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Guides

What is Cyber Security?

Published: October 24, 2023
Updated: January 18, 2024

Quick Answer: What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security involves protecting an individual's or business's digital systems, networks, and data from unauthorised access, attacks, and damage. It focuses on safeguarding sensitive information, maintaining privacy, and ensuring the smooth operation of technology. By implementing robust cyber security measures, you ensure the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of your digital assets, reducing the risks posed by cyber threats and potential financial and reputational harm.

Why is Cyber Security Important? 

Costs and Expense

Neglecting cyber security incurs significant costs. Data breaches can expose sensitive information, leading to legal penalties, fines, and reputation damage. Downtime due to attacks disrupts operations, impacting revenue.

Recovery expenses, such as forensic investigations and system repairs, are substantial. Stolen data might be exploited, resulting in financial losses for customers. Moreover, a damaged reputation can lead to customer loss.

The Scale of Cyber Crime 

In our breaches insight, detailing the key findings of the 2023 Cyber Security Breaches Survey conducted by the Department for Science, Innovation And Technology, we noted that a staggering 2.39 million instances of cybercrime were committed in the last 12 months, and 49,000 instances of fraud were committed as a result of said cybercrime.  
Graph of business who experience cyber crime

Sophisticated Attacks 

Cyber attacks have evolved into highly sophisticated endeavours, attackers now employ advanced techniques, leveraging artificial intelligence, automation, and complex encryption. Targeted attacks, like spear phishing, personalise messages to deceive users. Malware is polymorphic, changing its code to evade detection.  

Regulations

Boards recognise their fiduciary duty to manage and protect shareholder interests. They set the tone for an organisation’s security posture, allocate resources, and oversee risk management strategies.

As cyber threats evolve, board-level involvement ensures strategic alignment, effective risk mitigation, and resilient response planning, safeguarding the company’s continuity and stakeholders’ trust. 

The complexity of business environments 

Organisations operate across diverse technologies, devices, and networks, often in cloud environments. This complexity widens the attack surface, offering more entry points for cybercriminals. Integration of third-party services and supply chain dependencies also heightens risks.

Effective cyber security requires understanding this intricate landscape, implementing layered defences, continuous monitoring, and proactive risk management to navigate and protect against evolving threats effectively. 

Increase in Endpoints 

With the surge in devices like computers, smartphones, and Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets, the attack surface has expanded dramatically. Each endpoint represents a potential entry point for cyber threats.

Managing and securing a vast array of devices becomes challenging, requiring consistent updates, patches, and security protocols. This heightened complexity demands robust endpoint protection measures, proactive monitoring, and rapid incident response to effectively counter the increased opportunities for cyber attacks.

Increase in remote working

The rise in remote work has transformed cyber security dynamics. As employees connect from diverse locations, the conventional security boundaries have blurred, increasing the likelihood for data breaches and phishing.

To counter these risks, robust measures are essential, such as secure remote access, strong authentication, and data encryption in conjunction with comprehensive employee training on cyber security best practices. This multifaceted approach mitigates the amplified threat landscape accompanying remote work, ensuring data protection and operational integrity. 

Who needs cyber security? 

Consumers and the public 

Cyber security knowledge is crucial for individuals and the public, due to widespread digital engagement. Cyber security empowers personal data protection, fraud prevention, and informed online decisions.

Awareness of secure passwords, spotting scams, and device protection is key, as informed individuals foster a safer online space, promoting responsible digital behaviour and reducing susceptibility to cyber-attacks and data breaches. 

Organisations and Businesses 

Without strong defences, organisations risk data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. Prioritising cyber security safeguards sensitive information, maintains operations, and preserves customer trust.

Regulatory requirements demand robust cyber security, and the interconnectedness of modern business amplifies the current risks faced by organisations.

By making cyber security a priority, organisations ensure resilience against evolving threats, fostering a secure environment for their business and stakeholders in an increasingly digital world. 

