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What is Cyber Security? The Ultimate Easy Guide
Table of Contents
- Why is Cyber Security Important?
- Benefits of Cybersecurity
- Cyber Security Myths
- Who is Responsible for Managing Cybersecurity?
- The Basic Foundations of Computer Security
- Types of Computer Security
- Why Does Cybersecurity Fail?
- Types of Computer Security Threats
- How Much Should I Spend on Computer Cyber Security?
- Common Computer Security Practices
- Types of Computer Security Software
- Cloud-Based Computer Security
- How is Automation Used in Cybersecurity?
- Cyber Security Vendors and Tools
- Careers in Computer Security
- MSPs, SaaS, and Outsourced Security Services
- Zero-Trust Security Policies
- What Is the Future of Cyber Security?
- Learning More About Computer Security
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is cyber security? Also known as “computer security,” cyber security refers to the defense of physical computing devices, software information systems, and digital data against unwanted or malicious access, theft, or damage.
Computer security is an extensive and growing field, and basic cybersecurity principles are essential for everyone.
Beyond this broad computer security definition, many disciplines, fields, tools, and technologies are involved. For the average computer or internet user, a cyber security example is antivirus software. However, cyber security technology extends far beyond just your typical antivirus.
If you are interested in becoming a cyber security professional, you’ll learn all about the techniques, technology, and tools used in keeping data and computer systems secure. Attending seminars, acquiring certifications, and even getting a degree are viable ways to learn more about computer security technology.
That’s cybersecurity explained in a nutshell — now, let’s dive deeper into the subject.
Why is Cyber Security Important?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is cybersecurity?,” let’s talk about why it’s so important.
These days, almost everything uses computers and the internet. There is a massive reliance on technology for business, education, everyday life, and so much more. And in such a connected world, it’s absolutely a necessity to protect yourself from the bad actors all around you who are simply waiting for the opportunity to strike.
As an individual, you are vulnerable to so many types of cyber security threats. Malicious entities can try to steal your data, take compromising information about you and extort you, steal your identity, or just straight up steal your money and put you in terrible debt. Being more aware of the threats and doing what you can to secure your computers and devices can help protect your valuable data.
It’s also quite important to note that it’s not just individual users who can benefit from a strong cyber security system.
Critical infrastructure such as hospitals, banks, and power plants are all driven by computers and similar systems. To keep society running smoothly, it is vital to keep these infrastructures protected from cyber security threats.
On top of that, many of the services we use such as shopping apps, social media apps, and more all rely on the internet and computers to operate. Without adequate cyber security, hackers can easily steal valuable data that can include sensitive information such as identifying information, bank accounts and passwords, and more. Cyber security is also one of the primary defensive tools against corporate espionage and similar attacks.
No one is immune to cyber threats — just a few days ago, a hacker group claimed that they were able to breach the famed social media app TikTok and expose its user data and source code. TikTok vehemently denies this supposed hack, but quite honestly many other massive companies have fallen victim to hackers worldwide.
The global threat to cyber security only continues to grow and evolve, and it does so rapidly. Governments and businesses understand this critical threat, which is why the demand for cyber security professionals is growing just as rapidly. The lucrative information security analyst role pays an average of $102,600 each year. From 2020-2030, its job outlook is projected at 33%, a growth rate several times the average.
Benefits of Cybersecurity
What does cyber security do? What value can it provide you or your business?
The cyber security definition on its own is enough to let you know what you can expect. However, cyber security offers plenty of benefits — let’s take a look at some of them below.
As an individual user, cyber security’s main advantage is its ability to protect your data from unwanted access, theft, or damage. It means preventing your identity and financial information from falling into the wrong hands, and protecting your other sensitive data from being used against you. It can even mean protecting your fondest memories, such as your family photos, from loss.
For Professionals Seeking Entry into the Cyber Security Field
Cyber security is a rapidly growing field and professionals are in incredibly high demand. Entering this field can practically guarantee you a salary over $100,000, depending on where you are located. If you are able to get professional certification and keep up with the most recent information on threats and technology, you can even continue to grow your salary.
