Picture an employee at her computer, working with data. In the background, a hacker secretly accesses her company’s confidential files. He steals sensitive information and sells it to criminals, who then hold the company ransom for a profit.
It sounds like something out of a movie, but unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence in today’s online landscape. This is why Cyber Security has become such a vital part of any business strategy—and Cyber Security specialists are in demand now more than ever.
In this introduction to Cyber Security, you will learn how Cyber Security works, why it’s needed, what Cyber Security experts do to protect data, and how to become one.
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What is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is a process that’s designed to protect networks and devices from external threats. Businesses typically employ Cyber Security professionals to protect their confidential information, maintain employee productivity, and enhance customer confidence in products and services.
The world of Cyber Security revolves around the industry standard of confidentiality, integrity, and availability, or CIA. Privacy means data can be accessed only by authorized parties; integrity means information can be added, altered, or removed only by authorized users; and availability means systems, functions, and data must be available on-demand according to agreed-upon parameters.
The main element of Cyber Security is the use of authentication mechanisms. For example, a user name identifies an account that a user wants to access, while a password is a mechanism that proves the user is who he claims to be.
Types of Cyber Crimes
Cybercrime is any unauthorized activity involving a computer, device, or network. The three types are computer-assisted crimes, crimes where the computer itself is a target, and crimes where the computer is incidental to the crime rather than directly related to it.
Cybercriminals usually try to profit off of their crimes using a variety of tactics, including:
Denial of Service, or DOSWhere a hacker consumes all of a server’s resources, so there’s nothing for legitimate users to access
MalwareWhere victims are hit with a worm or virus that renders their devices useless
Man in the MiddleWhere a hacker puts himself between a victim’s machine and a router to sniff data packets
PhishingWhere a hacker sends a seemingly legitimate-looking email asking users to disclose personal information
Other types of cyberattacks include cross-site scripting attacks, password attacks, eavesdropping attacks (which can also be physical), SQL-injection attacks, and birthday attacks based on algorithm functions.
What Motivates Cyber Criminals?
The main motive behind the cybercrime is to disrupt regular business activity and critical infrastructure. Cybercriminals also commonly manipulate stolen data to benefit financially, cause financial loss, damage a reputation, achieve military objectives, and propagate religious or political beliefs. Some don’t even need a motive and might hack for fun or simply to showcase their skills.
So who are these cybercriminals? Here’s a breakdown of the most common types:
Black-Hat HackersBlack-hat hackers use fake identities to conduct malicious activities for a profit
Gray-Hat HackersThey work both with malicious intent and as legitimate security analysts
White-Hat HackersWhite-hat hackers work as security analysts to detect and fix flaws and protect against malicious hackers
Suicide HackersThey aim to openly bring down the critical infrastructure for a social cause
Script KiddiesThey are unskilled hackers who run scripts and software created by more experienced hackers
Cyber TerroristsThey create fear by disrupting large-scale computer networks; motivated by religious or political beliefs
State-Sponsored HackersThey penetrate government networks, gain top-secret information, and damage information systems; paid by a hostile government
HacktivistsPromote political agendas by secretly defacing and disabling websites
Who Are Cyber Security Experts?
As data breaches, hacking, and cybercrime reach new heights, companies are increasingly relying on Cyber Security specialists to identify potential threats and protect valuable data. It makes sense, then, that the Cyber Security market is expected to grow from $152 billion in 2018 to $248 billion by 2023.
So what do Cyber Security experts actually do? On any given day, they:
- Find, test, and repair weaknesses within a company’s infrastructure
- Monitor systems for malicious content
- Identify network breaches
- Install regular software updates, firewalls, and antivirus protection
- Strengthen areas where attacks may have occurred
They work in one or more of these common Cyber Security domains to keep data safe:
- Asset security: Analyze networks, computers, routers, and wireless access points
- Security architecture and engineering: Standardize security policies and procedures
- Communication and network security: Regulate cloud storage and data transfer
- Identity and access management: Track user authentication and accountability
- Security operations: Monitor security to identify attacks
- Security assessment and testing: Test security policies to ensure compliance with industry standards
- Software development security: Create and repeatedly test code
- Security and risk management: Identify potential risks and implement appropriate security controls
Cyber Security experts employ different tactics to secure computer systems and networks. Some of the best practices include:
- Using two-way authentication
- Securing passwords
- Installing regular updates
- Running antivirus software
- Using firewalls to disable unwanted services
- Avoiding phishing scams
- Employing cryptography, or encryption
- Securing domain name servers, or DNS
To sum it all up, check out the below video on introduction to cyber security:
Cyber Security Education
Simplilearn goes beyond an introduction to Cyber Security by offering a comprehensive Master’s Program to produce the next generation of Cyber Security experts. Courses include training in:
- CompTIA Security+ 501 and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), which prepare professionals to become security testing experts
- Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), which trains students to become chief information security officers (requires at least five years of IT security experience)
- Certified Information System Auditor (CISA), where students audit and verify systems and policies
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), where students manage an organization’s daily security through projects
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), which focuses on business processes to determine risk levels
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CSSP), which gives an architectural overview of cloud technology and security
These courses all lead to one place: certification as a Cyber Security expert, where students will design and develop policies and structures to help businesses enhance their security infrastructure. Interested in becoming a Cyber Security expert? Enroll in Simplilearn’s courses today to take your career to the next level!