What is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security is a term that is used to define the security of devices whilst they are connected to the Internet. The aim is to reduce the overall risk of targeted cyber-attacks against all types of devices as well as protecting the user and business against any unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies.

What makes Cyber Security important?

The implementation of Cyber Security is now more important as ever as more and more devices are connecting to the internet to form the basis of modern life. From mobile phones to smart devices, such as your speakers, TVs and fridges to your computers, every device which has internet connectivity is potentially at risk from some form of attack.  Imagine the chaos and difficulty of performing everyday life without having access to the internet? What would you do if you could not check your emails or log onto Facebook?

Cyber-attacks can come in many different forms, attacks can come from Phishing emails, which try and trick you into clicking malicious links and appear to be from well-known companies to malware which is downloaded onto your devices to viruses which can infect your systems and encrypt your devices and hold it for ransom.

What are the challenges of Cyber Security?

When it comes to the protection of devices, there are many challenges with cyber security, especially for larger organisations. Having to manage, log and protect against all sorts of threats can be a project in its own right. Companies need to ensure that not only the external and border systems are protected, but internal systems are also secured against any threats which may have been brought in by a member of staff.

People and businesses need to be wary of the types of attacks which may targeted at them, attackers can be patient and wait for as long as it takes to obtain information which may be sensitive to a user or business. Because of this, awareness training should be provided to help minimise the potential chances of compromise. The weakest link in a business compromise is usually the end user.

With the increased use of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) and people working from home the chances of compromise can increase dramatically as computers are not connected to office networks as much, which means that computers are not patched as much and data may not be backed up as frequently.

This is where frameworks ISO 27001 and certification schemes such as Cyber Essentials can come into play. Where ISO 27001 concentrates on building a framework for the security of information, Cyber Essentials concentrates on the basics of cyber security, ensuring that companies have the basics in place.

How to protect yourself

You use Cyber Security to protect yourself from cyber-attacks in several ways, the main ways are by ensuring you have the following enabled or configured:

Firewalls

Ensuring that you use and have a firewall wall in place is like placing a door and lock at the entrance of your house. Without this everything on the internet can access your information and devices.  All the modern Operating Systems come with one built in, there’s no reason not to keep on using them.

Passwords

Passwords are the keys to your identity, you should ensure that you are using strong unique passwords that are at least 8 characters in length and are made up of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters. Ideally you should look at using a password manager which allows you to create a strong unique password for every site you use.

Alongside passwords, you should also ensure that you use 2FA or two-factor authentication, or sometimes called multi-factor authentication.

Patching

Applying patches to your devices is one of the easiest ways you can ensure that you are protected from cyber-related attacks and that cyber security within the business is increased. By ensuring that you apply all the security updates for your Operating System as soon as possible will ensure that any security vulnerabilities and bug fixes are applied and close any potential security gaps that are present in the device.

Not only should you apply updates to your main Operating System (including mobile phones), but you should also ensure that any applications that you use are kept up to date. For example, ensuring that Microsoft Office is up to date Adobe Flash and so forth.

When it comes to applications, you should also ensure that any unsupported or end of life applications are removed from your device to help reduce the potential for a breach.

Now this hasn’t covered all aspects of Cyber Security but gives you a basic overview and a few tips to help you protect against online based attacks.

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