Cybersecurity is one of the most critical challenges faced by individuals and businesses today, and its importance will only increase with time as the number of threats online continue to grow at an exponential rate.


What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity, also known as information technology security, refers to the practice of shielding programs, systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks and unauthorized access of any kind.

The objective of these attacks is usually to access, modify, or damage sensitive information; disrupt typical business operations; or extort large sums of money from the victims.


Why Cybersecurity is Important

With incidents of data breaches on the rise ever year, it is certain that no business is safe from cyberattacks. There were 1,100 data+ breaches in 2018 alone, which compromised the personal information of millions of people worldwide. Data is any business’ most valuable yet vulnerable asset, so it’s critical that relevant security measures are taken to prevent a breach from occurring.

However, cybersecurity is not just a business problem – your mobile phone, tablet, and computer also contains personal information that hackers would like to get their hands on! Take, for instance, if someone gains access to your social security number, they can apply for credit in your name or file for a tax return to get a refund.

For these reasons, and more, cybersecurity is something that every business and individual needs to take seriously.

Types of Cyber Attacks

A denial-of-service (DoS) attack is when hackers attempt to make a system or service inaccessible to legitimate users by overwhelming it with a large volume of requests. Such attacks are launched by a single machine.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, on the other hand, consists of hackers using multiple compromised machines to flood the intended target, resulting in a denial of service for its intended users.

A malware attack is a kind of cyberattack where a piece of malware or malicious software is used by hackers to perform unauthorized activities on the computer of a victim without their authorization. The objective is to impersonate them and make money by stealing sensitive data, such as online banking credentials or credit card details.

A ransomware attack utilizes a type of malicious software that limits user access to files on the infected computer by encrypting them. To obtain the decryption key, the victim has to pay a specified sum as ransom, usually in bitcoin.

A social engineering attack consists of psychologically manipulating an individual into revealing personal information or making security mistakes. This type of cyberattack has been around for a long time because it is difficult to stop with the use of technology alone.

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks

Secure All Hardware

The importance of safeguarding hardware is often overlooked, but it is a simple way to enhance the security of your network and devices. Therefore, make sure you have a robust firewall and antivirus solution in place to keep most, if not all, cyberattacks at bay. Creating complicated passwords and storing them away safely is also of utmost importance.

Keep Software Up-to-Date

The most common threat faced by almost everybody are the vulnerabilities in software. Hackers take advantage of these loopholes in order to gain unauthorized access to devices and the confidential data they hold. For this reason, you need to update your software as soon as a new upgrades are made available.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, adds and extra layer of security by asking the user to provide two distinct authentication factors to prove their identity. For instance, you may be asked to enter a PIN number sent to your phone number. As such, you are better off enabling 2FA wherever possible.

Encrypt and Backup Important Data

When it comes to preventing unauthorized access to your sensitive data, encryption is indeed your best friend. According to researchers in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, the ‘most efficient fix” for data breaches is encryption. Moreover, backup data and store it separately to further protect yourself from the consequences of cyberattacks.

Know the Threats to Beat Them

It is equally important to know what threats you as an individual or business are most susceptible to. In this way, you will be able to focus your prevention measures on what is most important and better prepare yourself. So, it only makes sense to stay updated about the most common attack vectors and delivery channels as well as how you can stay protected against them.

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