Cybersecurity, Computer security, or Information Technology Security (IT security) refers to the protection of computer systems, networks, servers, devices, or programs from attacks, hardware or software damage, or theft of electronic data. Also, they contain defensive measures against the disruption or misdirection of the services due to unauthorized access.

Today, there’s almost a full relience on computer systems, the Internet and connected devices (like smartphones, TVs, etc). Due to the interconnectivity of our everyday life, cybersecuriy is a magor challenge, in terms of politics, economics and technology.

The Importance Of Cybersecurity

Every company and government institution (including the government and military) collect, process and store unprecedented amounts of data. To some large extent, a significant portion of that data is considered sensitive (like intellectual property, financial data, personal information) to which, unauthorized access or exposure has negative consequences. But the threats don’t stop here. Organizations also transmit sensitive data across networks and devices, which can be vulnerable to theft or manipulation if secure practices are not in place. Cyber Security describes the discipline dedicated to protecting this information and the systems used to process and store it.

As the volume and sophistication of cyber attacks grow, companies and organizations, especially those that are tasked with safeguarding information relating to national security, health, or financial records, need to take steps to protect their sensitive business and personnel information. In March 2013, the nation’s top intelligence officials cautioned that cyber-attacks and digital spying are the top threat to national security.

Cyber Attacks

Bad actors are relentless and inventive. They are good in disguise and manipulation, they often evolve to find new ways to steal or even harm, there’s a need to be secured with information and resources so as to safeguard against these complex and fast-growing security threats. There are some most common security attack types, examples are:

Phishing

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details or other sensitive information. It’s a cyber attack in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data. The process is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, it often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site. Users are often lured by communications pretending to be from trusted parties such as phone calls claiming to be an agent, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators.
Ways to deal with phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a malware attack that is designed to lock down users’ files and data, with the threat of erasing it, unless a ransom is paid, just as the name implies. It can also be a type of malware, from crypto virology, that threatens to publish the victim’s data unless a ransom is paid. Some simple ransomware variants may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse. However, most ransomware attacks use a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which they encrypt the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demand a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an impossible problem. Difficult to trace digital currencies such as Ukash or Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are used for the ransoms make tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators extremely difficult. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file, that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, there are exceptions, like one high-profile example, the “WannaCry worm”, which travels automatically between computers without user interaction.

Hacking

Hacking is the activity of using a computer to exploit or access information stored in another computer system or a private network without permission. Simply put, it is the unauthorized access to (or control over) computer networks for some illegal purpose. Hackers break into computer systems in order to steal, change, or destroy information, often by installing dangerous malware without your knowledge or consent.

While your computer may be connected to the Internet, the malware a hacker has installed on your PC quietly transmits your personal and financial information without your knowledge or consent. Or, a computer predator may pounce on the private information you unwittingly revealed. In either case, they will be able to:

  • Gain access to your usernames and passwords
  • Steal your money
  • Open credit card and bank accounts in your name
  • Ruin your credit rating
  • Request new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or additional credit cards
  • Obtain cash advances
  • Use and abuse your Social Security number, impersonating you
  • Sell your information to other parties who will use it for illicit or illegal purposes

People, not computers, create computer threats. Bad actors often victimize others for their own gain. Give a scammer access to the Internet — or to your PC — and the threat they pose to your security increases exponentially. With clever tactics and detailed technical knowledge, they can access private information and get control over entire networks.

Cybersecurity Skills

Having a whole IT department in charge of securing your infrastructure makes the office a safe place to work. However, with the current pandemic, more and more people choose to work from home, away from all the firewalls and gateways that IT experts have set up to keep them safe. We, at Attack Simulator, believe it’s crucial to develop a culture of security in every company, empowering employees to protect themselves against the many cyber-attacks and scams that are out there. This culture of security aims at making security accessible to everyone by involves learning cybersecurity skills that will keep people out of harm’s way.