By definition, cyber security is the practice of protecting computer networks and systems from unauthorised access or theft – this includes both hardware and software security measures.
Cyber security and the threat from cyber attackers are often overlooked as an important business issue, so it’s worth taking a closer look at why cyber security is crucial to businesses in the UK today.
First, let’s take a look at one controversial episode – the Sony PlayStation hack in 2011.
The Sony PlayStation hack
On April 26, 2011, the PlayStation Network and Qriocity service (now the Sony Entertainment Network) was taken offline by Sony.
It was later revealed that the attack had been carried out by a group of hackers known as ‘Anonymous’ who had gained access to the network’s servers and had stolen customer data, including credit card details.
This resulted in Sony being fined £250,000 by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to protect its customers’ personal data.
How did Sony fix the problem?
After the attack, Sony implemented several security measures to help prevent a similar incident from happening again.
This included adding extra layers of security to its network, increasing monitoring of suspicious activity, and improving staff training on cyber security.
What can we learn from the Sony hack?
The Sony hack was a wake-up call for businesses of all sizes.
It showed that even large, well-known companies can be vulnerable to attack if they don’t have adequate security measures in place.
It also highlighted the importance of having a robust cyber security strategy in place to defend against the growing threat of cybercrime.
How does cyber security benefit society?
Having seen what happened during the Sony PlayStation hack, we can see how cyber security benefits society in many ways.
It helps to protect our critical infrastructure: Cyber security helps to protect personal information, financial data and important services from hackers.
It helps to keep the internet safe and secure: By working to prevent cyber attacks, we can make sure that the internet remains a valuable platform that anyone can use.
It creates a more secure and trustworthy online environment: This is especially important for businesses that rely on the internet for a variety of tasks including communication, marketing, and sales.
It ensures businesses can continue to operate smoothly and efficiently: By ensuring that their networks and systems are protected from cyber attacks, businesses can focus on growing their operations and delivering valuable services for their customers.
It boosts customer confidence: Through online accounts for shops and services, the general public are entrusting more information than ever to businesses. Businesses that ensure that data is protected will retain the loyalty and confidence of their customers.
How does cyber security help to protect our critical infrastructure?
Critical infrastructure refers to the systems and networks that are essential for the functioning of a society or economy.
This includes things like power plants, water treatment facilities, financial institutions and transport systems.
These systems are often targeted by cyber criminals because they can cause widespread disruption if they are successfully attacked.
Cyber security helps to protect these critical systems by preventing or mitigating the damage that can be caused by such attacks.
Some of the ways that cyber security helps to protect our critical infrastructure include:
· Preventing unauthorised access: Preventing unauthorised access to our critical infrastructure reduces the likelihood of theft and vandalism.
· Protecting against cyber attacks: Cyber attacks can cause serious damage to our critical infrastructure. By protecting against these attacks, we can reduce the risks of downtime and potential power outages.
· Ensuring continuity of operations: In the event of a cyber attack, it is important to have continuity of operations. This means that our critical infrastructure will be able to continue to function, minimising the disruption of an attack.
By protecting our critical infrastructure, we can ensure the continued functioning of essential services and prevent disruptions to society. Cyber security is therefore vital for the safety and security of the modern world – as was illustrated by the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack.
The ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack
One of the best illustrations of cyber attackers targeting our infrastructure is the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack in 2017.
In May, a ransomware attack known as ‘WannaCry’ hit hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries.
The attack encrypted user files and demanded a ransom to decrypt them.
Among the many organisations that were affected were hospitals that had to cancel appointments and operations. Massive disruption was also caused to businesses around the world.
How did industries fix the WannaCry problem?
After the WannaCry attack, there was a huge push for businesses to improve their cyber security.
This included identifying and patching software vulnerabilities, improving staff training on cyber security and increasing investment in cyber security.
The WannaCry attack showed that even the most well-protected systems can be vulnerable to attack.
It also highlighted the importance of having a robust cyber security strategy in place, and the need for businesses to regularly update their software and systems to protect against new threats.
How does cyber security help to protect financial data?
