What is the concept of cybersecurity?
Cyber protection refers to the set of approaches, technologies, and processes used to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer systems, networks, and data from cyber-attacks or unauthorized access. The primary goal of cyber protection is to safeguard all corporate assets from both external and internal threats, as well as natural disaster-related disturbances.
Since an organization’s assets are made up of a variety of disparate systems, a strong cybersecurity strategy necessitates concerted efforts across all of its systems. As a result, cybersecurity has the following sub-domains:
The implementation of different protections within all applications and services used within an enterprise against a broad range of threats is known as application protection. To reduce the risk of any unauthorized access or alteration of application resources, it necessitates designing safe application architectures, writing secure code, enforcing strong data input validation, threat modeling, and so on.
Data Protection and Identity Management
Identity management refers to the mechanisms, procedures, and activities that allow legitimate individuals to access information systems within an organization. Implementing strong information management systems to maintain data protection at rest and in transit is part of data security.
The implementation of both hardware and software mechanisms to protect the network and infrastructure from unauthorized access, disturbances, and misuse is known as network protection. Effective network security aids in the protection of an organization’s properties from a variety of external and internal threats.
Mobile protection refers to safeguarding both organizational and personal data stored on mobile devices such as cell phones, computers, tablets, and other similar devices against threats such as unauthorized access, computer failure or theft, malware, and so on.
Cloud protection refers to the development of stable cloud architectures and applications for businesses that use AWS, Google, Azure, Rackspace, and other cloud service providers. Defense against various threats is ensured by effective design and environment configuration.
Disaster recovery and business continuity planning (DR&BC)
DR&BC deals with procedures, tracking, warnings, and plans that help businesses prepare for keeping business-critical services online during and during a disaster, as well as resuming missing operations and systems.
Formal training on information security topics is critical for increasing knowledge of industry best practices, organizational processes, and policies, as well as tracking and reporting malicious activity.
The importance and challenges of cybersecurity
Given the rapidly changing technological environment and the fact that software adoption is growing across a wide range of industries, including finance, government, military, retail, hospitals, education, and electricity, to name a few, more and more knowledge is becoming digital and accessible through wireless and wired digital communication networks, as well as the ubiquitous internet. To hackers and evildoers, all of this highly confidential information is extremely valuable, which is why it is critical to protect it with strict cybersecurity measures and processes.
The value of good cybersecurity strategies can be seen in recent high-profile security breaches involving Equifax, Yahoo, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which lost extremely sensitive user details and suffered irreparable financial and reputational harm. And, as the trend shows, the number of cyber-attacks is on the rise. Attackers threaten both large and small businesses daily to gain classified information or interrupt services.
The same rapidly changing technical environment also makes it difficult to put in place successful cybersecurity strategies. As software is updated and changed, it introduces new issues and bugs, making it vulnerable to numerous cyber-attacks. Furthermore, IT technology changes, with several businesses already moving their on-premise systems to the cloud, introducing a new range of design and deployment problems, as well as a new category of vulnerabilities. Companies are also unaware of the myriad threats that exist within their IT networks, and as a result, they do not implement cybersecurity countermeasures until it is far too late.
What is a cyber-attack?
A cyber-attack is a calculated attempt by external or internal threats or attackers to compromise the security, credibility, and availability of a target organization’s or individual’s information systems (s). Cyber-attackers use illicit methods, techniques, and approaches to inflict harm and disturbances to computers, equipment, networks, software, and databases, as well as gain unauthorized access to them.
Cyber-attacks come in several forms, and the following is a list of some of the most common ones used by hackers and attackers to hack software:
- Malware is a type of computer software that is
- Viruses that encrypt data
- Attacks by injection (e.g., cross-site scripting, SQL injection, command injection)
- Man-in-the-Middle attacks and session management
- Phishing is a form of fraud.
- Service interruption
- Privilege escalation is a term used to describe the process of increasing one’s
- Software that hasn’t been patched or is vulnerable
- Code execution from a distance
- Using brute force
What’s the difference between a cyber-attack and a security breach?
