Cyber Security: Understanding its Importance
Do you know that all around the world, there are security threats to your data and computers? However, with the help of Cyber Security, you can protect your data and systems against rapidly increasing cyber threats.
Keep on reading to learn more about the importance of cyber security and how you can protect important data.
Cyber Security is important as it protects all categories of data from theft and damage.
This includes sensitive data, personally identifiable information, PII, protected health information, PHI, personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information system.
Let’s learn about it in detail.
Without cyber security programs, your organization or business loses its ability to defend itself against data breach campaigns.
Thus, making your brand or business an easy target for cybercriminals.
These cloud services store important sensitive data and personal information.
Moreover, a widespread poor configuration of cloud services with increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals means the risk to your business suffers from a successful data breach is on the rise.
Today, you cannot rely on out-of-the-box cyber security solutions like antivirus software or firewalls.
Cybercriminals are getting smarter and their tactics are becoming even more resilient to conventional defenses.
Thus, to protect your sensitive information, you not only need firewalls, or cyber security systems but need to educate your staff about simple engineering scams as well.
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Types of Cyber Security Threats
A cyber security threat refers to a possible malicious attack that seeks to unlawfully access your data, disrupt digital operations, or damage information.
These can come from a number of actors, including corporate spies, hacktivists, terrorist groups, hostile, nation-states, criminal organizations, lone hackers, and disgruntled employees.
There are 7 types of Cyber security threats that you should know about.
Malware is malicious software like spyware, viruses, or worms.
It activates when you click on the malicious link or attachment, leading to the installation of dangerous software.
According to Cisco, it can:
- block access to key network companies (ransomware)
- covertly obtain important info by transmitting data from hard drive (spyware)
- disrupt individual parts of the system, thus making it inoperable
According to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA, Emolet is an advanced modular banking Trojan that functions as a downloader or dropper of other banking Trojans.
It continues to be one of the most costly and destructive malware.
Man in the Middle
A Man in the Middle or MITM is an attack that occurs when hackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction.
After interrupting the traffic, they can filter and steal data, and these often occur when a visitor uses an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
Other Types of Cyber Security Threats
Other types of cyber security threats are as follows:
Denial of Service
DoS is a type of cyber attack that floods your system or network so that it cannot respond to requests.
Moreover, the distributed DoS or DDoS does that something, however, the attack originates from the computer network.
It is important to note that cyber attackers often use a flood attack to disrupt the “handshake” process and carry out a DoS.
They may use other techniques and some of them might use the time that a network is disabled to launch other attacks.
On the other hand, a botnet is a type of DDoS in which millions of systems can be infected with malware.
These botnets or Zombie Systems target and overwhelm the processing capabilities of your system, however, are in different geographical locations and hard to trace.
This attack uses fake communications like an email, to trick the receiver into opening it and carrying out the instructions inside.
A structured query language, SQL injection is a type o attack that results from inserting malicious code into a server that uses SQL.
After infecting the server, it releases information, however, submitting the code can be as simple as entering it into a vulnerable website search box.
With the right password, a cyber attack can access all the important information.
Social engineering is a type of password attack and is a strategy cyber attack that relies on human interaction and involves tricking individuals into breaking standard security practices.
Other types include accessing a password database or outright guessing.
Importance of Cyber Security in 2021
Cyber security is important for your organization or data as it encompasses everything that relates to protecting important data from cyber attacks.
These cyber-attacks want to steal your data and information and use it to cause harm.
This data is often sensitive, governmental, or industry information, personal information, personally identifiable information, PII, intellectual property, and protected health information, PHI.
It is important and also crucial to have advanced cyber defense programs and mechanisms in place to protect this data.
Moreover, everyone in society or even your customers relies on critical infrastructure.
These include hospitals, healthcare institutions, financial service programs, and power plants.
However, at an individual level, cyber security attacks can lead to identity theft and extortion attempts, that can do more damage to your life.
