1) WHAT IS CYBERSECURITY?
Cyberspace can be defined as an electronic medium of computer networks in which online communications take place. This space is a mammoth network of hundreds of thousands of networked computers, servers holding massive amounts of data, routers, modems, and switches. These are in turn connected through tens of thousands of powerful optical fiber cables both on land and across the seas, called submarine cables. So keeping these networks, individually and collectively, is everyone’s responsibility.
Now keeping this network safe for individuals, organizations and governments have become a huge business requiring huge amounts of resources in manpower and infrastructure. This Cybersecurity has fast become an interesting and rewarding field for the students to concentrate on.
2) CYBER SECURITY CONCEPTS
The increasing Cyber threats imply that individuals, small businesses, large organizations, and government agencies are increasingly concentrating on securing their systems against all forms of cyber threats. In layman terms, Cybersecurity is the act of protecting standalone computers, a network of interconnected computers, individual, organizational, and highly sensitive government and national security data from damaging Cyber attacks. This process involves adopting a variety of Cybersecurity concepts to suit the needs of the users.
For a beginner, the Cyber Security basics and concepts include knowing about keeping safe from email scams, malware, virus, wi-fi security, financial scams, phishing scams, safe use of internet tools like social media, and more. Even smartphones are increasingly becoming an integral part of our daily lives and need some basic protection. Beginners have to understand some basic concepts of Cybersecurity and subscribe to anti-virus software for personal computers and networks in small businesses to protect themselves.
In business houses, regular 2 or 3 stage auto or manual back-up of company data has to be provisioned for in case of loss of data either due to computer crash or hacking.
3) CYBERSECURITY COURSES
There are many basic Cybersecurity courses conducted by various institutions for a beginner to comprehend the concepts and make them comfortable about issues which may appear complex in the beginning.
Before joining a course, a beginner can prepare by reading a few resources like
- Bob Gourley’s ebook ‘Cyberthreat, know the threat to beat the threat’.
- ‘Cybersecurity Framework’ from NIST.
- ‘The five most common Cyber-attacks’ from CSO.
Beginners can understand in simple terms what is the Cyber Security Basics by attending a basic course. The basics include information on safe Wi-Fi/router/modem connections, anti-virus software, safe internet browsing, dangers of clicking on unknown links, recognizing phishing sites, common tricks of fraudsters, SIM swapping frauds, safe use of credit cards and digital payment apps, and more. These are some of the Cyber Security basics for beginners that need to be understood before venturing deep into Cyberspace. However, before venturing out for deeper into this extremely interesting field, the beginner should be thorough in the basics of Cybersecurity and be aware of the dynamic nature of the ever-increasing challenges that need to be encountered regularly.
There are numerous organizations and websites which provide reliable resources for learning Cyber Security basics. Many US agencies provide extremely useful tips, guidance, and updated resources for beginners as well as those already in the field.
- NSA, the national security agency, provides guidance to safely maintain a home network.
- FBI, the federal bureau of investigation, provides tips for securing your computer against internet scams.
- For a beginner into setting up his computer and connecting to the internet for the first time, crucial guidance is available from US-CERT.
- US-CERT provides useful information regarding viruses and about securing the web-browsers.
- Wi-Fi security tips are available on the federal communication commission, FCC, website.
Basic Cybersecurity concepts can be learned with the aid of courses which are offered by multiple IT companies. The level of sophistication can be chosen by the beginner depending on how he wishes to take it on from here. The beginner can choose even from a few of the free online courses now available if the purpose is to know only the basics for the personal use of a computer, home network, and data safety.
If the goal is to take this forward to make Cybersecurity a career option, then medium to a long-term diploma or certificate courses can be chosen later on with guidance form IT consultants regarding the possibilities. What also matters here is the basic education level and the age at which you are starting as a beginner. Just out of school is a great age to start a career in this challenging and interesting field by starting with Cyber Security basics.
The recent years have seen a plethora of new forms of increasing Cyber-attacks. Many of them relate to the denial of service by sending massive spam emails or messages designed to take down the servers and websites of organizations.
Ransomware is another latest threat wherein an encrypted software is inserted into the system of the target company preventing them from accessing their files and applications. The threat is to erase their files, crash their system if an asked ransom amount is not paid. If the ransom amount is transferred to their account, then they are allowed to access a decryption key which can release their system. Some may use this as revenge attacks just to settle some old scores and take down the systems of an organization without really intending to call off the attack even after a ransom is paid.
Botnet attacks are made through a network of real and fake computer systems spread over multiple continents to hide their origin. They can be used to spread social media messages and emails to target an individual or organization, denial of service, or stealing confidential data.
Given these dangers lurking in the Cyberspace, learning about basic Cybersecurity concepts and vulnerabilities is catching up around the world. Going deep into this field to make a career out of it needs some basic Cybersecurity training for beginners to start with.
4) KEY AREAS OF CYBERSECURITY
The key areas of Cybersecurity known as the CIA triad comprise of confidentiality, information, and availability.
Information is the key to everything. The confidentiality of information related to an organization is integral to all this. Each person needs access to a certain type and level of information only and this amount of information accessible increases as one goes up the organizational ladder. Each person is trained appropriately to protect and maintain the confidentiality of all information available to him through a password and other security tools. The overall organizational Cybersecurity is taken care of by a dedicated department through an appropriate firewall.
This is key to data integrity, in protecting its accuracy, dependability, and consistency. It should not be open to any illegal access, corruption, manipulation, or leakage to unauthorized persons. If it happens, then there should be a very clear plan to detect and isolate the threat and then recover the data. Availability of information is made possible through proper risk analyses, integration of appropriate hardware and software. It is custom made suitable to the type of organization, the sensitivity of the data stored, the overall risk profile, and considering all possible vulnerabilities involved.
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