Because this field is so in demand, you may also have more job security, especially if you can prove your skill and value to a company.
Cyber Security Can Keep Your Website, Service, or Servers from Going Down
One of the biggest reasons to invest in cyber security is the fact that it can offer many layers of protection against DDoS attacks.
But how will IT’s cybersecurity help, exactly?
An adequate cyber security system protects you from DDoS or distributed denial of service attacks aimed at taking your website, service, or servers down. These DDoS attacks can end up frustrating your customers and users, especially if they happen quite often. You may end up losing business or reputation by not preventing such occurrences.
Beefing up your cyber security can prevent these attacks from ever happening. If they do happen, it is vital to patch whatever vulnerabilities were allowing them to occur. Setting up redundancies, as well as other overprovisions can help eliminate this problem entirely.
Cybersecurity Offers Comprehensive Protection
Investing in cyber security, meaning a proper system, can offer full protection against cyber threats. Your employees can use their computers and the internet without fear of potential attacks. Your system as a whole is not always vulnerable to massive threats. If one computer in the network gets compromised, a proper cyber security system can prevent the rest of your system and servers from getting infected.
With such comprehensive protection, you can also prevent data breaches and theft, as well as some instances of corporate espionage through malware.
Cyber Security Can Protect Your Business’s Productivity
Viruses, malware, adware, and spyware all often have a very unwanted effect: slowing systems down to a snail’s pace. If your entire network gets affected, productivity may simply slow to a standstill — something no business wants as it significantly affects their bottom line.
If you don’t want your automated processes, production, employee productivity, and more to be affected by this slowdown, investing in proper cyber security is essential.
Cyber Security Can Help You Gain More Trust and Confidence from Customers
If your company is well-protected and suffers no data breaches or similar attacks, it’s likely your customers can grow to trust your brand further. They can feel more confident or secure in transacting with you and handing over their sensitive data as they know it will be in good hands.
Cyber Security Myths
There are a few harmful myths about cyber security that continue to circulate today. If you aren’t careful, these myths can get you into trouble. Inform yourself about these myths to increase your protection:
Myth #1: All Cyber Criminals and Bad Actors are Outsiders
This harmful myth is easy to believe — who would want to think that people they trust or should be able to trust are responsible for the attacks they are suffering?
Unfortunately, the truth is that breaches often occur due to malicious insiders. These insiders can either be working on their own or with others for whatever motive they may have.
Attacks may also occur due to less-informed insiders who are not aware of how to follow the best cyber security practices as they use their workstations.
Myth #2: Some Industries are Safe from Cyber Attacks
Some people may think that certain industries are safe from cyber threats. This may be true, especially in the case of smaller businesses with no reliance on computers or the internet, but today those businesses and industries are becoming fewer and farther in between.
All industries with a reliance on digital tools are vulnerable to cyber security risks. Nowadays, spyware, adware, malware, viruses, and ransomware can affect just about any computer or network, including non-profit organizations, local governments, large corporations, small businesses, and more.
Myth #3: People are Aware of All Cyber Security Risks
There may be a pervasive thought that we are aware of all cyber security risks and how to protect against them. Unfortunately, this is simply not true — risks only continue to grow. More and more vulnerabilities are getting reported in applications, software, and systems, old and new.
And as the reliance on technology also continues to grow, the potential threats continue to expand. There are more opportunities for humans to make a mistake, whether in ignorance, negligence, or malice.
When it comes to information about cybersecurity, there will always be something new to learn. As such, most professionals in the industry will need to keep up with the latest.
Myth #4: All Attack Vectors Have Been Defined
A cyber attack vector is a method or pathway used by bad actors to access your system or data illegally. These attack vectors are often used by hackers to take advantage of vulnerabilities in your system so they can steal your data.
Some people may think that all potential attack vectors are already defined and well-known. After all, it certainly is well known and well-documented that hackers can try to get to you through e-mail attachments, viruses and malware bundled with software downloads, malicious web links, pop-up windows, and even instant messages.
Unfortunately, malicious entities find new ways to attack every single day.
