Why is cyber security important for a modern-day society
Cyber security has been a concern for as long as computers have been around. As more and more people started using the internet, cyber criminals began to realise the potential for harm. Cyber attacks occur, on average, every 39 seconds.
One of the most famous and financially damaging cyber attacks occurred in 2000, when the “Love Bug” worm infected millions of computer systems around the world. Estimated to have infected 10% of internet-connected devices worldwide, the Love Bug was a particularly devastating example of why cyber security needed to be taken seriously.
Over the years there have been a number of high-profile cyber attacks, including the Sony Pictures hack in 2014 and the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017. Each of these incidents has highlighted the importance of cyber security and the need to protect our data.
So why is cyber security important? Because it’s the only way to keep data safe in a world that is increasingly reliant on technology. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated all the time, and the information that businesses store and process provides a valuable target.
In modern society, cyber security is therefore essential. It’s not just about protecting your own data; your customers’ data must be secured against outside threats. In the event of a data breach, customers will lose trust in your business and may take their business elsewhere.
Common cyber threats
Malware is the catch-all term for malicious software that is designed to harm your computer.
Any cyber attack that uses this software can cause serious damage to your business, including damaging your files, causing data loss or taking over infected devices. Malware is often spread through email attachments or malicious websites, so it’s important to be careful about what you click on.
A virus is a type of malware that, much like a real virus, is self-replicating and can spread itself from one device to another.
A virus will infect a computer or other device and then use that device to infect other devices on the network. This can quickly cause widespread damage, making viruses particularly dangerous.
A notorious example is trojan viruses. These are disguised within seemingly harmless files, such as images or documents. Once opened, the virus can infect the device and give the attacker access to your data.
Phishing emails are fake emails that look like they’re from a legitimate website or company.
They often contain links to websites that are designed to steal your personal information, such as your login details or credit card number. Phishing emails can be very convincing, so it’s important to be cautious about any emails you receive, even if they look like they’re from a trusted source.
Ransomware is a type of computer virus that locks you out of your device or encrypts your files until you pay a ransom.
The virus can be very difficult to get rid of, and if you don’t have a backup of your files you could lose them permanently. Ransomware is often spread through email attachments or malicious websites, so it’s important to be careful about what you click on.
Social engineering scams are designed to trick you into giving away your personal information, such as your login details or credit card number. They can come in the form of fake emails, websites, or even phone calls. It’s important to be cautious about any requests for personal information, even if they seem to be from a trusted source.
Distributed denial of service (DDoS)
A distributed denial of service attack is when a group of computers tries to overload a website or server with requests, so that it can’t handle any more and goes offline. The attack can be very difficult to stop and can cause a lot of damage to the website or server.
Types of cyber security
Antivirus software is a type of software that helps protect your computer from online threats. It does this by scanning your computer for issues, such as viruses, and removing them. Antivirus software is important in cyber security because it helps protect your computer from being infected by the latest threats, which can damage your files or steal your data.
A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing traffic on a network, and can be configured to block access to certain domains and restrict internet access. Firewalls act as a barrier between your network and cyber attackers that attempt to access it.
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM ) systems
SIEM services help prevent data breaches by automatically collecting and analysing huge amounts of data. This data is then used to identify any potential threats and flag them for the IT team to deal with.
These systems are important in cyber security because they provide rapid alerts in the event of an attack, helping cyber security professionals respond quickly to events and mitigate damage. By collating and recording all events, SIEM systems help businesses demonstrate compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws.
Cyber security training
Cyber security training is important in order to help people understand how to protect their computers from being hacked. It can be in the form of online courses, or even in-person classes.
Training employees on security risks is one of the most effective forms of cyber security. Social engineering is one of the main ways that hackers gain access to systems, so training your staff on how they can avoid being scammed is crucial.
Passwords are often the first line of defence in security systems. That’s why it’s important to have strong password policies in place. A strong password policy is one that requires passwords to be a certain length and to contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.
2-factor authentication adds another layer of security, combining a password with a secondary code that is sent to a user’s phone. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to accounts, even if they have the password.
It’s also important that passwords are changed regularly, and that employees are not allowed to reuse old passwords.
Top benefits of robust cyber security
Protecting sensitive data must be a priority for every business. Investing in robust cyber security measures can help to protect your business from threats such as ransomware, viruses and DDoS attacks.
In addition, a secondary benefit of cyber security is protection from the issues that stem from breaches, such as downtime, data loss, financial loss, damage to reputation, and the theft of intellectual property.
Another key benefit of cyber security is that it can help you to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
This is particularly important if your business handles sensitive data, such as personal data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) makes it compulsory for businesses handling sensitive information, such as customer addresses and credit card information, to adequately protect that data.
Certain industries will also have their own specific regulations that businesses must comply with. For example, the banking and finance industry is subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Reduced operational costs
Investing in cyber security measures can help to reduce your operational costs. This is because it can help to prevent downtime, data loss, and financial loss. In addition, it can also help to protect your business from the cost of repairing damage to your reputation.
For instance, SIEM systems automatically collect and analyse huge amounts of data. This means that there is no need for manual surveillance, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Inspires customer confidence
Investing in cyber security measures can help you to demonstrate that you are taking the necessary steps to protect customer data. This can give your customers and clients confidence in your business and can help to build trust.
Stay ahead of emerging threats
Cyber security threats are constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest threats and how to protect against them. However, by investing in cyber security measures, you can stay ahead of the curve and be better prepared to defend against emerging threats.
With the increase in remote work environments, cybercriminals are launching sophisticated phishing attacks, targeting email addresses with fake links that, when clicked, install malware or spyware.
Cyber security strategy
A cyber security strategy is a plan of action that a business takes to protect its computer networks and systems from cyber attacks. The strategy should include measures to prevent attacks, detect them early, and respond quickly if an attack does occur.
There are many different types of cyber security threats, and the best way to protect against them is to have a layered approach that includes multiple security measures.
An effective strategy takes into account not just current needs, but any future developments in the business. For instance, migrating services to the cloud will require investment in cloud security.
Beyond common network security procedures like firewalls, antivirus software and strong password policies, one of the best ways to develop a robust cyber security strategy is to invest in training.
The future of cyber security
As our lives become more and more reliant on technology, cyber security will become even more important. We will need to find new ways to protect personal data and prevent networks from being hacked, and we will need to remain vigilant in the face of ever-evolving threats.
Cyber security is an ever-evolving field, and where cyber crime will likely remain a threat far into the future, we can be confident that the field of cyber security will continue to develop new ways to protect us.
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