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Introduction to Cyber Security | A Complete Guide

Last updated on 28th Jan 2023, Artciles, Blog

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Smita Jhingran (Big Data Engineer )

Smita Jhingran provides in-depth presentations on various big data technologies. She specializes in Docker, Hadoop, Microservices, Python & Scala, MiNiFi, Cloudera, Commvault, and BI tools with 5+ years of experience.

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    • In this article you will learn:
    • 1.Cyber Security Introduction.
    • 2.What are some of the cyber security sub-domains?
    • 3.The importance and challenges of cyber security.
    • 4.What is a Cyber-Attack?
    • 5.What’s the difference between a cyber-attack and a security breach?
    • 6.Top 11 cyber security best practices to prevent a breach.

Cyber Security Introduction:

The term “cyber security” refers to a broad set of practices aimed at preventing or mitigating the effects of cyber-attacks and other forms of illegal access to computer systems, networks and data. The overarching goal of cyber security is to safeguard an organization’s resources against calamities both manmade and natural.Due to the heterogeneous nature of an organization’s resources ensuring its cyber security demands concerted effort across all of its information systems. Accordingly the following sub-domains make up cyber security:

What are some of the cyber security sub-domains?

Security of Applications:

Application security refers to the practice of protecting an organization’s data by hardening its software and services against a variety of attacks. In order to reduce the possibility of unauthorised access or alteration of application resources it is necessary to create secure application architectures write secure code implement robust data input validation perform threat modelling etc.

Safeguarding Information and Managing Identities:

Frameworks, procedures and activities are all part of identity management which allows for the authentication and authorisation of valid users to an organization’s many computerised systems. Implementing robust information storage techniques that guarantee data security both while stored and in transit is a crucial part of data security.

Safety in a Network:

Safeguarding a network’s infrastructure against attacks, outages and abuse requires a combination of hardware and software measures. Organizational assets may be safeguarded from a variety of external and internal dangers with the use of secure networks.

Confidentiality of Mobile Devices:

Organizational and individual data held on mobile devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets etc. must be protected against a variety of dangers such unauthorised access device loss or theft, virus etc.

Confidentiality in the Cloud:

Organizations employing AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and other cloud service providers have unique security challenges which may be mitigated via careful planning and implementation of cloud architecture and application. Safeguarding against dangers of all kinds is ensured by an environment and architecture that are well configured.

Continuity of operations and disaster recovery preparation (DR&BC):

Keeping mission-critical systems operational during and after any catastrophe as well as restoring lost activities and systems after an event are all aspects of business continuity that fall within the purview of disaster recovery and business continuity or DR&BC.

Training of Users:

Awareness of recommended practises, organisational protocols and reporting suspicious activity may all be improved by formal training on issues related to computer security.

Cyber Attacks

The importance and challenges of cyber security:

Due to advancements in technology and widespread software adoption in fields as diverse as finance, government, the armed forces, retail, healthcare, education and energy among many others more and more data is being converted to digital formats and made available via digital communication networks (both wireless and wired) and the ubiquitous internet. All this sensitive data has considerable value to hackers and bad actors thus it must be protected by rigorous cyber security protocols and procedures.Recent high-profile security breaches at companies like Equifax, Yahoo and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show the critical nature of good cyber security strategies as they resulted in the loss of extremely sensitive user information that harmed the companies’ finances and reputations irreparably. Furthermore the current pace of cyber assaults does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. Every day hackers target businesses of all sizes in an effort to steal valuable data or disrupt operations.

Effective cyber security plans face similar difficulties in today’s rapidly changing technology ecosystem. When software is updated or upgraded it often results in the introduction of new problems and security flaws that leave the system wide exposed to a variety of cyberattacks. In addition IT infrastructure is constantly developing with many businesses already moving their on-premise systems to the cloud which brings with it a new class of security holes due to a different set of design and implementation challenges. Many businesses fail to take adequate cyber security precautions because they are either ignorant of or have failed to assess the threats inherent in their IT systems.

What is a cyber-attack?

When a person or organisation is the target of a cyber assault the attackers are trying to infiltrate the target’s information systems in order to steal sensitive data, damage the systems or make them unavailable (s). To disrupt services steal sensitive information, or gain access to systems cybercriminals use unlawful means and techniques.There is a vast range of cyber-attacks that hackers and criminals utilise to compromise systems, however the following are some of the more common and significant ones:

  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Attacks through Injection (e.g., cross-site scripting, SQL injection, command injection)
  • Controlling sessions and Man-in-the- Aim for the Middle
  • Phishing
  • No service provided
  • Advances in privilege
  • Broken/not-patched software
  • Appropriately Executing Code Off-Site
  • Using Force in a Disproportionate Manner

What’s the difference between a cyber-attack and a security breach?

