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Understanding Cyber Security and modern threats

Best practices of safety on Cyberspace.

Published: July 7, 2021 By Darina Shramko

Cyber Security industry

Image source - Shutterstock

Did you know that invisible warriors are fighting for your online privacy right now? We go to work, play sports, and do not even realize that large-scale cyber wars are waged behind our backs every day. It's like a Tarantino thriller, you say. However, this is our reality, and it is more threatening than any movie! By deciding to become a user of the Internet, you have become a link in the dangerous chain of digital reality.

I bet you are extremely curious to know what I mean. Today I will become your guide to the world of cybersecurity and will tell you all the secrets that will shock you!  Well, sit comfortably because the journey into the mysterious world of information security begins now!

This article also:

  • a practical guide for computer users
  • a practical guide for business leaders on how to protect data from unauthorized intrusion by intruders
  • a practical guide for students on how to keep data safe on the Internet
 

Disclaimer

This article discusses the best practices to follow to keep your data safe on the Internet. Any use of these methods for hacking or unauthorized access is illegal. All information is provided only to inform you about existing cyber threats and ways of fraud.


What is Cyber Security?

Each person is a programmer of his happiness and a hacker of someone else's.

- Stas Yankovsky

There are so many fragile things in the world that need our protection. For example, medicine protects our health, the police protect us from criminals, and fire services save us from flames. However, there is something else that is very important but very fragile. I'm talking about our privacy. Our right to privacy is a guarantee of honor and dignity protection.

Unfortunately for us, there are so many scoundrels in the world who want to destroy our privacy. Our only hope for a bright and secure future is cybersecurity.

So, cybersecurity is a set of rules and actions aimed at protecting users' technical devices and confidential information on the Internet.

Every day, hacker attacks eliminate by white hat - law enforcement officers who know how to think like a criminal to neutralize him.

The name “white” and “black” hat appeared thanks to Westerns − the heroes-antagonists wore hats of these colors. This term later popularizes by Richard Stallman, a theorist of hacker culture. Black hats engage in information theft, the sale of illegal substances, and robbery.


How to get into cybersecurity?

The importance of information security cannot overstate. I can confidently say that cybersecurity is the three pillars that support the entire IT industry! The value of information technology will crumble like a house of cards if there is no one to protect these technologies.

So, how to get into cybersecurity? Before giving any valuable recommendations, let me tell you a little story from my life.

It all started with the fact that I sharply awakened an interest in the computer as a child. I wanted to know everything about a computer: what components it consists of, and how it works. As time went on, I began to write my first programs and teach more about IT technologies. Information security attracted me the most. The hackers seemed aliens from another planet who know something that we, ordinary people, do not know. I have imitated them, read the cybersecurity literature, and hack my social networks to understand their vulnerability.

So I decided to become a cybersecurity specialist, having made my way from an ordinary schoolboy to a student at the Faculty of Information Technology. Has entered the University, my main goal was to create a completely protected system that no evil genius could hack. I am still working on this issue and believe that I will share this information with you someday.

Suppose you were not interested in information technology as a child. In that case, as I was, this does not mean that you cannot become a good information security specialist! Cybersecurity is a science with no age restrictions! Anyone can become a good information security specialist if they make an effort to do so. Even if you have worked as an architect all your life and suddenly decided to change your life - do not hesitate, you will succeed!

So, to get into cybersecurity, you must:

1) Surround yourself with technical literature. Books, guides, and tutorials from our site should become your daily responsibility. The more terms you know, the easier it will be to make friends with new technologies.

2) Sign up for a computer literacy course. The teachers will introduce you to computer architecture and explain the principles of programming.

3) Expand your social circle. Look for like-minded people, communicate with experienced cybersecurity specialists and ask questions on our website - we will answer all your questions!

4) A good information security specialist is obliged to protect first of all the most valuable thing - his personal life. Below I will tell you what to do to ensure your online safety.