Because attack vectors continue to multiply, the demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to grow.
Who is Responsible for Managing Cybersecurity?
As an individual, the only person responsible for your cyber security is you. You may also be responsible for your family’s security, especially if they aren’t well aware of the threats and best practices.
When it comes to businesses and organizations, this responsibility isn’t as clearly assigned. The person managing cybersecurity risk for an organization or company can depend entirely on the type of organization, its size, and its inherent culture.
Some smaller businesses and organizations do not have dedicated personnel managing cyber security. As such, the responsibility may often fall on each individual member of the organization.
In companies large enough to have dedicated IT departments, the common belief is that it is the IT professional's responsibility to ensure the security of the network and systems used by the business. This is not far from the truth.
More and more businesses are beginning to see cyber security as a major threat. This 2021 report by Gartner states that a staggering 88% of company boards of directors believe that cyber security is a business risk. Despite this fact, only 12% of the surveyed boards of directors have a cyber security-focused member. The same report states that only 10% of the surveyed companies even held senior managers who were not in the IT department accountable for the organization’s cyber security.
In 85% of the surveyed organizations, the main roles responsible for cybersecurity were CISO (chief information security officer), CIO (chief information officer), or the equivalent. At this point, whether more boards of directors will assign board-level roles more clearly to specific cyber security professionals remains up in the air.
The Basic Foundations of Computer Security
Computer security primarily addresses three major areas: privacy, integrity, and accessibility. To be specific:
- Privacy refers to the ability to maintain confidentiality regarding data that must be protected (such as personally identifiable information).
- Integrity refers to the ability to protect data from being deleted, altered, or otherwise mismanaged.
- Accessibility refers to the ability of anyone to access the data and thereby potentially compromise it.
A significant portion of computer security revolves around data, as you can see. But that’s not all that it is. Today, computer systems run the world. Massive amounts of damage can be done via a cyberattack — financial systems can go down, pipelines can go down, and even government agencies can be taken out of service.
Today, an employee may:
- Wake up in the morning and check their emails on their personal phone. If their phone isn’t locked, anyone can access their email and their accounts. If their phone is lost or stolen, it could provide authentication into a secured system.
- Go to work and log into a cloud-based terminal with a shared password. If someone shares a password with a trusted coworker, the risk isn’t usually malicious action by the trusted party. The danger is that the trusted coworker’s devices might be compromised.
- Try to install an unsecured application to their work computer. Self-service IT is notoriously dangerous. An employee could download an application for modifying PDFs that has a keylogger or virus in it, for instance.
- Answer an email asking for their credentials “from IT.” The most pervasive threats are called social engineering threats; they don’t involve any technology, making them difficult to defend against.
- Accidentally access and delete files they shouldn’t. If a company doesn’t have Zero-Trust policies in place, it’s easy for employees to compromise data accidentally. Non-malicious intent is still a security hazard.
- Forget to log out of their computer at the end of the day. Even if their accounts themselves are secure, it doesn’t help if someone just walks up to a computer and starts to use it.
- Go home and log in on their personal tablet. Having employees “always on” and “always accessible” also means that they will frequently use personal devices. In this case, this personal tablet could be used by the entire family, and a child could easily compromise data.
Every single employee encounters a multitude of risks every day. When you consider how many employees the average business has, the risk becomes significantly greater. But almost all the above risks could have been countered by the right policies and technologies.
The negligence of employees still causes 88% of all cybersecurity breaches.
Types of Computer Security
As noted, computer security is rather broad. There are a lot of types of computer security. The major ones include:
- Information security. This refers directly to the process of securing and protecting data specifically, both from harm and from compromise.
- Network security. This refers to protecting communications throughout an organization’s network, such as when a computer transmits data to a server.
- Application security. This refers to securing data within an application, such as a web application or a mobile app.
- Computer security. This refers to securing computer devices or, more specifically, end-user devices (including tablets, smartphones, etc.).
- Cybersecurity. This refers to securing computing devices that are connected to the internet.
- Cloud security. This refers to the securing, management, and continued security maintenance of private, hybrid, and public cloud systems.
