What is Cybersecurity?

In short, cybersecurity is the systems and processes put into place to keep digital content, particularly sensitive personal information, secure and safe from cyber attacks and malicious threats.

We’re living in an era of technology, and everyone needs to know a little about how to keep themselves digitally secure. Whether you want to become an expert in cybersecurity, or just want to ensure your personal information is safe, start by learning the basics. Here’s what you need to know:

Why it’s Important

Security professionals need advanced knowledge about how to keep digital systems of all kinds safe, but learning about cybersecurity is not just for experts. Anyone who uses the internet, on any device, should know how to protect themselves and their information, in order to prevent hacks, data theft and viruses. 

Cybersecurity Basics

Cybersecurity is a collection of practices and tools a user applies to protect their networks, computers and other devices from those who want to steal their data or disrupt the functioning of the device. It also focuses on recovering computers and networks after attacks. Most digital threats can be prevented, and so prevention is the main focus of cybersecurity.

Here are some examples of prevention practices and tools used in cybersecurity:

  • Firewall and antivirus. A firewall is the first line of defense for any computer or network. An antivirus may repair your device and eliminate any threats that prevent optimal functioning.

  • Passwords. Starting from the basic username and password combos, up to two factor authentication, secure password protocols are a simple way to protect your device.

  • Flawless code. Cybersecurity starts with using bulletproof software that prevents any glitches or weak areas.

Common Cyber Threats

All digital threats can be divided into the following categories:

  • Confidentiality attacks. When someone steals your personal or financial information, this is a confidentiality attack. In many cases, the attackers will then try to sell this information.

  • Integrity attack. Integrity deals with keeping data from being altered by unauthorized persons. For example, an integrity attack would be a hacker changing the bank account information where your paycheck is automatically deposited.

  • Availability attack. In this case, the attacker prevents you from accessing your information completely, or until you pay a ransom.

Here are the most frequent types of attacks that happen on the internet:

  • Phishing. A form of the so-called “social engineering” threat where hackers use psychological skills to force users to give away their financial or other sensitive information.

  • Malware. Malware (malicious software) is used to damage your computer or gain access to it.

  • Pharming. This type of online fraud uses a false website (advertised as a legitimate one) to scam you for money or financial information.

How to Protect Yourself from Cyber Threats

Here are some tips that you can use to protect yourself from online attacks:

  • Never open suspicious files, especially attachments you get from an unknown sender via email.

  • Always update your software and hardware. The latest versions will contain important security fixes.

  • Back up important files. Even if a virus damages the operating system of your computer, you will still keep vital data as long as you have a backup.

If you want to gain extensive knowledge about cybersecurity, consider earning a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.