What are Cyber threats? and where do they come from? 

Cyber Crime 

Cybercrime refers to illegal activities conducted through digital means. It encompasses hacking, identity theft, phishing, ransomware, and more.

Criminals exploit vulnerabilities in computers, networks, and systems to steal data, money, or cause damage. These actions jeopardise personal privacy, financial security, and organisational integrity.

The rapid growth of technology has expanded the scope and sophistication of cybercrime, making it a major global concern
Cyber Crime

Cyber Attacks 

A cyber attack is a deliberate and malicious act that exploits weaknesses in digital systems, networks, or devices. They target individuals, organisations, and even nations, leading to financial losses, data breaches, and reputational harm.

Effective defence involves strong cyber security measures, constant updates, and vigilant monitoring to detect and counter potential threats, ensuring the security of digital environments.
 

Cyber Terrorism

Cyber terrorism employs computer-based tactics to induce fear, chaos, or disruption for ideological or political goals. It encompasses attacks on critical systems, financial networks, and data to cause substantial harm. Motivated by extremist beliefs or political agendas, it aims to spread propaganda or create economic instability.

Effective prevention involves strong cyber security measures, global collaboration, and intelligence-sharing to counter potential attacks and ensure digital security on an international scale. 

Types of Cyber Security Threats

Phishing

Phishing is a form of social engineering, where attackers impersonate legitimate entities, often through emails, websites, or messages.

The goal is to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information like passwords, credit card details, or personal data.

Phishing messages appear authentic, urging recipients to click on malicious links or provide confidential information. 

Malware

Malware, short for malicious software, is harmful software that infiltrates devices, networks, and systems. It includes viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware. Malware steals data, disrupts operations, or controls devices remotely. It spreads through infected files, links, or downloads.

Effective cyber security measures like updates, antivirus software, and cautious online behaviour are crucial to prevent infections and safeguard digital assets. 

Types of Malware

Below we delve into the various types of malware and their specific characteristics and impacts.
Ransomware
Ransomware is malicious software that locks files or systems via encryption. Attackers demand payment (often in cryptocurrency) for a decryption key to restore access.

Targets include individuals, businesses, and government agencies, causing financial losses and operational disruptions.
Trojans
Named after the ancient Greek myth of the Trojan Horse, Trojans trick users into installing them, often disguising as legitimate applications or files.

Once inside a system, Trojans can steal data, enable remote control, or open backdoors for other threats. 
Adware
Adware is software that displays unwanted advertisements on a user’s device. It often comes bundled with free software or apps and generates revenue for its creators by showing ads.

While not as harmful as malware, excessive adware can slow down devices, disrupt user experiences, and compromise privacy by tracking online behaviour. 
Virus
A computer virus is malicious software that spreads by attaching to files and programs. It can replicate and infect other computers when shared.

Viruses corrupt data, damage software, and slow down systems.

They spread through email, downloads, and infected websites. 
Spyware
Spyware is malicious software that covertly collects information from a user’s device. It tracks online actions, captures sensitive data, and monitors keystrokes without consent.

Disguised within innocent downloads, spyware poses privacy threats and identity theft risks. 
Botnets 
Botnets are networks of infected computers controlled remotely by an attacker.

These compromised machines, known as “bots” or “zombies,” execute various malicious tasks like DDoS attacks, malware distribution, spam emails, and phishing.

Coordinated and hard to trace, botnets pose a significant cyber security threat. 

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a manipulative tactic that exploits human psychology to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information, performing actions, or providing access to secure systems.

Attackers use psychological tricks and manipulation, often posing as trustworthy sources or using urgency, to exploit human emotions and gain unauthorised access.

Backdoors

Backdoors are hidden entry points intentionally created in software, systems, or networks to provide unauthorised access. They are often exploited by malicious actors to bypass security measures and gain control over a device or system.