So, when someone says “computer security,” it may be worthwhile to dig a little deeper into the computer security meaning; it can mean multiple disciplines or encompass them all.
Each of these focuses also has corresponding certification processes, degree programs, and career paths.
Why Does Cybersecurity Fail?
One of the main reasons why cyber security tends to fail is simply the fact that no organization, business, or entity is 100% secure. There is no such thing as an invulnerable, impenetrable system, and anyone trying to tell you otherwise is most likely a snake oil salesman. Organizations have zero control over bad actors and malicious entities. Nor can they control the threats and risks to their systems.
The only thing that organizations can do is patch up any vulnerabilities they find. They can also invest further into backups, failsafes, and redundancies to ensure minimal downtime in the event their systems become compromised.
Cyber security will also almost always fail at one point or another as long as humans are involved. The human element can contribute greatly to an organization’s cyber security risk, and bad actors are aware of this fact. This is precisely the reason why a lot of attack vectors involve humans in one way or another — even the most careful people can have occasional bouts of negligence and errors of judgment.
Hackers, spammers, and thieves have found ways to improve their techniques to get people to click on malicious links. Bad actors continue to put together more sophisticated modus operandi that can trick people into falling into their trap.
The best way to defend against this threat is to ensure that employees and members of an organization are well-informed about cyber security risks. It is imperative to inform them of how to identify whether something is a potential cyber security threat, and how to defend against these attacks.
Types of Computer Security Threats
Just as there are many types of computer security, there are also many forms of cybersecurity threats. Computer security is often seen as an arms race, with malicious attackers constantly developing new methods of thwarting even the most secure systems.
Some of the most common threats include:
- Viruses. Viruses sneak their way onto a computer system and then attempt a malicious action. Usually, a virus is designed to create havoc; it may delete files or brick the device. A virus might be intended for profit; it may show ads on pages that aren’t there. But the critical part of a virus is that it self-replicates.
- Phishing attempts. In a phishing attempt, a malicious attacker simply asks for information from a user. They may pretend to be the user’s bank, employer, or IT department. The data gained from this is used to compromise accounts.
- Ransomware. Ransomware will block access to a device or data until a ransom is paid. The device or data will be encrypted with a key that only the person who created the ransomware knows.
- DDoS attacks. Distributed Denial of Service attacks are designed to block out access to a system, service, or device by repeatedly connecting with that device and exhausting its resources.
- Rootkits. Often hidden in other software, a rootkit gives another user control over a device. “Root” refers to administrative control.
- Keyloggers. These software systems log keys pressed on a device, seeking to compromise passwords and confidential information.
By far, the most prevalent type of computer security threat today is ransomware. Since the advent of cryptocurrency, ransomware has become a popular hack — it’s easier than ever for ransom to be paid under an anonymized service.
But ransomware can be easily defeated through security practices such as keeping regular backups.
That brings us to the next section — how can you defend yourself?
How Much Should I Spend on Computer Cyber Security?
Figuring out how much you should spend on cyber security can be a challenging task. It may be tempting to simply throw as much money at it as you can reasonably afford, but the truth is the amount you spend does not instantly reflect how much protection you can expect to get.
You can, of course, ensure a certain level of protection by spending on an antivirus for your personal computer. Or, if you are a business, you can protect your entire business’s systems with however much an enterprise solution might cost.
As an individual, an antivirus and adherence to best cybersecurity practices can be enough to protect you from the majority of threats. Taking extra care when handling unknown links and files can contribute further to your protection.
However, if you are running a business, antivirus software may not be enough to keep your systems defended. Although best practices, extra care, and antivirus software can all work well to quell most of the attacks, you may still need to take additional measures, such as:
- Training or educating your workforce on the best cyber security practices and how they can take the proper steps to prevent breaches in security
- Putting together failsafes and redundancies that can prevent the spread of malware and ransomware
- Ensuring there are backups and failsafes to keep your website or service live with as minimal downtime as possible
- Investing in hiring a cyber security professional who keeps abreast of the latest threats and technologies
Cyber security spending can be as little as maybe a hundred dollars a year (or even less!). For businesses, however, this cost can run into thousands or even hundreds of thousands. The best way to really know how much you need to spend is to consult with a cyber security professional who can properly assess the specific threats your business should be watching out for.
