual social circles but also to thousands of people online – strangers who you’ve never met.
According to geeksforgeeks.org, Information Security programs have three main goals. These are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. Most of these programs are centered on these three parameters.
Confidentiality means that your important data, and information remain confidential, and are not exposed or shared with other unauthorized entities, cybercriminals, and hackers.
Integrity helps you maintain the clarity of your data, and ensure that the information is accurate, and complete. This helps you ensure that you have full control over who can edit, and make changes to the data, and prevent any unauthorized changes to your data.
Availability talks about the availability of information, and ensures that all your information must be available when needed. Information should always be readily available for administrators, and employees to use.
Certain cyber attacks, like Denial of service attacks can harm the availability of your organizational or personal data, and information.
At its most basic, Application Security is the type of Cybersecurity which deals with providing the applications that you use with great safety features, and identifying, and fixing various security threats in the development of the application.
It is the process in which developers make these apps more secure during the development phase of these apps.
These elements are fixed, and enhanced during the development phase of the applications through evaluating encryption, and modifying permissions, and also by checking access rights, network-based security features, firewalls for web applications, and much more.
However, the applications are made more secure even after the development of these apps by making use of some special tools, and techniques.
Since more, and more people are now using mobile applications, and the number of businesses offering mobile applications is also increasing day by day, applications are an easy target of hackers, and cyber criminals. Thus, ensuring their safety is very crucial.
Application Security is an integral step, and part of Cybersecurity. The sooner you can identify threats to your cyber safety, and fix these security issues in the apps that you use, the lesser are your chances to become a victim of cyber attacks.
For example, a common error in the development of your app can make it more prone to certain types of attacks, and make it easier for hackers to infiltrate the app, and steal money, data, and other information.
The applications go through various testing procedures to make them “cyber-safe”.
The critical testing tools or procedures are Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), Origin Analysis/Software Composition Analysis (SCA), Database Security Scanning (DSS), Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST).
A couple of other testing tools or procedures are Application Security Testing as a Service (ASTaaS), Application Security Testing Orchestration (ASTO), Correlation Tools, and Test-Coverage Analyzers.
Let us briefly discuss about these testing tools.
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) depends on white-hat testing, and helps you identify, and fix potential threats in the source code of the application. Here, it is assumed that the hackers, and other unauthorized entities know how your system works.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is different, and opposite. It depends on Black-hat testing, and is based on the assumption that the hackers are aware of the working of your system, and identify security threats during the running of the source code of the app.
Origin Analysis/Software Composition Analysis (SCA) is a great choice for apps that are developed using open source material, and helps you identify any outdated or less advanced elements of your application that may pave a way for hackers to attack.
Database Security Scanning (DSS) scans for various downsides on the database of the app like old software, coding errors, etc.
Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) combines both the elements of SAST, and DAST, and can test an application both when the app is running, and when it is at rest, thus being a more extensive approach towards identifying, and fixing application errors.
Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST), as the name suggests, is the testing of mobile applications, and is very important for any developer making mobile applications for tabs, android devices, and iOS devices.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Cybersecurity not only deals with the prevention of cyber attacks but also takes into account what comes after an adverse cyber attack.
Suppose your organization’s complete network went down or got infiltrated due to an unauthorized access, how would you ensure that the cyber attack does not break your business? More importantly, how would you ensure that the loss is minimal, and all the business operations continue to run smoothly?
Not being well-prepared to remedy the consequences of a cyber attack in advance can be the worst mistake you might make when it comes to the cyber safety of your business. This is where Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery comes into play.
Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) are two closely linked aspects of Cybersecurity. They focus on the ability of a business to respond to cyber attacks, continue the operations at the previous rate, and recover after the cyber attacks by helping you prepare your organization for the unpredictable.
The main objective of Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) is to protect organizations from the aftermath of a cyber attack, and to minimize the effects of outages while also preventing, and reducing the potential risks of data loss, and reputational harm.
Since cyber attacks can greatly hamper the operations of a business, which can even cost them huge sums of money (both in direct, and indirect costs), BCDR is very important.
Many organizations nowadays establish a BCDR function in their IT departments. This helps them to be prepared, and have a head start when it comes to cyber attacks. However, this preparation isn’t as easy as it seems.
A holistic, well-designed, and strategized BCDR plan involves a lot of other important factors like risk analysis, business impact analysis (BIA), creating tests, training modules, and so on.
End User Education
One thing that you often ignore while strengthening cyber safety is your end-users. Yes, by educating your users about safe internet practices, and “cyber-safe internet behavior” you can keep your organization safe from Cybersecurity attacks (like phishing scams) to a large extent.
Yes, it won’t be an overstatement to say that your End-Users are the First Line of Defence, and one of the best tools you can hone for the safety of your business. Most forget to consider end-user education in their Cybersecurity plan, when, in fact, Cybersecurity Starts with Your Employees, and their education.
