What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the process of protecting systems, devices, networks, and data from any type of unauthorized access or attack. Cyber attacks typically try to gain access to sensitive information and alter, disrupt, destroy or control that information for malicious or criminal intent.
These attacks are of increasing concern to businesses and individuals. As more information and data continues to move online, everything from emails and credit cards to navigation systems and medical records are susceptible to digital attacks.
Cyber attacks can vary in size and scope, but some of the common types of threats include:
This usually takes the form of emails that appear as though they are from a reputable and legitimate source. These fraudulent communications aim to steal sensitive details, such as login information or credit card numbers.
Malware is malicious software that has been designed to gain unauthorized access or disrupt a computer. It typically breaches a network if a user clicks on a dangerous link, email attachment, or download. Malware can take many forms, including viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, and ransomware.
This type of attack involves a cybercriminal intercepting a communication between two parties. The criminal eavesdrops on the conversation and impersonates one or both parties in order to control information or steal data.
In this attack, cybercriminals overwhelm and exhaust network and servers with traffic in an attempt to shut down or disrupt the availability of services. The resources are then unavailable or inaccessible for legitimate users.
An SQL, or Structured Language Query, injection happens when malicious SQL code is inserted into an application’s database through an SQL statement, allowing attackers to view sensitive data.
The purpose of cybersecurity is to defend against these common threats through building systems and developing tactics to protect data. Cybersecurity is also sometimes referred to as information technology security.
What Are the Types of Cybersecurity?
There are five main types of cybersecurity: critical infrastructure security, mobile and application security, network security, cloud security, and internet-of-things security.
Critical Infrastructure Security
Critical infrastructure includes systems and networks that society relies on, such as electricity grids, traffic lights, water purification, and hospitals. Though these are physical infrastructures, they rely on cyber systems. Governments work with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to secure them from potential cyber attacks.
This type of cybersecurity is designed to protect internal networks from unauthorized access. Different tools, policies, and procedures can be used to ensure networks will not be exploited. Common tools include firewalls, antivirus and antimalware programs, and virtual private networks.
Mobile and Application Security
As users store more personal data onto their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices, mobile security is an increasingly important area. If a device is lost or stolen, there are tools that can lock the use of a mobile device or require multi-factor passwords before they can be accessed.
Within mobile security is application security, which is the process of finding, preventing, and fixing any vulnerabilities in apps. Cybersecurity professions work to make apps more secure so there is no risk of unauthorized access to data and devices. Application security starts during the design and development stages, and continues after apps are deployed.
This type of cybersecurity protects data and applications that are stored on cloud-based systems. The major threats to cloud security include data being exposed, unauthorized users accessing data, and malicious attacks to infect or destroy cloud infrastructure. Common defenses in cloud security include encryption, firewalls, and virtual private networks.
The internet-of-things (IoT) refers to a variety of systems connected to the internet, such as appliances, televisions, Wi-Fi routers, and security cameras. Many IoT devices have weak encryption and unpatched vulnerabilities, which mean they can be easily exploited. The increasing number of IoT devices makes this a high priority area in cybersecurity.
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