Common Computer Security Practices
Imagine if you couldn’t get into your email. What data would you lose? What accounts would be compromised? Computer security is everyone’s responsibility.
While employers provide the tools and the devices, employees are most commonly the weak link, and most attacks occur due to employee negligence.
Let’s take a look at some common security practices.
- Installing next-generation antivirus solutions, which can use machine-learning algorithms and AI to identify a potential intrusion.
- Mandating regular employee training regarding computer security best practices and onboarding employees with the right training.
- Using advanced authentication systems such as multi-factor or biometric authentication rather than passwords.
- Streamlining and consolidating systems, such as through an identity-as-a-service solution.
- Having written computer security policies and ensuring that these policies are followed at all levels.
- Maintaining separate “work” devices from personal devices, particularly when it comes to cellphones and laptops.
- Conducting regular audits for potential security threats, security gaps, and improvements that can be made.
- Requiring a VPN or otherwise encrypted and secured connection.\
- Maintaining proper authentication/password hygiene; keeping passwords unique, separate, and private.
- Refraining from connecting to systems or downloading data onto platforms that aren’t secure, such as a home computer rather than an office computer.
- Reporting anything strange that they receive, such as an obvious phishing attempt.
- Never send confidential information to a source that has not been properly verified; i.e., if IT sends an email asking for a login, they should call them on the phone to verify that they sent the request. They still should not proffer the login.
These are best practices that a system should be regularly audited for. Companies need to be constantly improving their security because malicious attackers are constantly improving their attempts.
Cyberattacks can cost an organization, on average, $200,000. Many businesses collapse under the weight of the cost.
Types of Computer Security Software
At home, most users use an antivirus solution such as Avast Antivirus, AVG Antivirus, or McAfee. These are all-in-one protection devices, but there are actually many types of security tools.
- Antivirus suites. Commonly, antivirus suites come with an array of malware protection and detection utilities. A common one is “sandboxing.” In a sandbox, an application is run in a protected environment where it cannot access or manipulate other things on the system.
- Firewalls. A firewall is a system within a computer that determines whether a connection should be allowed.
- AI algorithms. AI algorithms use machine learning to identify behaviors that could be potentially dangerous to a system. For instance, they might identify an unusual amount of data transfer occurring, and alert security to possible intrusion.
- Backup systems. Backup systems are instrumental in defeating attacks such as ransomware. Even if your system is destroyed by a malicious program, you need to be able to bring it back — quickly.
- Email scanners. Email scanners are the frontline against phishing attempts, because these attempts are non-technological in nature. These email scanners can look for potentially suspicious emails.
- Data management solutions. Modern data management solutions can actually identify when privileged information or privileged documents might be getting sent out and halt the process.
- Authentication services. Most authentication services today are multi-factor or two-factor, ensuring that an individual has at least two forms of identification.
- Mobile device management platforms. MDM platforms manage mobile devices when connected to the network, such as smartphones and tablets.
- VPNs. VPNs provide end-to-end encryption services, so all the sent data is encrypted even on a potentially compromised line (such as a public coffee house).
A business will usually use some combination of the above to ensure the security of their systems. But it’s always a careful balance between security and performance. The more security a company installs, the slower their system will run — resources are being consumed. So, an organization has to choose the most secure system that they can afford to run.
Cloud-Based Computer Security
Quite a lot of systems are now run on the cloud, and the cloud introduces new issues. First, there are three types of cloud service:
Private clouds, which operate very much like a cluster of on-premises servers.
- Public clouds, which are accessed online and are usually not in the direct control of the organization.
- Hybrid clouds, which are made of a mix of the above two types of cloud service.
There are now experts specifically in cloud-based computer security. Cloud security can be much more advanced than on-premise security today because the resources that the cloud provides can be used for next-generation, adaptive learning AI tools.
