Cyber security is often confused with information security from a layman's perspective. While the underlying principle is similar, their overall focus and implementation differ considerably. There is a clear-cut path for both sectors, which seldom collide. Today's focus will be a 'cyber security vs information security’ tutorial that lists each sector's functions and clarifies any confusion you may have between them.
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What Is Information Security?
Information security (commonly known as InfoSec) refers to the procedures and practices that corporations use to protect their data. This contains policy settings that prevent unauthorized people from accessing company or personal data. Information security is a fast-evolving and dynamic discipline that includes everything, from network and security design to testing and auditing.
Information security protects sensitive data from unauthorized acts such as scrutiny, modification, recording, disruption, or destruction. The goal is to secure and preserve the privacy of important data like client account information, financial information, or intellectual property.
So, what comprises information security? Governance, confidentiality, and integrity.
The Information Security and Governance Framework (ISGF) is a set of guidelines and best practices for managing information security in an organization. It provides a structure for identifying, classifying, and protecting sensitive information, and implementing security controls and procedures. The ISGF also includes guidance on incident response and disaster recovery.
The ISGF is based on several international standards, including the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard for information security management systems. It is aligned with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The ISGF is designed to be flexible and adaptable to an organization's specific needs. It can be used by organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
Confidentiality is the protection of information from unauthorized disclosure. When information is confidential, it is not to be shared with anyone who does not need to know. Confidentiality is crucial for both personal and business information. Personal information, such as medical records or financial information, should only be shared with those who have a legitimate need to know. Business information, such as trade secrets or competitive strategies, should also be kept confidential to prevent rivals from gaining an advantage.
Information security and confidentiality are essential for protecting electronic information. Information security measures protect against unauthorized access, while confidentiality measures protect against unauthorized disclosure. Both are important for keeping electronic information safe.
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; it is also the state of being whole and undivided. In the context of data, integrity refers to the accuracy and completeness of data. Data integrity is important because inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to incorrect decisions or actions. Data integrity must be maintained throughout the data life cycle, from acquisition to storage to processing to dissemination.
Information security and integrity are crtitical because they protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of data. Data is a valuable asset that must be protected from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, interception, or destruction. Data can include, but is not limited to, the confidential information of business or individual users.
Availability is the degree to which a system can be accessed and used. To ensure information security and availability, organizations should have policies and procedures in place to protect their data. They should also have a plan for how to respond to security incidents. Additionally, they should regularly test their systems and backup their data.
Organizations that don't take information security and availability seriously risk data breaches, which can lead to loss of revenue, damage to reputation, and regulatory penalties. Data breaches can also cause downtime, disrupting business operations and leading to lost productivity.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is the activity of securing computer systems, networks, devices, and applications from cyber attacks of any kind. Cyber security threats have risen above critical levels because of the inevitable spread of digital transformation, putting your sensitive data in jeopardy.
Because of its complexity in geopolitics and the more dispersed attack methods, corporations and national governments have begun to perceive cyber security as a key concern. Many firms increasingly include information risk management into their overall risk management strategy.
Cyber Security is usually considered a target against the following threats.
It is estimated that over 90 percent of all data breaches result from social engineering attacks. Social engineering is a security attack that relies on human interaction to deceive people into granting access to systems and networks or revealing sensitive information unwillingly. Attackers use various techniques to exploit human vulnerabilities, such as playing on fears or emotions.
When it comes to cybersecurity, phishing/vishing/smishing are some of the most common and dangerous threats out there. Phishing is the bogus attempt to acquire information like credit card details, usernames, passwords, etc. by pretending to be a legitimate source. Vishing is like phishing except that it uses uses voice calls or text messages instead of emails. Smishing, along the same line, is a type of phishing that uses SMS messages to lure victims.
Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Phish Kits
Phishing kits are malicious tools that cybercriminals use to launch phishing campaigns. A phishing kit contains everything a cybercriminal needs to carry out a phishing attack, including templates, scripts, and instructions. Phishing kits make it easy for even novice criminals to launch sophisticated attacks.
A MITM phishing kit is a type of phishing kit that allows cybercriminals to intercept and redirect traffic from one user to another, enabling them to steal sensitive information such as login credentials and financial information. MITM phishing attacks can have severe consequences for both individuals and organizations.
Pretexting refers to creating and using a false or misleading online identity to obtain sensitive information or access another person's accounts. Cybersecurity experts warn that pretexting is rising as criminals become more sophisticated in their methods.
Pretexting is often used to access someone's email or social media accounts. By pretending to be the account owner, the perpetrator can reset passwords, send messages, and access sensitive information. Pretexting can also obtain financial information, such as credit card or bank account numbers.
Baiting is a cybersecurity technique in which an attacker uses bait to lure their victims into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment. The bait can be anything that would interest the victim, such as an enticing email, an interesting article, or even a seemingly harmless attachment. Once the victim takes the bait, the attacker can execute the attack.
