Cyber threats or attacks are permanent residents on almost every news broadcast but are far from actual news to most people.
We all encountered at least once in some mysterious and ridiculously generous Nigerian prince; we all heard about at least one major cyber attack breach or cyber security (Wikileaks anyone?). Yet, there is another thing that is common to most of us – we immediately exclude ourselves and start a self-convincing journey that begins with one avoiding and overconfident step of “It will never happen to me!”. Unfortunately, it can happen to everyone, from sole individuals through small companies and businesses and up to giant corporations and governmental facilities.
As the world we live in evolves, technologically speaking, it forces us to hold and own a digital presence since we do almost everything via the web, at the cyberspace if you may: purchase groceries, pay taxes, see and update our medical information, registrar to various services and so on. Our digital presence holds almost every piece of critical information about us, from financial data to our choices and preferences. That is why each and every one of us is a potential target to online criminals, mostly known as hackers. Large companies and organisations are taking active measures to protect themselves, gathering threat intelligence. Still, it doesn’t mean that individuals are bound to be sitting ducks, they can and need to defend themselves, but they are, usually, far less exciting targets.
The scope of damage cyberattacks can cause is very wide. They can harm national scale infrastructures or services, such as the electrical grid or hospitals databases and even nuclear facilities, as we saw in Iran several times. Cybersecurity breaches are goldmines for attackers. Through those breaches, they infiltrate our digital assets and hold them hostage, damage them or both. That is why organisations and companies must stay on top of their cyber security situational awareness and maintain every computer security protocol.
Beyond the actual damage of the attack, like loss of money (ransom), loss of data, loss of capabilities or damaging ongoing services or critical infrastructures, cyber-attacks also harm companies’ credibility and undermine the sense of security their clients and partners have in them. In addition, hackers use shaming methods as part of the threat and do not hesitate to publish any information that can damage their victim’s business and reputation, preferably both.
Taking Action for Our Own Protection
Enterprises best defence practices from cyber attacks include basic but essential countermeasures, like patching systems. To keep their most valuable and vulnerable treasures safe, they must take proactive actions that help them stay one step ahead of potential hackers. These evolving risks and threats are the solid reasons that pushed cyber security courses to the front of organisational training. Businesses train their employees, mainly the ones on IT and cyber teams, continuously. The threats emerge and become more sophisticated, but so does the protection techniques.
Defending ourselves from cyber threats and attacks is an ongoing job that must be conducted regularly throughout a skilful, accomplished team within the business or outside. As for individuals, the best way of protection is avoiding any unfamiliar links, using complex passwords that are frequently changed and using private anti-virus software. With good preparation, devotion, and regular resource allocation, any security operations team or a proactive individual can avoid severe cyber threats.