What Exactly is Cyber Security?
The word “Cybersecurity” has been all over the place, but here’s what it really is.
by Faaiz Ansari, Oct. 13, 2021 1 p.m. CST
You’ve surely heard all the rave about Cyber Security…
“It pays so well!”
“The demand is amazing right now.”
“Entry-level salaries are so much better than other tech positions.”
You’re ready to learn, study, and break your way into the field, but wait…what even is Cyber Security?! Many people know about the concept/idea of practicing safety online, but they may not realize just how deep and vast this ocean really is. Let’s get right into this can of worms:
If you’re looking for a textbook definition, here you go: Cyber Security is the process of safeguarding systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. What types of attacks? Cyber-attacks are typically carried out with the goal of retrieving, altering, or terminating valuable information, forcing cash out of users, or disrupting standard business procedures. The tricky part about Cyber Security is that it’s not exactly the simplest thing to implement and carry out, especially in today’s world. Attackers are becoming more and more sophisticated, and the number of devices that are out there exceed the number of people.
You might be surprised to know that you probably get hit with cyber threats on a daily (yes, DAILY) basis.
Here are some of the most common ways that you’ll see cyber criminals trying to do their dirty work:
- Phishing emails
This is probably the most common method that criminals try using. You probably get hit with ten or more of these on a weekly basis. The goal of these emails is normally to obtain credit card and log-in information. These emails are of course fraudulent, but the sender will try to make it appear that it’s coming from a reputable source.
This is a type of malicious software. The intent behind this is to extort money out of the recipient, using blackmail. Typically, what will happen is that the ransomware will block access to certain files or hold the entire computer system hostage. The scary part about ransomware is that paying the ransom does not guarantee that filed will be recovered or the system restored. In essence, you’re literally at the mercy of the one holding you hostage.
This is another one that you’ve probably heard of. Malware is a type of program that is designed to gain unwarranted access or to harm a computer.
- Social Engineering
This is a strategy that criminals deploy in order to trick you into revealing confidential information. Many times, criminals will aim to solicit some form of monetary payment or acquire access to your private data. Additionally, this method can actually be combined with any of the above methods in an effort to con you into clicking on links, downloading malware, or trusting a malicious source.
Over time, we’ve come to learn a lot of valuable knowledge about this industry. It’s important that we explore some of the common misconceptions people have pertaining to the field. Here are just a few:
- The dirty work is performed by outsiders
While outside hackers certainly can be common culprits, you’d be surprised to know that insiders with wicked intent are, often times, the ones to blame. These insiders may either be working for themselves, or in unison with outside folks.
- Potential risks are widely recognized
While it is true that the average person can fairly easily pinpoint poorly written phishing emails and smell the stench of a scam phone call, this doesn’t mean that hacking attempts are always so apparent. On the contrary, hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their efforts to steal information and money. Add to this the element of human negligence, and what you find is that it can be difficult to constantly remain on guard.
- Some industries are bulletproof
This is exactly what criminals will want you to think, but it’s this type of mentality that can get you into trouble. Pretty much every industry has its own set of risks, and the type of risk can vary, accordingly.
This should provide you with a solid, high-level overview of the cyber threat world. While the above lists are, by no means, exhaustive, they should give you some insight into the dark side of the internet.
So, where do Cyber Security professionals enter the picture? Well, their job is to protect against everything we just mentioned, and so much more. They will also be a company’s first line of attack, in the event that a criminal is able to execute a successful breach.
Interested in learning more about the field? Feel free to check out our Cyber Security course. You’ll get to learn from top notch industry professionals who live and breathe this stuff. You’ll also get hands-on mentoring/guidance from us, as we’ll do everything in our power to help you transition into a new career. Whether it’s resume building, LinkedIn profile optimization, technical interview preparation, or actual job searching, we’ve got you covered! Learn more, right here.