Baiting is an effective technique because it leverages the human element. No matter how strong a company's cybersecurity defenses are, they are always vulnerable if an employee falls for a baiting attack.
Quid Pro Quo
In a quid pro quo attack, the hacker contacts the victim and pretends to be from a legitimate organization. They then request information or favor in exchange for something else. For example, the hacker may say they'll provide the victim with a free software update if the victim gives them their credit card number.
These attacks can be difficult to spot because the hacker often uses spoofed email addresses and websites that look legitimate. And, of course, they're counting on the fact that most people are willing to help a legitimate organization.
What are Cloud and Network Security?
Cloud and network security are two of the most important aspects of keeping your data safe and secure. They involve encryption and other security measures to protect your data from being accessed by unauthorized people.
Network security means protecting your network from unauthorized access, including ensuring that only authorized users can access your network and that all data passing through your network is encrypted. Network security also involves firewalls to block unauthorized traffic from accessing your network.
Cloud security means protecting your data from being accessed or modified by unauthorized people. This includes ensuring that only authorized users can access your data and that all data stored in the cloud is encrypted. Cloud security also involves firewalls and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access to your data.
Cloud and network security are essential for keeping your data safe and secure. However, they each have their advantages and disadvantages. When choosing a security solution for your data, you should consider both options to determine your strategy to tackle and balance both critical endeavors.
Cyber Security Threats and Attacks
Many cybersecurity threats and attacks can jeopardize the security of individuals, businesses, and governments. Some of the most common include:
- Phishing scams are emails or other communications that appear to be from a legitimate source. Still, they are actually from attackers trying to trick you into revealing personal information or infecting your computer with malware.
- Malware is short for “malicious software” and refers to programs designed to damage or disable computers. Common types of malware include viruses, worms, and trojan horses.
- Denial of service (DoS) attacks are attempts to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users by overwhelming the target with traffic or requests for data.
- SQL injection attacks take advantage of vulnerabilities in web applications that use Structured Query Language (SQL) to interact with databases. Attackers can insert malicious SQL code into input fields on a web page to execute unauthorized actions or access sensitive data.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks are a type of injection attack in which malicious code is injected into a web page or web application. Attackers can steal cookies, login credentials, and other sensitive information.
- Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks are a type of eavesdropping attack in which the attacker intercepts communications between two parties and eavesdrops on or alters the data.
- Buffer overflow attacks occur when an attacker attempts to write more data to a memory buffer than it can hold, leading to data corruption or execution of malicious code.
To further distinguish these topics, go through some of the key differences between cybersecurity and information security.
Cyber Security vs. Information Security
While there continues to be a lively online debate about whether cyber security and information security mean the same thing, it makes sense to look at cyber security as a form of information security. Think of information security as an umbrella, with cyber security and other security topics like cryptography and mobile computing underneath it.
Drawing a clear distinction can be tough, though, given that simple geography can make an impact. For example, the term cyber security is used widely throughout the United States, but in other countries around the world, it could also be commonly called information security. This and other factors have helped keep the cyber security versus information security debate alive.
There are other distinctions in the cyber security vs information security discussion, too. While cyber security deals with protecting the information in cyberspace, information security means protecting the data in cyberspace and beyond. In other words, the Internet or the endpoint device may only be part of the larger picture. Both involve protecting cyberspace from hacks, which can include ransomware, spyware, malware, and other types of harmful software that can cause all kinds of havoc. Cyber security professionals, however, have a more narrow focus.
Cyber security professionals take an active role in helping to protect servers, endpoints, databases, and networks by finding holes and misconfigurations that create vulnerabilities. In other words, they are responsible for preventing breaches. The most talented think like hackers and may have even been one in the past. Of course, information security professionals are also concerned with data loss prevention. They work together with their cyber counterparts on it but may take a broader role in prioritizing the most sensitive data first and making a plan for how to recover from a breach.
It's also helpful to think of the difference between data and information at a more fundamental level. Data can be anything — a series of numbers, for example — but all data is not equal. What that data represents and how sensitive it falls squarely under the purview of information security professionals. If a series of numbers was a customer's credit card number, for example, it is the responsibility of information security teams to ensure that they are compliant with government regulations. Again, they work closely with their cyber colleagues to ensure that the most critical data is safe. But are responsible for a much more significant stake of overall security in an organization.
Protects data in cyberspace
Helps secure avenues to access data
Risks include malware and network attacks
Need to secure misinformation and entry
Hardened data using encryption
Takes compliance and policies into account
Looking to Gain More Practical Knowledge on Cybersecurity?
While it’s interesting to learn about cyber security for anybody in the digital world, there are those of us who might want to take a more active role in protecting both information and cyber security. If you are one, check out the Cybersecurity Boot Camp we launched with the University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education.
You can also explore the details about our Post Graduate Program in Cyber Security, with modules from MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and EC-Council, or any of our other cyber security offerings to learn the concepts, skills, techniques, and tools — and, ultimately industry-recognized certifications to become a successful cybersecurity professional.