Cyber Security

In today’s age, the use of technology has progressed to the point that we rely on it in almost all aspects of our life. Whether it’s using computer desktops at work, watching the news on your tablet or playing music on your smartphone, technology has been fully integrated into the human lifestyle. However with the increased use of technology there comes an added risk in the form of a cyber attack. Businesses and organizations are vulnerable to said attacks due to the mass amounts of financial damage that a cyber attack can cause. This fact, coupled with the growing number of cyber-savvy individuals has shed a light on the need for greater protection from cyber attacks.

A cyber attack is an attack targeted against an internet-enabled device, application, computer system or network. Hacking, phishing and malware (malicious software) are the two main cyber attacks that devices and systems face. There are various different types of malware and each one affects devices and systems differently. Viruses are the most common type of malware and they work by infecting files and programs. Viruses that can replicate themselves without a host program are called worms. Another common type of virus is a Trojan horse. Much like the Greek myth, a Trojan horse will appear harmless, likely taking the form of a legitimate program or advertisement. When installed or activated Trojan horses then follow through with their harmful intentions. Spyware is a virus that observes a user’s data without their knowledge. Ransomware is used by cybercriminals to pressure a user into giving them money, usually to decrypt data that the cybercriminal has encrypted. There are other various types of malware, all of which can cause great damage.

With all these various types of malware, not to mention hackers and phishers there is an urgent need for protection for the billions of people worldwide using computers and smart devices. Large organizations are also becoming more aware of cyber attacks and the need for protection from them. This is where cyber security comes in.

Cyber security is the protection from cyber attacks and the security of the cyber space and entities in the cyber space. As well as actual systems, this also applies to the devices themselves such as computers, tablets and mobile phones. With the demand for more cyber security ever increasing there are legal actions being taken in the UK to enable a safer cyberspace.

The ever developing nature of the cyber age we live in means that any existing methods will need to evolve and new methods will need to be devised.

One of the most recent update is the Data Protection Act of 2018, you might know of it from the ‘We’ve updated our privacy policy’ emails you have undoubtedly received from all the companies or websites that you have given personal information to. With this new act the government has updated how organizations, businesses, websites and the government itself are allowed to use your personal information. This includes clearly stating their use of your personal info, your right to control how long your data is kept for and how it is used, and finally, greater protection over sensitive personal information such as race, marital status, and sexual orientation etc.

As well as the government there are many websites and companies that can provide cyber security for a number of cyber threats, most commonly, antivirus programs such a McAfee and AVG. These programs work by scanning a system on a device to detect for any malware and they do this based on specific signatures, malware behaviour, or suspicious activity. They then take the appropriate measures to disarm and remove said malware.

Cyber security can also come in the form of advice on how to deal with malware. Companies like IT Governance, in addition to toolkit products, also offer consultancy on cyber security measures businesses can use. Their pragmatic approach to dealing with cyber attacks has made them the leading global cyber security company.

'Cyber Security: Law and Guidance’ written by a collective of cyber security experts and edited by Helen Wong offers more detailed insight into the development of cyber security and countermeasures against cyber attacks. It provides assistance for businesses and organization as to how best to pragmatically approach cyber security, helping them to make an educated decision on defending against the various cyber threats lurking in the cyber space.

Written by Helen Wong MBE

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