  • A security breach is similar to but not the same as a cyber-attack. As was previously said a cyberattack is an effort to get into a computer system. Cybercriminals use a wide range of assaults such as those described above, in an effort to compromise the security, reliability or availability of a system, programme, or network. A security breach on the other hand, occurs when a cyber-attack succeeds in compromising data, gaining access to computer networks or disrupting services.
  • Cybercriminals often launch dozens of separate assaults on a single target in the hopes that at least one would succeed in bypassing defences. In light of this it is important to note that Business Continuity and Incident Response is an additional crucial component of a comprehensive cyber security plan, and that it is often overlooked (BC-IR). Business Cyber Incident Response aids a company in coping with the aftermath of successful cyberattacks. While Incident Response is concerned with minimising the damage caused by a security breach and getting important IT and business systems back up and running Business Continuity is concerned with keeping those systems online in the face of an attack.

Top 11 cyber security best practices to prevent a breach:

1.Promote education and training in cyber security:

Education of workers on cyber security, corporate regulations and incident reporting is crucial to the success of any cyber security plan. An expensive security breach may occur despite any and all technological safeguards in place if an employee commits an act of negligence or malice. The greatest strategy to prevent ignorance and the possibility of a security violation is to educate staff and raise knowledge of corporate rules and security best practices via seminars, lectures and online courses.

2. Conduct risk analyses:

An official risk assessment should be carried out by businesses in order to catalogue all of their precious assets and rank them according to the severity of the damage they would suffer if they were lost or stolen. Because of this businesses will be able to better allocate their resources to ensure the safety of each asset.

3. Be careful to handle software updates and patches properly and control vulnerabilities:

To lessen the likelihood of cyberattacks it is essential for IT departments to conduct vulnerability assessments, categorise them according to severity, fix them and implement countermeasures. In addition security analysts and hackers often discover new security flaws in a wide range of software which they then either disclose to the developers or make public. Malware and other forms of cyberattack often target these weaknesses. Updates are released on a regular basis by software manufacturers to fix and counteract these security flaws. Therefore it is in the best interest of the company to ensure that its IT systems are always up to date.

Types of Cyber Security Threats

4. Incorporate the concept of “least privilege” into your practise:

Software and employees should each be granted just the minimum set of privileges required to carry out their specific tasks as outlined by the concept of least privilege. This helps reduce the severity of any security breach that does occur since compromised accounts or programmes Won’t be able to access the more sensitive data or expensive hardware that requires a higher degree of access. As an added precaution two-factor authentication has to be implemented for all accounts with administrative privileges.

5. Require safe practises for storing passwords:

Strong passwords that meet minimum industry requirements should be required of all workers. Passwords should be required to be updated at regular intervals to prevent security breaches. Additionally salts and robust hashing techniques are recommended for password storage.

6. A solid business continuity and incident response (BC-IR) strategy should be put into action :

Businesses can better react to cyber assaults and security breaches and keep their most important systems operational if they have well-thought-out BC-IR strategies and procedures in place.

7. Conduct regular security audits:

Reviewing the security of your software and network on a regular basis might help you see potential problems before they become serious. Source code reviews architectural design reviews, red team assessments and penetration testing are all examples of security reviews. Once a security flaw has been identified the next step is to prioritise it and take steps to fix it.

8. Data should be backed up at least every:

Periodically backing up all data increases redundancy and ensures no sensitive data is lost or compromised in the event of a security breach. Data integrity and availability might be jeopardised by attacks like injections and ransomware. In circumstances like these backups may be a lifesaver.

9. Protect information while in motion and at rest through encryption:

Strong encryption techniques should be used for the storage and transmission of any sensitive information. If information is encrypted no one will be able to access it without the password. It’s also important to implement procedures for key management and rotation. SSL/TLS should be used by all web-based software.

10. Incorporate safety measures into the development of software and network architectures:

Always design in safety while developing apps writing software or planning network architecture. Don’t forget that it’s far more expensive to implement security after the fact by redesigning the programme. Security-focused software may lessen risks and guarantee a “fail safe” outcome in the event of a software or network failure.

11. Use rigorous input validation and common security practises:

If you want to protect yourself against injection attacks of all kinds you should start with solid input validation. Since software and apps are built to take user input they are vulnerable to attacks nevertheless robust input validation may help weed out dangerous input payloads before they reach the programme. Most of the common vulnerabilities described by OWASP and CVE may be avoided if secure coding practises are followed while developing software.

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