Backdoors can be inserted during development or through vulnerabilities in software updates. While sometimes used for legitimate purposes, backdoors can be abused for malicious activities, such as espionage, data theft, and unauthorised control. 

Formjacking

Formjacking is a cyber attack in which attackers inject malicious code into online forms, typically on e-commerce websites, to steal sensitive information entered by users. This can include credit card details, personal information, and login credentials.

The malicious code captures the input data and sends it to the attacker’s server, enabling them to commit identity theft or financial fraud. 

Insider Threats 

Insider threats are the risks posed to an organisation’s security by individuals such as employees, contractors, or business partners, who have access to sensitive data and systems. These individuals might intentionally or unintentionally misuse their access privileges to steal information, cause damage, or compromise security.

Insider threats can be malicious, involving deliberate actions like data theft, or unintentional, such as accidental data exposure. 

Advanced Persistent Threats 

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are sophisticated and prolonged cyber attacks conducted by well-funded and organised threat actors. These attackers target specific organisations or individuals, often using a combination of techniques like malware, social engineering, and zero-day vulnerabilities.

APTs aim to infiltrate networks, steal sensitive data, and maintain access over an extended period to achieve their objectives without detection. 

Man in the Middle Attacks 

Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks occur when an attacker intercepts and potentially alters communication between two parties without their knowledge.

The attacker positions themselves between the sender and receiver, capturing or manipulating the data exchanged. This can happen in various scenarios, like unsecured Wi-Fi networks or compromised devices. 

SQL Injections

SQL injection is a cyber attack in which malicious code is inserted into input fields of a web application that interacts with a database using Structured Query Language (SQL).

If the application’s security is weak, the attacker can manipulate the code to execute unintended SQL commands, potentially gaining unauthorised access to the database, and stealing or manipulating data. 

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a cyber-attack where attackers secretly hijack a victim’s computer or device to mine cryptocurrencies without their consent. This is done by injecting malicious code into websites, software, or online ads. As the victim’s device performs the crypto mining process, the attacker gains cryptocurrency rewards.

Cryptojacking slows down devices, increases energy consumption, and compromises performance. 

DDos and Dos Attacks

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, while DoS stands for just Denial of Service. Both are cyber attacks aiming to overwhelm a target’s resources to render it inaccessible.
 
In a DoS attack, a single source floods a system with traffic, making it unable to respond to legitimate requests. In a DDoS attack, multiple compromised devices form a “botnet” to flood the target, DDoS attacks are harder to mitigate due to distributed sources.

DNS poisoning attacks

DNS poisoning attacks, also known as DNS spoofing, involve manipulating the Domain Name System (DNS) to redirect users to malicious websites.

Attackers alter the DNS records of a domain to associate it with a different IP address, leading users to unintended destinations. This can result in data theft, phishing, and malware distribution.

Preventing DNS poisoning requires using secure DNS protocols, enabling DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions), and regularly monitoring DNS records for unauthorised changes to maintain accurate and secure domain resolution.

Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks involve exploiting vulnerabilities in an organisation’s third-party partners or suppliers to compromise their software, hardware, or services. Attackers target these weaker points to infiltrate the main target, often aiming to spread malware, gain unauthorised access, or steal sensitive data.

Supply chain attacks can have far-reaching consequences, affecting numerous entities connected to the compromised supply chain.

Vulnerability Exploits

Vulnerability exploits are cyber attacks that take advantage of weaknesses or “vulnerabilities” in software, hardware, or systems. Attackers identify these vulnerabilities, often through security research or reverse engineering, and create malicious code to exploit them. Once successful, exploits can enable unauthorised access, data breaches, or the execution of malicious commands.

Physical Security Attacks

Physical security attacks involve exploiting physical weaknesses to gain unauthorised access, steal assets, or disrupt operations. These attacks include theft, unauthorised entry, vandalism, and tampering with equipment. Attackers may use social engineering, lock-picking, or even insider collusion.

