What does cyber security mean?
Cyber security deals with protecting anything connected across the network. This includes:
- Hardware like desktops, laptops, servers and mobiles
- Software like communication and work applications
- Data in transit and at rest.
What do I need to know?
The most important thing is understanding that everyone is at risk of cyber-attack. Business is increasingly being done over network connected devices. And each one presents a tempting target.
The motive is usually profit, though espionage and activism can also play a role. The rewards of cyber-crime are so great, threats have dramatically increased. Cyber criminals have become highly professional, often drawing on the resources of organised crime or rogue states.
You're never too small to be at risk
Think your business is too small to attract threats? Big mistake. Cyber criminals don't generally target individuals or businesses - they target vulnerabilities. A business of two is as prone to attack as a large corporation if a vulnerability is detected.
A key point is that cyber-attacks are automated. They constantly probe for weaknesses 24x7. And like the cyborg in the Terminator movie, they absolutely will not stop.
Mobile security is the next big weakness
Many businesses leave their mobile phones and tablets unprotected. Hackers are now starting to exploit this loophole. If you're serious about security, make sure you have security apps on your mobile devices.
What are the common threats?
This is any unauthorised activity on a computer network from an outside source. Intrusions not only consume bandwidth, they're also designed to do harm like stealing data.
Phishing uses false pretences to steal information like passwords and credit card details. A phishing attack poses as a legitimate email, SMS, Instant Message or website from an organisation you know.
Ransomware will either lock your computer to prevent access, or threaten to make sensitive files public. Hackers promise to unlock your system when a ransom is paid.
A rootkit is a program that allows hackers to hide other malware like spyware and viruses on your computer.
Spyware tracks what you're doing. It collects information like passwords, credit card numbers, web browsing and email addresses and uses it for malicious purposes.
Named after the Trojan horse of antiquity, Trojans are malicious programs in disguise. They don't replicate but they do create a backdoor that gives hackers control of your computer.
A virus is malicious software that replicates itself when activated so it can spread to other computers and files. The aim varies - deleting data, stealing passwords, making documents unusable, spamming contacts and more.
This is a vulnerability that has not been discovered by software or security vendors. The vulnerability can be exploited until it is detected and patched, when it stops being zero-day.
How do I protect my business?
Humans are one of the biggest risk to cyber security. The easiest way to access a system is through people, rather than finding ways through security barriers, and one of the most common and successful methods of attack is Phishing.
- Ensure all employees undergo regular cyber security content and awareness training.
- Deploy security measures and make sure they're up to date. If you are unsure of the type of security you need, check out our guide here.