At the same time, the cloud is so accessible that it has an expanded attack surface, and many employees will use their cloud platform anywhere — coffee shops, shared computers, and more. When organizations use the cloud, they need to be more cautious about their security. When individuals use the cloud, they also need to be conscientious.
Are your photos, videos, and documents automatically uploaded to the cloud? How many devices have access to them? Could those devices become compromised?
You might not realize, for instance, that if your office computer is logged into your personal Gmail, anyone on that computer can see all your photos!
How is Automation Used in Cybersecurity?
Nowadays, cyber attacks are more often than not automated. And while it is possible to manually defend against some attacks, it is more likely that the fight becomes that between man and machine. This article on Forbes.com states that cyber security without automation is almost like bringing a knife to a gunfight. For this reason, cyber security must also take advantage of automation to level the playing field.
But how exactly is automation used in cyber security?
Before AI and automation, cyber security tools sounded the alarm for human technicians to take over. This method isn’t the worst, and it does work for the most part. However, a report by Phantom and ESG Research has found that as much as 74% of security alerts and threats go ignored because security teams are simply inundated by reports and a large volume of threats.
Automation in cyber security is still somewhat new. It is bleeding-edge technology enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, with the proper engineering and setup, cyber security professionals and machine learning engineers can work together to create cyber security solutions that can respond to ransomware and other malware in real-time — often without much human intervention.
There are also other use cases in which cyber security automation can be implemented, such as in security for IoT (internet of things), critical infrastructure, networks, and cloud services.
Cyber Security Vendors and Tools
You may be wondering about some of the top vendors and tools in the cyber security space. There are quite a few immediately recognizable names. Here are some of the most popular vendors:
And here are some of the most popular cyber security tools:
Careers in Computer Security
Computer security is one of the fastest-growing fields. With a growth rate of 33% for Information Security Analysts alone, there’s a lot of room for professional development. Because of that, many people are investing in careers in computer security.
Within separate classifications (such as cybersecurity or network security), security roles can include:
- Admins. Administrators will manage a system that has already been developed.
- Analysts. Analysts will analyze, optimize, and improve upon a system that’s been developed.
- Architects. Architects will create systems or sometimes perform high-level audits on systems.
Most people choose a path in cybersecurity (such as application security) and then progress along that path. Ways to get the applicable experience include:
- Working in an adjacent field.
- Acquiring a degree in Computer Security, Computer Science, or Computer Engineering.
- Getting certifications or attending a bootcamp.
There are many entry-level careers in computer security for those who would rather learn hands-on and on-the-job.
Computer security tends to be exceptionally skills-based because the field changes so swiftly. Those who go into computer security will need to take continuing education their entire careers.
MSPs, SaaS, and Outsourced Security Services
Understandably, not every business has the budget for an internal IT security team. Many companies outsource their security services to MSPs (managed service providers) or simply use as-a-Service technologies. As-a-Service technologies are generally managed by the service provider rather than the company itself.
There are both advantages and drawbacks to outsourcing security. An organization will likely acquire superior resources and technology for less money — but, in so doing, they will often become reliant on the MSP/SaaS provider and may have less control over their system.
About 64% of small businesses now manage their own IT needs.
Zero-Trust Security Policies
Today, a computer security system is often designed with “zero-trust” policies in mind.
In the past, systems had a running list of systems that they didn’t trust. They would actively deny those systems. Similarly, systems had a list of files that they protected. They would deny access to those files unless someone had the right credentials.
This was a “trust” policy — by default, people were trusted to access devices and documents.
But Zero-Trust policies have become more common. Under a zero-trust policy, systems instead have a list of systems that they do trust. They deny all connections except for those systems by default. And instead of having a list of protected files, all files are protected by default, with only a list of those who are allowed to access them.
Zero-Trust is a far more effective method of managing documents and computer systems. It means that if a single account is compromised, it’s far less likely that the entirety of the network and its data will be compromised. All data is properly siloed and disconnected.
