The Importance Of Cybersecurity

What is Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity or Computer Security, according to the Wikipedia "is the protection of computer systems and networks from the theft of or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide". This can mean anything from the protection of one's data, to the safeguard of the actual server room. Both equally important things today. With our lives becoming more and more intertwined with the digital world, matters of privacy, security and the safeguarding of our private data as well as the facilities that store said data is extremely important. Today we will discuss why it is important as well as point out a few stories related to the subject and finally we will discuss a few recent victories over the constant war for our data. So, lets get to it!

Cybersecurity and You

Many of us work, use or entertain ourselves with the use of computers and the internet. Our e-mails, social media accounts or video game profiles are things that we off course will try to safeguard and rely on the service providers to ensure that they remain safe from prying hands. Why? Well, lets start from the basic human right of privacy. In an article by TeachPrivacy, listing reasons why privacy matters, it explains a few things that might not seem as obvious when it comes to internet security.

Information is power, and anyone that has your information, can have power over you. Keeping your private life private, managing your reputation, or just simply having the freedom to express your opinion among peers, the right of privacy is fundamental, and should be protected. On the internet however cybersecurity is very important on a personal level as it ensures that all of the above are safeguarded. From our personal profiles, our comments and our pictures, to our passwords, personal information, emails and bank account information.

That said,  we all must be aware of how we can do our part to ensure that our data remains private. As a matter of fact, Cybersecurity.edu in their post or more accurately page, offer a list of comprehensive things you can do to increase your own security and links to find out more.

Things that may seem simple and unimportant like keeping track of your passwords, being aware of how to properly wipe a device before disposing of it, or even keeping track of your apps may help increase your personal safety.  At the end of the day, your personal data is -YOUR- personal data, and despite the best efforts of a company, a great deal of your security depends on your actions.

"Average, everyday consumers experience phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, identity theft, data breaches, and financial losses. For instance, it takes just five minutes to hack an internet-connected device, which includes your smartphone, smartwatch, on-board automobile computer, smart television, and home control systems, according to a Netscout report." an article by simplilearn quotes and I cannot agree more.

Thankfully there are many ways in which you can increase your security, and the same article by Simplylearn also comes with a few tips as well.

Ultimately, it is in our best interests to make sure that: we practice "good password" selection, we keep our wi-fi secure, avoid suspicious e-mails and/or texts, use firewalls and encryption, practice good gps/bluetooth usage and of course, get educated in the basic elements of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity And Business

Having a company is never easy. With the many financial risks at play, cyber security is now a more important issue than ever. From a florist to a mega-corporation any company that has any online presence should put cyber security in the top list of their priorities. Whether it's credit card information, company information or even projects you might be working with. "Fundamentally, our society is more technologically reliant than ever before and there is no sign that this trend will slow. Personal data that could result in identity theft is now posted to the public on our social media accounts. Sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card information and bank account details are now stored in cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive." UpGuard mentions in their article on the matter, and they are right.

And with "Information theft being the most expensive and fastest growing segment of cybercrime. Largely driven by the increasing exposure of identity information to the web via cloud services. But it is not the only target. Industrial controls that manage power grids and other infrastructure can be disrupted or destroyed." it stands to no reason why a company should not invest in cyber security.

Furthermore the ECT, in their post reports that "Businesses can incur huge fines for failing to protect and handle data effectively. The PCI Security Standards Council are now urging all businesses to ensure they meet the requirements necessary to keep their data secure, especially since there will now be new charges and fines under EU Data Protection Laws. These new laws could see businesses immediately bankrupted by up to £122 Billion in fines".

Economic damages aside, lets not forget what damage this can cause to your brand. Clients and customers alike are expecting the same safety in their privacy and personal data one would expect when walking in a store, after all you would expect a store to take the necessary precautions to ensure you are not robbed of your pants when there.

In a similar manner, when someone entrusts you with their data, it is your (quite legal) responsibility that data is secure and not available to any ill intended person out there.
Finally, the legal ramifications of failing to secure your company, whether it's via a data breach exposing client personal information, or corporate data breach threatening any NDA your company might have, are just too expensive and damaging to ignore.

How Do Those Two Connect

Well, despite its marketing pitch, this article by cloudmask actually gives a pretty good summation as to why cybersecurity is important.

If we sum up what we discussed, cyber security affects both the private and corporate sector equally. Lets take a look at the list provided by Cybintsolution's article we can see that all the items on the list apply to both parties.

  • Financial Loss? Identity theft and personal data may be used to cause major financial loss to both a person and a company.
  • Reputational Damage? Though this might seem initially an issue mostly concerning businesses, identity theft may used in more ways than just financial. Using your likeness to commit acts that could damage one's reputation or criminal record.
  • Operational Disruption? Even the most "harmless" of attacks may shut down your systems which will cause issues both for your personal life, as a shut down device is a shut down device, or a company, for the same reasons

Add to the above the legal ramifications of what the above may result and well...there you have it.

Final Thoughts

Despite talking about the more serious aspects of a data breach or a cyber attack, I do believe that cyber security is a major issue and we all should exercise caution. Even a "light" attack may cause, at the very least a major inconvenience by frying your pc with a virus. Considering how protecting yourself against the majority of attacks can be achieved by simply being careful, I do think its best to keep informed.

As far as companies are concerned? I think cyber security should never be under estimated and remain in the top priorities. In the end of the day, this will prevent a major hassle well worth it in the long run.

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