Educating your end users in Cybersecurity initiatives, and by ensuring that your users are well aware of all the basics of cyber safety, you can thereby ensure that your work culture does not lack the general security basics of functioning.
Educating your end users in Cybersecurity initiatives such as – not downloading attachments from spam emails, and from unknown senders, not downloading files from unreliable sources, using strong passwords, etc, form the basics.
Another thing worth noticing is the Importance of Continuous Cybersecurity Training. If you just provide your end users with the necessary education only once and don’t let them apply this knowledge or practice it, they may soon forget it. After all, One-time education is just not enough.
It’s just like fire drills or disaster management drills in the workplace. Just telling them what to do isn’t enough. Your end users need to revise their knowledge, keep up with the latest security practices, and practice what they’ve learned on a regular basis.
For a start, you can achieve this by regularly conducting cyber safety workshops in your office. Another great idea can be developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Certification Program, and ensuring that all your employees undergo training under this program.
You can also offer Cybersecurity Training Manuals to your employees. The possibilities are many! However, these aren’t the only options. Your approach to Continuous Cybersecurity Training will vary according to the size of your business as well as your short-term, and long-term goals.
Hence, it can be concluded that it is crucial for you to extensively train your end users about the usage of the internet, and about your various applications, and networks.
By implementing an effective Cybersecurity Education Strategy in your organization, you can prevent so many cyber attacks from happening. This, in turn, will help you protect your data, networks, devices, applications, and more.
Tips to maintain Cybersecurity!
So far, we have discussed a lot about Cybersecurity. However, what are some simple tips that you can adopt to ensure a safer web experience? Here are quick tips for safe web surfing!
Use latest and up-to-date softwares
Outdated software may make you more prone to cyber attacks. With every new update, the applications that you use get new fixes, and patches that upgrade their security features. The same is the case with operating systems, and softwares.
So ensure that you are using the latest up-to-date softwares, and applications for both your business, and personal use.
Remember to use Anti-Virus and Firewall software
We have previously mentioned anti-virus softwares, and firewalls and how they can help you fight viruses, and other malicious attacks. By blocking malicious content from entering your system, Anti-Virus, and Firewall softwares prevent viruses, and hackers from compromising your data.
While Anti-Virus is a more system-based approach, it also helps you scan online websites, and downloads.
A firewall, on the other hand, provides you a safer, and secure internet surfing experience by screening out unauthorized access that occurs over the internet, and helps you regulate traffic that enters your system.
So, don’t forget to invest in a Anti-Virus, and a Firewall software to protect your data and to prevent your data from being compromised, stolen, destroyed, or deleted.
Keep yourself updated on latest Cybersecurity trends
You cannot safeguard yourself from cyber threats if you don’t know what they are or how they operate. For example, you cannot avoid being prey to fraudulent calls, messages, and emails if you have no idea on how they work.
Thus, it is important to be well aware of the latest cyber safety trends, new malwares, and cyber threats, and other new ways that hackers come up with to attack users. All this is a part of end user education, which we previously discussed.
Use Strong Passwords
You have passwords for most of your business, and personal life, as a major portion of your lives is now digital. Using strong passwords that are hard to crack is critical to Cybersecurity, and for keeping hackers out of your life.
Online banking, digital wallets, social media, there are a lot of passwords that you have to set, and manage every day. And using a Weak password can be a grave mistake as it can pave way for hackers to breach them, and hack your account.
Thus, ensure that you are using strong passwords. Don’t make it way too obvious. Avoid using your name as your password. Also, a string of numbers such as 12345678 is a big NO! Even worse – don’t use your birthday, birthdays of close ones, nicknames, or the name of your pet as your password.
Ensure that it is hard to guess, has at least eight characters, and is easy to remember. Because you don’t want to create a password that is way too difficult for you to memorize, and remember!
You can try using a combination of uppercase, and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. However, keep it such that you can easily remember. Moreover, do not use the same password more than once. You can use variations, also avoid using the same password for all your digital needs.
If you have trouble managing, and memorizing your passwords, use a password management tool which is a safe way for you to manage all your passwords (in one place). Never write down your passwords as you can lose your list, and someone else can get a hold of it easily.
Conclusion on Cybersecurity and Types of Cybersecurity
Increasing number of cyber attacks call for the urgent need of effective Cybersecurity measures. In this post, we discussed the definition, and the need of Cybersecurity for businesses, and consumers. We also discussed about the various types of Cybersecurity, their importance, and how they function.
Lastly, we also gave you handy tips to help you be safe, and secure while surfing the web on your smartphone or on other devices. We hope that this post helped you gain valuable insights into Cybersecurity.
Did we miss out something? Or is there anything else that you want to add to the post? Don’t forget to leave us a comment down below, and keep the conversation going! Check out our blog for more such posts. Until next time!