TailGating

Tailgating, also known as piggybacking, is a physical security breach where an unauthorised person follows an authorised individual into a secured area. By blending in with legitimate personnel, the unauthorised person gains access without proper authorisation.

What are the challenges of Cyber security?

Critical Infrastructure Security

Critical Infrastructure Security involves protecting essential systems that underpin a country’s functionality, such as energy, transportation, water, and healthcare. Cyber threats to these systems can lead to severe disruptions, economic impact, and even endanger lives.

Attackers target vulnerabilities in control systems, aiming to disrupt operations or cause cascading failures. Ensuring Critical Infrastructure Security requires a multi-layered approach, combining robust cyber security measures, continuous monitoring, threat intelligence sharing, and collaboration between government agencies, industries, and cyber security experts to safeguard these vital systems from cyber threats.

Network Security

Network Security encompasses safeguarding the communication pathways and data flow within computer networks. The challenge lies in protecting against a wide range of cyber threats, such as malware, unauthorised access, and data breaches, that exploit vulnerabilities in network infrastructure and devices.
Effective Network Security involves deploying firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, encryption protocols, and regular updates. Also, network segmentation, access controls, and user training are vital to mitigate risks and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data transmitted across interconnected systems.

Cloud Security

Cloud Security focuses on protecting data, applications, and services hosted in cloud environments. The challenge stems from shared responsibility between cloud service providers and users. Misconfigurations, inadequate access controls, and improper data handling can expose sensitive information to breaches.

Ensuring Cloud Security involves assessing provider security measures, adhering to encryption practices, implementing strong access controls, and regularly monitoring for vulnerabilities. Organisations must strike a balance between convenience and security, adopting best practices to safeguard data and maintain the integrity of their cloud-based resources.

IoT Security

IoT (Internet of Things) Security addresses the vulnerabilities associated with interconnected devices that communicate and share data over the internet. The challenge arises from the vast number of devices with varying levels of security, often lacking updates and patches. Attackers exploit these weaknesses to gain unauthorised access, launch botnets, or steal sensitive information.

To tackle IoT Security, organisations must prioritise built-in security features, users should change default passwords, and network segregation should be implemented. Regular updates, firmware patches, and network monitoring are crucial to mitigate IoT-related risks and protect privacy and data integrity.
Internet of Things Diagram

Application Security

Application Security pertains to safeguarding software applications from vulnerabilities and cyber threats. The challenge lies in ensuring that applications are designed, developed, and tested with security in mind. Flaws in code, inadequate input validation, and improper authentication mechanisms can lead to breaches. Addressing

Application Security involves adopting secure coding practices, using automated testing tools, and conducting regular security assessments. Continuous monitoring and patching of applications are essential to mitigate risks and prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access, steal data, or disrupt services.

Information Security

Information Security focuses on safeguarding sensitive data from unauthorised access, disclosure, or alteration. The challenge involves the vast amount of data generated and shared daily across digital platforms. Breaches can lead to financial losses, reputational damage, and legal consequences.

Overcoming Information Security challenges requires implementing encryption, access controls, and user authentication. Regular security audits, employee training, and data classification are crucial to ensure that sensitive information is properly protected and that cyber security measures align with industry regulations and best practices.

Operational Security

Operational Security, also known as OpSec, revolves around protecting sensitive information related to an organisation’s activities and processes. The challenge arises from potential leaks or unintentional disclosures that can be exploited by threat actors.

Maintaining Operational Security requires a balance between sharing necessary information for efficient operations and safeguarding critical details. This involves establishing clear policies, restricting access based on roles, and educating employees about the importance of discretion. By addressing this challenge, organisations can prevent adversaries from gathering information that could be used against them in cyber attacks.

End-user Education

End-user Education is a significant cyber security challenge involving the awareness and preparedness of individuals using digital systems. Many cyber threats target human vulnerabilities through tactics like phishing, social engineering, and malware downloads. The challenge is to educate users about these risks and teach them how to identify and respond to potential threats.