With the fast development of technology, there is an increase in the number of connected devices.
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Understanding the Cyber Security Threats
According to a survey, there are about 21.1 billion networked devices around the world.
With this, there is a development of the dark web that has created a fertile ground for cyber crimes, thus, cyber security can nonetheless minimize your expose.
Today, many small and large companies and brands use cloud storage to save important customer data.
With the growth of social media, there is also an increase in identity fraud.
The truth is that whether you are an individual, running a small business, or a corporation you are at risk of cyberattacks.
Accroding to recent studies, the average cost of cybercrimes for an organization in 2020 was USD$13 million.
Research also shows that there is a sharp increase in data breaches, personal data, and intellectual property.
Thus, you would rather want to pay a little for cyber security than losing millions through industrial espionage.
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Protecting your Website from Cyber Security Threats
In recent years, building a website is quite an easy task, thanks to the content management systems CMS, like WordPress or others. Many business owners are now webmasters.
However, securing your website is in your hands, yet many individuals do not know how to make their website safe.
Let’s discuss this as follows:
Whether you are running a small business or an enterprise, your users or customers expect a safe online experience.
According to a report, majority of the Americans have a significant knowledge gap with regards to online security safety.
Moreover, 55% of the participants gave a grade of A or B in online safely, some 70% of them incorrectly identified what a safe URL should look like.
Let’s learn how you can improve your website’s safety.
1# Keep the Software and Plugins Up-to-Date
Due to outdated software, there is a huge number of websites that are compromised every day.
This is because potential hackers and bots are scanning sites to attack.
Updates are important to the health and security of your website, and if the software of your site or applications are not up-to-date, your site is not secure.
Moreover, take all software and plugin requests seriously.
Updates often include security enhancements and vulnerability repairs, thus checking your websites for updates, or add an update notification plugin.
However, some platforms allow automatic updates, which is a great way to ensure website security.
The longer you wait, the less secure your website will be. Make sure to update your website and its components a top priority.
2# Addings HTPPS and an SSL Certificate
To keep your website secure, your need a secure URL.
If you have visitors that offer your their private information, you will need HTPPS not HTPP to deliver it.
HTPPS or Hypertext transfer protocol secure is a protocol that provides security over the internet.
Moreover, it prevents interceptions and interruptions from occurring.
You will also need an SSL certificate that transfers your customer’s or visitor’s personal info between the website and your database.
SSL encrypts information to prevent it from others reading it while in transit.
3# Choosing a Smart Password
There are a number of websites, databases, and programs that need passwords, and it is often hard to keep track of them.
It is important to note that a lot of people use the same password in all places to remember their login information.
But it is a huge security mistake.
Creating a unique password you need to come up with a complicated, random, and difficult to guess password.
Then, you can store it outside the website directory.
Moreover, your CMS will request a login and therefore, you must choose a smart password.
Refrain from using any personal information inside your password like using your birth date or your pet’s name.
It is important to note that you should change your password after every 3 months or sooner.
Smart passwords are long and need to be a combination of numbers and symbols. Make sure to use uppercase and lowercase letters as well.
4# Use a Secure Web Host
Your website’s domain name is like a street address.
Thus, accordingly, the web hot is the real estate where your website exists online.
Normally, you would research a lot of plots of land to build a house, in the same way, you need to examine potential web hosts to find the right one.
Many web hosts provide server security that helps to protect your uploaded website data.
There are certain factors you should look for:
- Does the host offer a secure file transfer protocol SFTP?
- Is FP use by Unknown User Disabled?
- Does it offer a file backup service?
- How well do they keep up on security upgrades?
- Does it use Rootkit Scanner?
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5# Record User Access and Administrative Privileges
Most of the time, you will feel comfortable giving high-level employees access to the website.
Moreover, you will also provide them with administrative privileges. Though it is an ideal situation, however, it is not always the case.