The best example of Trust vs. Zero-Trust involves who is allowed to spend money with your bank account. Would you rather it be “everyone, except x, x, and x?” Or would you rather it be “only me?”
What Is the Future of Cyber Security?
It’s easy to say that we are moving into an age where cyber security is only continuing to evolve in multiple ways.
Today, infrastructures, networks, and architecture are growing even more complex and creating more connections that can easily become attack vectors in the future. Threats are becoming more and more sophisticated, which is why threat sensing also needs to be able to keep up. There will continue to be third-party vulnerability, as long as you continue to transact, collaborate, or do business with third parties.
As more organizations and businesses realize the importance of cyber security, cyber security spending and debt will continue to grow. Organizations will keep trying to bring themselves up to speed and keep up with the latest threats and trends in this field so they can stay ahead of the cyber threats.
And, just as there are positive changes and growth in the ever-evolving field of cyber security, there is also similar progress in the realm of cyber threats.
Let’s take a look at some of the current, growing, and potential threats below:
- Cyber Crime as a Service, also known as CaaS, is something that has existed for quite some time. CaaS marketplaces allow anyone to buy the service of hackers and bad actors for whatever purposes they need. These marketplaces continue to exist despite the ongoing efforts made by law enforcement agencies and the authorities to shut them down. After all, hackers and bad actors in this space are well-versed in the techniques necessary to cloak their existence and location.
- Malware automation is a very real thing and is a threat that cyber security professionals must deal with.
- Polymorphic malware, or malware capable of constantly changing its characteristics and identifying features to evade detection, is another thing to contend with.
- The growing use of IoT or Internet of Things devices presents a looming threat that can be taken advantage of. Internet of Things devices are essentially hardware, such as home appliances, health devices like pacemakers, and other machines that function by collecting and exchanging data through the internet. IoT devices can become attack vectors later on, if no appropriate cyber security precautions are taken.
- As more organizations and businesses dedicate their resources to improving cyber security, it is likely that in a few years, networks and systems will become more challenging to attack. For this reason, many bad actors are focusing more of their energies into taking advantage into one of cyber security’s main weaknesses: the human element. Hackers, scammers, spammers, and more are using social engineering techniques to figure out ways to get people to click, open, or download malicious links and files.
And finally, something to look forward to in cyber security’s future is whether the dire talent gap will be fixed.
Learning More About Computer Security
Knowing the computer security definition often isn’t enough. Even an office worker who only casually works with technology needs to understand the basic principles of computer security. Computers are entrenched in the way that everyone today works, especially remote workers.
There are many ways to learn more about computer security:
- Attend a bootcamp, if you’re interested not only in the foundations but potentially making it a career.
- Go to seminars focused on your industry — every industry is different and maintains different technology.
- Learn more online. There’s a lot of information out there about new security risks, tools, and technologies.
Computer security is an extremely broad field. But it also touches upon every industry, every device, and every person. By learning more about computer security, you can ensure that your own data and devices are protected. And because cyber security is just becoming even more in demand, you may even want to consider a career in the industry, which can offer you a hefty salary and job security.
We hope that this in-depth article has helped you answer the question “what is cyber security?,” and given you a bit more insight into the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who uses cyber security?
Everyone. And if they aren’t, then they should. In today’s data and internet-dependent world, cyber security is vital and has become a part of everyday life. Even average users should be learning more about the best practices for defending themselves against cyber security threats.
2. What are the main problems with cyber security?
Currently one of the main issues with cyber security is the talent or skill gap, which means there are far more job openings than there are available professionals. Another issue is how bad actors are starting to use more automation and social engineering techniques to find vulnerabilities and ways to attack.
3. What is the biggest threat to cyber security?
Unfortunately, one of the largest threats to cyber security is the human element. Systems can be secured, patched, and protected as much as possible. However, all it takes is for one person to click on the wrong thing and malicious entities can gain access to a system.
4. How long do hackers go to jail?
The answer to this question truly depends on your location. In the US, hackers can go to jail for as long as ten years for their first offense and twenty for a repeat offense. In other countries, it could be fewer years, or it could be for much longer than ten or twenty years.
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