Implementing effective End-user Education includes regular training sessions, simulated phishing exercises, and clear communication about cyber security best practices. By empowering users with knowledge, organisations can enhance their overall security posture and reduce the likelihood of successful cyber attacks.

Endpoint Security

Endpoint Security centres on protecting individual devices like computers, smartphones, and IoT gadgets from cyber threats. The challenge arises from the diverse range of devices and potential vulnerabilities they possess. Attackers exploit these weaknesses to gain access, spread malware, or steal data.

Overcoming the Endpoint Security challenge involves deploying antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, and regular updates to devices. Additionally, employing measures like patch management, encryption, and multi-factor authentication enhances defence against evolving cyber threats and ensures the security of endpoints within a network.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery is about ensuring business continuity after cyber incidents or other disruptions. The challenge involves swiftly recovering data, systems, and operations while minimising downtime and data loss.

Cyber attacks like ransomware can cripple organisations, demanding prompt recovery. Meeting the Disaster Recovery challenge necessitates creating robust recovery plans, regular data backups, and testing the procedures. Establishing off-site backups, redundancies, and clear communication strategies are crucial. By addressing this challenge, organisations can swiftly bounce back from cyber incidents and maintain their operations even in the face of adversity.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity refers to maintaining essential operations during and after cyber incidents. The challenge involves ensuring minimal disruption to critical functions, even in the face of cyber attacks or other disruptions. Cyber threats can halt operations, causing financial losses and reputation damage.

Overcoming the Business Continuity challenge requires developing comprehensive plans, identifying vital processes, and establishing backup systems. Regular drills, communication protocols, and coordination across departments are essential to ensure that an organisation can continue functioning despite cyber-related challenges and maintain its reputation and financial stability.

Storage Security

Storage Security focuses on safeguarding data stored in various forms, such as databases, cloud storage, and physical devices. The challenge stems from the potential exposure of sensitive information due to improper access controls, vulnerabilities in storage systems, or unauthorised access.

Overcoming the Storage Security challenge involves implementing strong encryption, access controls, and auditing mechanisms to protect data at rest and in transit. Regular security assessments, proper configuration, and monitoring of storage infrastructure are vital to prevent data breaches and ensure data integrity and confidentiality.

Mobile Security

Mobile Security involves protecting smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices from cyber threats. The challenge lies in the diverse range of devices, their connectivity, and the potential for data leakage or unauthorised access.

Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in mobile apps, weak authentication, and unsecured networks. Addressing the Mobile Security challenge requires implementing strong passwords, enabling biometric authentication, and using encrypted connections. Regular updates, app reviews, and user education are essential to mitigate risks and prevent data breaches, malware infections, and unauthorised access to sensitive information.
Business peoples mobile phones being hacked

Data Security

Data Security centres on safeguarding sensitive information from unauthorised access, breaches, or theft. The challenge emerges from the sheer volume of data generated and shared across digital platforms, increasing the potential attack surface. Breaches can lead to financial losses, reputational damage, and regulatory penalties.

Overcoming the Data Security challenge requires implementing encryption, access controls, and monitoring mechanisms. Comprehensive data classification, regular security assessments, and compliance with privacy regulations are essential to maintain data integrity, confidentiality, and resilience against evolving cyber threats.

Identity Management

Identity Management involves ensuring proper authentication and authorisation of users across digital systems. The challenge arises from the complexities of verifying identities and managing access for employees, partners, and customers. Unauthorised access can lead to data breaches or system compromise.

Addressing the Identity Management challenge requires implementing multi-factor authentication, role-based access controls, and robust user identity verification processes. Regular audits, timely revocation of access, and user education are essential to prevent unauthorised access, protect sensitive data, and maintain a secure digital environment.