5) Information security is an area in which there is no room for stagnation. You need to develop yourself and improve. Be open to new knowledge!
 

Cybersecurity consists of many subtypes and branches:

  • Network security − actions aimed at protecting computer networks from unauthorized access;
  • Application security − protection of software and technical devices. Developers take care of the safety of software or devices at the design stage;
  • Information security − protection of confidential user data from hacking and information theft;
  • Operational security − actions aimed at ensuring the protection of information assets;
  • Simulation of a cyber threat (disaster recovery of data) − creating conditions for hacking. This practice is necessary to test how the organization can recover information to return to the same operational capacity as before the threat. Also, this practice helps to see the flaws in the system and improve the organization's security system;
  • Business continuity is a plan that an organization resorts to when trying to operate without specific resources;
  • Safety briefing for employees and owners of the organization − such measures are necessary so that employees do not introduce malware into the protected system, which can obtain from phishing sites or email accounts.

Just choose a direction in which it would interest for you to develop and follow my recommendations!

I guarantee that these tips will help you quickly upgrade your skills. Perhaps we will soon become colleagues with you and be together to protect Internet users from hacker attacks!


What are cyber threats?

Cyber-attacks are malicious actions aimed at gaining remote access to a computer to hack and steal information. In other words, a cyber-attack is an attempt to implement a threat. Most often, these attempts are successful, alas.

According to Kaspersky statistics, over 250 cyber-attacks occur in the world every second! Can you imagine the scale of the disaster? At least 250 organizations and individuals are attacked by cybercriminals every second. Today, the most "infected" countries are Russia, Brazil, China, the United States, and Germany.

The numbers, of course, are disappointing. And, unfortunately, the statistics are only increasing. According to Canalys, more accounts were hacked in the past 2020 than in the last 15 years! To prevent the growth of cyber-attacks, it is necessary to study each of them in detail.

Fortunately, all cyber-attacks do not have to investigate. As a rule, scammers use several favorite methods, which I will now tell you about it.

Types of cyber-attacks

Malicious software

One of the favored hacking methods is the introduction of malicious software onto the victim's computer. Malicious software consists of several components:

  • Virus − a program that spreads throughout the system, infecting files with malicious code.
  • Trojan − a program disguised as certified software. Criminals trick users into downloading Trojan files to their computers to damage or obtain information.
  • Spyware is a program that secretly monitors all user activities. Spyware often uses for cyber-attacks on banking systems.

Man-In-The-Middle attack

One of the most common cyber-attacks is the Man-In-The-Middle attack.

The name of this cyber-attack should take literally. The attacker interferes in the conversations of two people and looks for information of interest to him.

Imagine a situation: you are texting with your friend in a chat and do not even suspect that a mysterious stranger follows your correspondence. The curious thing is that you won't even notice this person's presence in your chat! Typically, a cyber-attack begins with listening to a communication channel. An attacker then interferes with the transmission protocol and gains access to your messages. A fraudster can obtain information from your correspondence, delete or modify them.

Creepy... However, this is one of the most common methods of hacking and data theft.

DDoS attack

Another well-known attack is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS attack). Another well-known attack is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

Hackers often use this type of cyber-attack to carry out their nefarious deeds. The thing is that a DDoS attack allows you to disable almost any poorly implemented system, leaving no evidence.

How is this possible? Fraudsters block the system by submitting a large number of requests that exceed the network bandwidth. As a result, users cannot access the resources (servers) of the system.

DDoS attacks can be carried out for several reasons:

  • Political protests. The most famous DDoS attacks for political reasons were protests in support of the Monument to the Soldier - Liberator in Estonia (2007), the conflict in South Ossetia (2008), WikiLeaks (2011), and EX.UA (2012).
  • Unfair competition
  • Extortion or blackmail
  • For fun. Today, the topic of DDoS is on everyone's lips, so young hackers want to try their hand, not thinking about the feelings and interests of those people whom they harm.
  • Personal animosity. One of the most egregious hate DDoS attacks is an attack on FBI websites that have been blocked for weeks. The motive was the FBI raid against the hackers.