In most cases, employees do not think about website security before logging into the CMS, instead, their thoughts are on the task they intend to achieve.
Thus, when they overlook an issue or make a mistake, it can result in a significant security issue.
Therefore, it is important to make sure you are giving access to the right employees with adequate knowledge.
It is important to educate your users about the CMS and the importance of passwords and software updates.
Moreover, you can make a record and update it often to keep a track of those who access your CMS and their administrative settings.
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6# Change the Default Settings of your CMS
The most common attacks on websites are often automated. What many attack bots rely on is for the users to have the CMS settings on default.
Thus, after choosing your CMS, change the default settings, as this helps prevent a large number of attacks.
CMS settings include adjusting control comments, user visibility, and permissions.
One example includes changing your ‘file permission’ settings.
It is important to note that each file has 3 permissions and a number that represents every permission.
- 1# ‘Read”(4): View the file contents
- 2# ‘Write ‘(2): Change the file contents
- 3# ‘Execute ‘(1): run the program file or script
To make sure if you want any permissions, you can add numbers together.
For instance, to allow read (4) and write (2), you set the user permission to 6.
Additionally, there are 3 users types with default permission settings.
These are as follows:
The creator of the file, however, ownership can be changed, But only one user can be the owner at a time.
Each file is assigned to a group. Users who are a part of the group will gain access to the permissions of the group.
This one includes everyone else.
You can customize users and their permission settings as well.
7# Backing up your Website
One of the best ways to keep your website safe is to have a good backup solution.
You should have more than one backup and each is important to recover your website in case of a major security incident.
There are a number of solutions to help recover damaged or lost files.
Keep your information Off-site and do not store it on the same server as your website, as they are vulnerable to attacks too.
You can choose to keep your website backup on a home computer or a hard drive.
Find an off-site place to store the data and protect it from hardware failures, hacks, and viruses.
Another option is to backup your website in the cloud. It makes string your data easy and allows access to information from any location.
Make sure to automate them besides backing up your data. You can use a solution where you can schedule your backups, making sure your solution has a reliable recovery system.
Pro Tip: Backup your backup
8# Web Server Configuration Files
Know your web server configuration files.
You can find them in the root web directory. It is important to note that the webserver configuration files permit you to administer server rules.
This includes directives to improve your website security.
There are a number of ways or file types with every serve. It is important to learn about the one you use.
Moreover, if you do not know about it, you can use a website scanner like Site check to check your website.
It also scans for known malware, viruses, blacklisting status, website errors, and more.
Thus, the more you know about the current state of your website security, the better it is.
9# Applying for a Web Application Firewall
Make sure to apply for a web application firewall, WAF as it sits between your website server and data connection.
The goal is to read every bit of data that passes through it in order to protect your data.
Today, most of the WAFs are cloud-based and are a plug-and-play service.
Thus, this cloud service is a gateway to all the incoming traffic that blocks all the hacking attempts.
Moreover, it also filters out other types of unwanted traffic like spammers and malicious bots.
10# Tighten Network Security
Make sure to analyze your network security to make your website secure.
The employees in your company who use the office system may inadvertently be creating an unsafe pathway to your website.
Thus, to prevent them from giving access to the server of your website, consider the following:
- have computer logins expire after a short period of inactivity
- make sure that all the plugged-in devices are scanned for malware each time they are attached
- your system notifies users every 3 months of password changes
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Cloud security protects personal data, computer network, computer system, systems network, sensitive information with security programs. Moreover, it has endpoint security that also includes a critical infrastructure of cloud security, information technology security, according to the National Institute of Standards. It provides security measures, data security, and limits unauthorized access.
As business owners or simply someone running a website, you can not just set it up and forget it. It is important to make sure that the data on the web is secure by making enough cyber security changes to the website or cloud. It is important to protect your business and customers’ data. Whether your website makes online payments or personal information, the data your audience enters must land in the right hands.