Ways You Might Be Weakening Cyber Security

Our world is more connected than ever, meaning the threat of online attacks is becoming a constant. Whether you’re an individual looking to protect your personal information, a business safeguarding data, or a government organization operating digital infrastructure, cyber security is crucial. In this article, gain a comprehensive understanding of cyber security and how important it is in our day-to-day lives.

What is cyber security?

How to use free WiFi safely

Cyber security, also written as cybersecurity, is the practice of protecting your system and networks from cyberattacks and unauthorized access. It’s a broad term; it includes information protection from theft, damages, external access, and any other interference, especially against cyber criminals and malicious software.

In an increasingly technological society, cyber security is of the utmost importance. No matter how advanced your security software is, there is one critical weakness of technology that can’t be overcome: the user. All users make errors when they use their devices, accidentally opening pathways for hackers and harmful attacks.

What are the three main types of cyber security?

The three main types of cybersecurity are:

  • Network security. This includes protecting your operating systems, computer network architecture, buffer space, firewalls, servers, and all network-related elements of your connection.
  • Cloud security. Cloud security includes all cloud data and information in cloud storage. The encryption techniques used to protect this data are part of cloud cybersecurity.
  • Physical security. Your computers, phones, tablets, and other devices contain sensitive information. As much as cybersecurity seems limited to digital spaces, physically protecting your devices is just as important.

Cyberattacks come in several forms, from social engineering attacks to ransomware attacks and malware attacks. A complete cyber security plan can combat threats like these, protecting your information and devices from online dangers.

Seven elements of cyber security

Maintaining good cyber security requires efforts in a multitude of areas. If you want a comprehensive cyber security strategy to protect yourself and your systems against threats, damage, and disruptions, make sure you incorporate each of these seven elements into your cyber security plan.

Risk management

Being proactive in your cybersecurity efforts can mitigate many threats immediately. Risk management involves identifying and assessing potential risks that could harm you, your devices, or your data and developing an action plan should those risks become legitimate threats. Risk management could include things like backing up your files to a secure secondary location or even just coming up with a plan for moving forward if your files are compromised. Anything that can minimize the impact of future cybersecurity attacks falls under this umbrella.

Network security (NetSec)

Network security focuses on protecting your home or business network from any potential cyber threats. To best do this, you want to secure all points of network connection to ensure that your network isn’t vulnerable to malicious incoming connections.

Strategies for this might include using a firewall, which protects a network against unwanted traffic and inspects data packets traveling in a network, or using a virtual private network, which encrypts all connections between two points. Kali Linux penetration tests or vulnerability scans can also help spot weak areas in a network; fixing those weaknesses improves network security.

Application security (AppSec)

All applications on your device should be strengthened against potential attacks for a comprehensive cybersecurity approach. Make sure you identify and fix any security issues in your programs, software, and other apps. One of the best ways to do this is by keeping all your programs and software up to date; often, updates contain patches for security vulnerabilities that have been discovered. Antivirus or antimalware software is another good step; these can detect and get rid of problems like Trojan horses and viruses easily and effectively.

Information security (InfoSec)

Protecting your information and technology is an essential aspect of a complete cyber security plan. With your personal information, a criminal could commit identity theft and access your online accounts. To protect yourself and your information, consider using encryption techniques on sensitive data. Make sure you use strong, secure passwords, and try to avoid free WiFi networks as they aren’t as safe as your own home network infrastructure security.

Operational security (OpSec)

Even if you don’t often have sensitive documents on your computer, data security and protecting your personal information is important. Part of cyber security is having a plan for how to handle devices that have any sort of personal information on them.

This includes backing up and clearing all devices before you return them to your employer or send them to be recycled. Reset routers and modems to factory settings before returning them to the Internet service provider. Any item that stores data, like a hard drive, or USB thumb drive, should be destroyed or shredded before being thrown away.         

End-user education and personnel security (PerSec)

We, as users, are one of the most significant vulnerabilities in any technical system. Whether you’re one person using a smartphone or in charge of an office full of people on computers, training personnel to handle potential threats safely is crucial. Educate yourself and those you work with on how to secure online accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication, learn what to do when you receive a phishing email or spoofed message, and make sure you understand safe online browsing habits.

Incident response

Even with the best protections, cyberattacks or other incidents can still happen. If you have an incident response plan, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently deal with a cyberattack should one happen. Establish a plan that includes how to handle the damage, like isolating the attacked device and locking your bank account or credit lines, and follow through with recovery steps to take after the incident is dealt with initially.

Ways to improve cyber security

You could be weakening your cybersecurity without even realizing it. Consider these cybersecurity tips to improve your online experience and protect your information.

  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Social media sites are a common place for hackers to go to when gathering data for social engineering attacks. If you don’t know a person requesting to follow you or friend you, don’t accept the request.
  • Update your software often. Keeping your system and app software up-to-date reduces the risk of attacks against your device and is a good security solution.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. This is especially important for banking or credit card accounts, which contain personal information and provide direct access to your finances.
  • Invest in a quality antivirus software. If you get a thorough antivirus or anti-malware program, it can proactively defend against threats before you even realize they exist.
  • Know how to spot phishing attacks or spoofed emails. Phishing emails are a common way for hackers or cybercriminals to get to you and gain access to your information. Learn how to spot a phishing email to prevent yourself from falling victim to these scams.
  • Keep your social media accounts private. Your social media accounts reveal a lot about you. Keeping them private helps prevent someone from using that information against you in the future. If you don’t use them often, consider deleting your social media accounts; this is an even better way to strengthen your cybersecurity.

Why is cyber security important?

In an increasingly digital world, cyber security helps protect us and our assets. Everyone, from businesses to governments to individuals, has the potential to suffer from cyberattacks. They can cause financial distress, loss of intellectual property, destruction of important data and assets, and more.

Cybersecurity protects people and information systems from all these security threats, ensuring that people and companies can keep functioning as normal. Therefore, businesses and governments have pushed the importance of cybersecurity more than ever, even going so far as to create a cybersecurity awareness month in October. Now, cybersecurity – and ensuring you have a strong, complete cybersecurity plan – is paramount.