A cyber-attack differs from a security breach in many ways. A cyber-attack, as described above, is an attempt to compromise a system’s security. Using different types of cyber-attacks as illustrated in the preceding section, attackers attempt to exploit the confidentiality, credibility, or availability of a device or network. A successful occurrence or incident in which a cyber-attack results in the theft of confidential information, unauthorized access to IT networks, or service interruption is known as a security breach.
Attackers regularly attempt a variety of cyber-attacks on their targets in the hopes of finding one that will result in a security breach. As a result, security breaches bring to light another important aspect of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy: business continuity and incident response (BC-IR). In the event of a successful cyber-attack, BC-IR will assist an entity. When a security incident occurs, Business Continuity is concerned with maintaining essential business systems operational, while Incidence Response is concerned with reacting to a security breach and limiting its effects, as well as promoting the recovery of IT and business systems.
11 top cybersecurity best practices to prevent a breach
Conduct cybersecurity training and awareness
Employees must be trained on cybersecurity, organization policies, and incident reporting for a strong cybersecurity policy to be effective. Employees’ accidental or deliberate malicious acts may cause even the best technological protections to fail, resulting in a costly security breach. The best way to minimize negligence and the risk of a security breach is to educate workers and raise knowledge of company policies and security best practices through workshops, classes, and online courses.
Perform risk assessments
Organizations should conduct a structured risk assessment to classify all critical assets and prioritize them based on the effect that a compromised asset has on the organization. This will aid organizations in determining how best to allocate their resources to safeguarding each valuable asset.
Ensure vulnerability management and software patch management/updates
To minimize risks to their IT systems, organizational IT teams must conduct vulnerability detection, classification, remediation, and mitigation across all applications and networks they use. Furthermore, security researchers and attackers sometimes discover new vulnerabilities in different applications, which are disclosed to software vendors or made public. Malware and cybercriminals often take advantage of these flaws. Patches and mitigations for these vulnerabilities are released by software vendors regularly. As a result, keeping IT systems up to date aids in the protection of organizational properties.
Use the principle of least privilege
According to the concept of least privilege, all software and staff should be given the fewest permissions possible to perform their tasks. This reduces the effect of a successful security breach because lower-level user accounts/software are unable to affect sensitive assets that need higher-level permissions. All high-level user accounts with unlimited permissions can also use two-factor authentication.
Enforce secure password storage and policies
All workers should be required to use strong passwords that conform to industry-recommended requirements. They should also be required to be updated regularly to protect against password compromise. Furthermore, the use of salts and solid hashing algorithms should be followed when storing passwords.
Establish a solid business continuity and incident response (BC-IR) strategy
An organization’s BC-IR plans and policies would help it respond efficiently to cyber-attacks and security breaches while ensuring essential business processes remain operational.
Conduct annual security audits
Periodic security assessments of all software and networks aid in the early detection of security issues in a secure environment. Application and network penetration testing, source code reviews, architecture design reviews, and red team evaluations are all examples of security reviews. Organizations can prioritize and mitigate security vulnerabilities as soon as possible after they are discovered.
Make a data backup
Backing up all data regularly will improve redundancy and ensure that no confidential data is lost or compromised in the event of a security breach. Data confidentiality and availability are jeopardized by attacks like injections and ransomware. In such instances, backups may be useful.
Encrypt data when it’s in motion and at rest
Good encryption algorithms should be used to store and transmit all confidential data. Data security is ensured by encrypting it. Also, effective key management and rotation practices should be implemented. SSL/TLS can be used for all web applications and apps.
Create applications and networks that are safe
Often consider protection when developing programs, writing software, and designing networks. Remember that refactoring software and implementing security measures later is far more expensive than building security from the start. Applications with security features help to reduce risks and ensure that when applications or networks fail, they do so safely.
In safe coding, use good input validation and industry standards
In certain cases, strong input validation is the first line of protection against injection attacks. Strong input validation helps filter out malicious input payloads that the application would process. Software and applications are programmed to accept user input, which makes them vulnerable to attacks. Furthermore, when writing software, stable coding standards should be followed to prevent the majority of the vulnerabilities mentioned in OWASP and CVE.