Today, we rely on technology more than ever to communicate, shop, work, and play. This dependence creates new threats that cybersecurity specialists must protect against. Cyberattacks can cause data breaches that expose personal information, resulting in financial losses and loss of customer trust. Learn about the different types of attacks and the security measures that can prevent them.
Unlike viruses and worms, Trojan malware is downloaded to your computer without your consent or knowledge. It can damage files, redirect internet traffic, monitor your activities, steal sensitive data, or create backdoor access points to your system. It also hides other malware on your computer, like adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). It can be mistaken for Trojans because they are often delivered in a bundle along with a program the user intends to download. Taking their name from the hollowed-out wooden horse the Greeks used to smuggle soldiers into Troy, Trojan malware sneaks its malicious codes into your devices. At the same time, you are unaware, enabling cybercriminals to attack your personal or business computers and networks. It could include malware like spyware, which secretly records your actions online so it can send this information to others; Trojan banker, which attempts to steal your credit card, banking, and bill pay account information; and ransomware, which locks down your device and threatens to erase it unless you pay a fee.
These attacks are rising, impacting every industry and leaving no one unscathed. It is why cybersecurity has become an essential component of the global economy, with the chief information security officer and their team responsible for ensuring the technology your business depends on remains safe. But first, what is cybersecurity and why is it important? Cybersecurity strives to safeguard systems, apps, computing devices, sensitive data, and financial assets of people and organizations, from primary and bothersome computer viruses to complex and expensive ransomware attacks and all points in between.
Viruses and worms are malware or malicious software that can harm computer systems. They can steal data, corrupt files, or even cause computers to crash and shut down. Email attachments or apps often spread these threats. They can also be applied to infect another computer system using a USB drive or other removable media. Some viruses are programmed to damage files, while others are designed to reproduce themselves and spread to other systems without any user interaction. Worms can take advantage of vulnerabilities in computer operating systems and apply them to networked systems, affecting multiple devices at once. Security experts are continuously playing whack-a-mole to stop the growing number of cyberattacks. Having multiple layers of defense is essential, including user education, a firewall, anti-virus software, and more. Technology like next-generation firewalls, endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions, and DNS filtering can help organizations and individuals keep their sensitive information and computers safe.
Hackers are digital safecrackers who use non-standard methods to break into restricted digital spaces, like computer networks, personal devices, and online accounts. They can be motivated by a desire for financial gain through data theft, to cause disruptions in business, or to achieve notoriety and respect for their hacking skills. They can also be hired to find and exploit security flaws in software and hardware products. It is known as white hat hacking or ethical hacking. Black hat hackers are the malicious type. They may seek financial gain or espionage from corporate targets, sell stolen information on the dark web, or engage in state-sponsored hacking to steal business intelligence and national secrets. They can also be political activists and hacktivists who seek to raise public awareness of issues through cyber attacks.
Hackers can even target your smart devices, such as baby monitors, car locks, or smart watches containing personal health and wellness data. Getting hacked is not just an inconvenience; it can endanger your personal and professional life. Thankfully, cybersecurity specialists work tirelessly to stay ahead of hackers and their latest cyberattacks.
The world is more interconnected than ever, with people relying on technology for communication, transportation, shopping, and medicine. But with all this connectivity comes new security threats that can hurt businesses. A single cyber attack can expose confidential customer data, damage a company’s reputation, and jeopardize its financial well-being.
Malware is software designed by hackers and cybercriminals to steal or disrupt computer systems. It can come in many forms, including viruses, worms, trojans, and spyware. It can install programs, block access to computer resources, or covertly transmit information from your data storage. Keeping up with the latest cybersecurity threats requires constant awareness and an understanding of how to recognize and react to suspicious behavior. Staff education is essential to a robust cybersecurity strategy, teaching employees to delete suspicious emails, avoid plugging in unidentified USB drives, and other best practices. It also helps to have tools that detect and alert when an attack is underway, such as database firewalls that prevent SQL injection, encryption that obscures sensitive data, and user behavior analytics that establishes baselines and detects risky activity.
A botnet is a malware that takes control of a network of computers to carry out cyber attacks. Attackers can build a botnet by infecting traditional laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and Internet infrastructure hardware like routers. The hacked machines become part of the botnet and communicate with a hacker master over the Internet, sharing instructions to perform various actions. For example, bots can launch distributed denial-of-service attacks by swarming websites with web traffic to bring them down. They can also use bots to run brute force programs or dictionary attacks to breach user passwords and access their online accounts. Bots can even “mine” for cryptocurrency, stealing the computing power of infected machines to generate new coins while their owners pay for it with increased electricity bills. Cybersecurity experts must stay on top of evolving threats and practices as the world becomes increasingly interconnected. A solid foundation in programming and attention to detail that could mean the difference between significant data loss and safeguarding confidential information can help you excel in this exciting career field.