It is vital that we keep our financial data safe and secure. More and more of our personal and business information is digital, stored on computers, servers and other devices.
If this information is stolen, it could be used to commit fraud or identity theft. By implementing proper cyber security measures, we can help to prevent this from happening.
Some of the ways in which cyber security can help to protect financial data include:
· Encrypting data: This makes it much harder for unauthorised individuals to access and read sensitive information.
· Implementing access controls: This limits who can view and edit financial data.
· Creating backups: This ensures that there is a copy of the data in case it is lost or stolen.
By protecting our financial data, we can make sure that it remains safe and secure. This is important for both individuals and businesses.
How does robust cyber security benefit the modern world?
There’s no doubt that cyber security is important for the safety and security of both individuals and businesses.
By working to prevent cyberattacks, we can make sure that the internet remains a valuable tool for everyone.
Perhaps the most obvious way that cyber security benefits everyone is to protect our critical infrastructure. If these systems were to be compromised by a cyber attack, it could have a devastating impact on our lives.
Another key benefit of cyber security is the protection of our personal information.
In today’s digital age, we share a lot of personal data online, whether it’s through social media, online shopping, or banking.
If this data were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be used for malicious activities – as we saw in the Ashley Madison attack.
What happened in the Ashley Madison hack in 2015?
In July 2015, the dating website Ashley Madison was hacked, and more than 30 million user accounts were exposed.
The hackers released information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card details of Ashley Madison’s customers. This resulted in a lot of people being blackmailed.
How did Ashley Madison fix the problem?
After the attack, Ashley Madison implemented several security measures to help prevent a similar incident from happening again.
This included increasing security around its customer data, improving staff training on cyber security and adding extra layers of security to its website.
Cyber security isn’t just for businesses – it’s for all of us
In the UK, cyber security is important for several reasons. Because the UK is a highly connected country, this brings lots of opportunities for criminals to exploit vulnerabilities to access sensitive information or systems.
And while we appreciate why businesses and organisations must invest in cyber defences – it’s also important that we take precautions at home too.
So, what can the public do to ensure they are protected online?
The steps that everyone can take to ensure their safety online:
· Use strong passwords for all online accounts
· Never reuse passwords across different accounts
· Avoid using personal information as passwords
· Use a reputable security suite or antivirus program and keep it up to date
· Be cautious when clicking on links or opening email attachments
· Use caution when sharing personal information online
· Keep software and operating systems up to date
· Back up important files regularly.
The growing impact of hackers on our everyday lives is regularly featured on TV and in newspapers as victims tell of their own misfortune.
And they all stress how important the above steps are for protecting our personal information – especially bank accounts.
Remember, cyber security is for everyone, not just big firms.
What are the latest developments in cyber security?
Since cyber-attacks are constantly evolving, the methods to defend businesses are evolving too.
The latest developments in cyber security include the use of biometrics, artificial intelligence (AI), and behaviour analytics.
These technologies are being used to create more secure systems that can better protect against data breaches and other threats.
Additionally, companies are working on developing new ways to respond to cyber-attacks, such as using machine learning to automatically detect and block malicious activity.
What should businesses do?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best approach for a business will vary depending on the specific industry and type of data they have.
However, there are some general steps that all businesses can take to improve their cyber security posture. These include:
· Implementing security controls to mitigate those risks
· Training employees on cyber security best practices
· Testing systems regularly to ensure they are functioning properly
· Responding quickly and effectively to any incidents that do occur.
By taking these steps, businesses can create a robust cyber security defence.
Why is cyber security so important?
As we have seen from the examples above, cyber attacks can have a serious impact on both individuals and businesses.
That’s why it’s so important to have strong cyber security measures in place to protect your data from being accessed or stolen by hackers.
By investing in cyber security, you can help to keep yourself safe from the potentially devastating consequences of a cyber attack.
Browse more articles from our experts and discover how to make better use of IT in your business.
As the most common form of cyber crime, phishing affects both individuals and businesses. Find out how attack vectors and trends are developing with the latest phishing statistics. Read More
Read the latest cyber crime statistics, updated for December 2023, and see how the threat landscape has changed in recent years. Read More