SQL injection threat

Another common cyber threat is SQL injection. There is the way databases are most hacked. Hacking databases is dangerous because an attacker immediately gains access to the personal data of several users.

This cyber-attack calls injection because it resembles the injection of a drug into the human body. However, the essence of SQL injections is still different from medical procedures. The fraudster injects himself into data (transmitted via GET, POST requests, or Cookie values) of arbitrary SQL code (database code). If the site is vulnerable and performs such injections, it is possible to do anything with the database.

Phishing

And finally, I could not help but mention phishing - a method of obtaining confidential information fraudulently. Fraudsters can send fake messages on behalf of a bank or other official organizations to deceive over-trusting users and take over their bank accounts or other data. You may not even guess that you opened a phishing link because hackers have learned to make links so believable that only one character can distinguish them from the original.

Important: bank employees will never ask for your password and CVV code in SMS!

Of course, in addition to the methods we have listed, there are many alternative ones. Progress does not stand still, and every day in the world there, are more and more ways to obtain information by fraudulent means.

At the moment, we have disappointing statistics: every year, the number of cyber-attacks is growing exponentially.

The Governments of Great Britain, Australia, the United States, and other countries annually allocate multimillion-dollar financial to ensure the functioning of information security systems.


How to protect yourself on the Internet

It doesn't matter who you are: an ordinary Internet user or the head of a large company − it is your responsibility to take care of digital security.

I have prepared a few simple recommendations to help keep your data online and not give a fraudster a single chance to get hold of your confidential information:

  • Update software and operating system
  • Check your system files regularly for viruses and threats
  • Come up with a strong password and write it down in your copybook. Never store your passwords on your computer or phone! Otherwise, having hacked your computer, the fraudster will receive all your passwords from websites, email accounts, and social networks as a bonus
  • Don’t click on suspicious links and do not open letters from unknown senders
  • Use only home or secured Wi-Fi networks. We do not recommend connecting to public Wi-Fi in shopping malls, sports clubs, or other public areas. By connects to a public network, you become vulnerable to cyber-attacks, as it is not difficult for an experienced black hat to hack a public network
  • Change passwords for all social networks once a year
  • Don't share your passwords with your family. An attacker can use social engineering skills and talk to your family to find the secret password for accessing social networks
  • Do not tell anyone the CVV code of your bank cards
  • If you suspect that your data may take over by third parties, contact your Internet service provider or the cyber police for help
  • Never send money to your online friends and interlocutors. Often, scammers write a touching medical history by extorting money. Do not react to manipulation and provocation
  • To work on the Internet, use the Tor browser − it is anonymous and secure

These simple guidelines will help save your data, money, and nerves.


Conclusion

We all dream of an ideal world without war and disease. We want all people to live happily and be healthy. But, unfortunately, we are still far from a perfect society. As long as there are viruses and criminals, our lives are in one way or another under threat.

While medicine is looking for ways to treat dangerous diseases, cybersecurity is taking care of our anonymity on the Internet. In this article, we found that more than 250 cyber-attacks occur in the world every second, so the work of information security specialists is valuable!

As long as there is at least one evil genius in the world who wants to take possession of other people's data, the world is in danger.

I would like to believe that good will triumph over evil. In the future, the number of information attacks will significantly decrease.

I was delighted to invite you to the world of cybersecurity and introduce you to the activities of cyber defenders. We have to get used to the fact that protecting our online safety is a daily responsibility, as important as taking vitamins or walking the dog. I have compiled a list of recommendations that will help protect your data and prevent hackers from taking over your privacy.

There are still many exciting topics for discussion ahead! I am looking forward to our next meeting to discuss the latest news and trends in the IT industry.

Stay safe!

Tags: 
Threats
Author
Darina Shramko
Cybersecurity specialist and researcher.

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