What is Cybersecurity? | HCLTech

What is Cybersecurity?

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Cybersecurity, in simple words, means safeguarding and maintaining the security of information technology. It is the execution of protocols to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and safety of any digital data transaction.
 
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5 minutes 30 seconds read
Publish Date
5 minutes 30 seconds read
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Our gradual metamorphosis into a digital world is also marked by an equal proliferation of cyber threats, jeopardizing the safety of users and organizations alike. That is why cybersecurity has become an integral part of the virtual world to protect systems, networks, and other programs from cyberattacks.

What is cybersecurity?

It is the practice and implementation of certain processes to ensure the protection of computer systems, mobile computing, digital data, and networks, preventing theft, illegal access, and any damage to individual users and organizations. Hence, we can say that cybersecurity is the execution of protocols to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and safety of any digital data transaction. In short, it is safeguarding and maintaining the security of information technology.

Why has cybersecurity become indispensable?

The threat of cyber attacks is a huge problem and nightmare for organizations and individuals. The world of IT is on overdrive, constantly working to thwart any potential cyberattack. The situation is overwhelming because there are so many devices in the world perennially exposed to cyberattacks. The attackers are moving at the same pace developing innovative techniques to hold people hostages as they go about transacting digitally. 

Cybercriminals can access, destroy, and change sensitive information while extorting money via ransomware. This makes cybersecurity all too important. From protecting one’s family photos to safeguarding their bank accounts, and from protecting oneself from identity theft to leaking of critical information from organizations, national agencies, etc., cybersecurity has a bigger role to play now. Cybersecurity researchers work round the clock to stay ahead of the strategies and plans of hackers and make the internet a safer place to transact globally.

Cyber threat landscape: An overview

So, what are the different types of cybersecurity threats? They can take many forms and come in guises people can least suspect. However, some of the prevalent cybersecurity threats include:

  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Malware
  • Social engineering
  • Man-in-the-middle attack
  • Trojans
  • Botnets
  • Adware

Phishing: When cybercriminals try to dupe people through emails that appear to be from authentic sources, requesting sensitive information from them, it is called phishing. Gullible people often fall into the trap and sometimes pass on crucial information that results in monetary loss and theft of personal data like logging credentials. It is the most prevalent type of cyberattack. People need to be aware, educate themselves, and take the help of the latest tech solutions to ward off such fraudulent emails.

Ransomware: The malicious software cybercriminals use to block people’s access to important files and data in computer systems is called ransomware. These cybercriminals threaten victims by blocking their access until they pay the ransom. But, even after paying the ransom, no one can guarantee that access will be given or that they will restore the systems. It is mainly used to extort money from people and organizations.

Malware: Malicious software developed to destroy a user’s computer system is called malware. It is often distributed via unsolicited email attachments. Often disseminated through legit-looking downloads to extort money or for any political motive, malware is an incredibly common type of cybersecurity threat.

Social engineering: This refers to the tactics these cybercrooks use to deceive and tempt people to click on links, download malware, or follow a dubious link. They can steal vital information from people, coerce them to pay money (as in ransomware), and gain unauthorized access to their confidential data. 

Man-in-the-middle attack: In this type of cyberattack, a hacker breaks into a communication between two individuals to steal data. A person is prone to such an attack when using an unsecured WiFi network. The cybercriminal intercepts the data during transmission between the victim and the network. 

Trojans: This is also a type of malware. Cybercriminals can fool users through these types of software that look like bona fide offerings. They manage to convince users to upload Trojans onto their systems, which will help the hackers collect data or damage the system.

Botnets: It is a network of computers plagued by malware through which cybercriminals perform online tasks on others' systems without their permission.     

Adware: This is advertising software intended to spread malware by hackers.

Cybersecurity best practices

After knowing what cybersecurity is, its importance, and the different types of potential threats from cyber criminals, it is also important to learn to shield ourselves from these dangers. 

There is constant innovation in this field and cybersecurity professionals regularly come up with updates to protect individuals, businesses, governments, and other institutions from cyber threats. Cybersecurity measures need to be adhered to by people and institutions to keep these criminals at bay.

Let’s discuss these cyber safety principles to win over any cyber threat we may be exposed to in the future:

Regular update of software and operating systems: This will ensure that we are protected by the latest safety patches, giving us an advantage over cyber threats.

Use of antivirus software: This is a fool-proof method to snuff out any potential threats. Any software needs to be updated at regular intervals for optimal protection.

Create impenetrable passwords: The passwords should be unique and highly individualized so that cybercriminals have a hard time even thinking of breaking them.

Not opening email attachments from unknown sources: Since this is the most commonly used method of cyber fraud, people should be wary of opening attachments in emails from suspicious sources. They might carry malware.

Not clicking on links in emails from doubtful or unknown sources: Any links from dubious sources are bound to contain malware with the potential to harm a user’s system or hack into critical data.

Shunning unsecured free WiFi in public places: Using unsecured networks exposes people to man-in-the-middle attacks. Hence, one should refrain from using an unsecured network even if it is free.

Conclusion

With the advancement of technology, there are growing concerns about increasing cyber threats and data breaches on a global level. Technology is also helping these criminals break into systems and run amok with their bad intentions. Many sectors are vulnerable to this menace of cyber threats, and what inevitably follows is a spike in spending on cybersecurity solutions across the globe. Staying alert, implementing cybersecurity best practices, and helping technology innovation are the best ways to combat cyber attacks. To make the internet a safer place to transact, everyone must follow these principles at all times. It will ensure a strong cybersecurity system with fewer hassles in online dealings.

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