The Key Cyber security technologies and best practices

IAM

IAM stands for Identity and Access Management. It refers to a framework of policies, processes, and technologies that help organisations manage and control user identities and their access to systems, applications, and data.

IAM ensures that the right individuals have the appropriate level of access while preventing unauthorised access. This involves authentication (verifying users’ identities), authorisation (defining what users can access), and administration (managing user accounts and permissions).

SIEM

SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management. It’s a technology solution that combines Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM) to provide comprehensive cyber security insights.

SIEM tools collect and analyse data from various sources, such as network logs, system logs, and security devices, to identify and respond to security incidents. By correlating events and detecting patterns, SIEM helps organisations proactively detect threats, monitor activities, and manage security events. It plays a crucial role in enhancing cyber security by providing real-time visibility into potential risks and aiding incident response efforts.

Zero Trust

Zero Trust is a cyber security approach based on the principle of not trusting anything within or outside an organisation’s network by default. It assumes that threats could be both internal and external.

In a Zero Trust model, access controls are strictly enforced regardless of the user’s location or the network they’re on. This involves verifying user identities, monitoring their activities, and applying the least privilege principle—granting users only the necessary access.

Zero Trust helps mitigate the risks of data breaches and insider threats by minimising the attack surface and enhancing overall security posture.

Cyber security courses and training

Cyber security courses and training programs offer education on various aspects of cyber security to individuals looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in protecting digital systems, networks, and data from cyber threats. These courses cover topics like network security, ethical hacking, risk management, cryptography, incident response, and other specialised areas.

Training can be found in various formats, including online courses, workshops, and certifications (like CREST, CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), etc.).

Cyber Security Checklist

1

End-user protection and education

End-user protection and education are crucial in maintaining strong cyber security within an organisation. Many cyber threats target individuals through tactics like phishing, social engineering, and malware downloads.

Educating end users about these risks and training them to recognise and respond to potential threats is essential. When end users are well-informed, they can avoid falling victim to cyber-attacks, prevent unauthorised access, and protect sensitive data.
2

Application security

Application security ensures that applications are designed, developed, and maintained with security in mind, it is vital for safeguarding data, reputation, and operations. It prevents vulnerabilities, protects sensitive data, maintains business reputation, ensures compliance, avoids financial losses, and addresses evolving threats. Robust application security is essential for maintaining customer trust, preventing breaches, and ensuring operational continuity.
3

Network security

Network security refers to the practices and measures put in place to protect computer networks and their components from unauthorised access, cyber-attacks, and data breaches. Network security is vital for ensuring data privacy, business continuity, regulatory adherence, trust, and overall organisational resilience against cyber threats.
4

Leadership commitment

Leadership commitment is vital for effective cyber security. It shapes the organisational culture, prioritises security, and models behaviour. Committed leaders allocate resources, enforce policies, and prepare for crises. Their influence reduces risks, ensures compliance, builds trust, and fosters a security-conscious environment throughout the organisation.
5

Password Management

Password management is essential for data protection, preventing unauthorised access, personal and business security, blocking credential attacks, and complying with regulations. It mitigates breaches, deters identity theft, secures remote access, and nurtures a cyber security-conscious culture. In short, it safeguards information and strengthens overall security.

Cyber Security vs Information Security

Cyber security and Information Security both focus on protecting digital assets, but they have distinct scopes:
 
Cyber security: Primarily addresses digital threats and attacks occurring in the cyberspace, involving internet-connected systems, networks, and devices. It includes safeguarding against cyber attacks, data breaches, malware, and online threats.
 
Information Security: Encompasses a broader view, safeguarding all forms of sensitive information, whether digital or physical. It covers data in various states, including storage, transmission, and processing, both online and offline.
 
While Cyber security focuses on digital threats and the online realm, Information Security considers all aspects of data protection, encompassing both digital and physical forms.

The legal requirements of cyber security

Mobile Security involves protecting smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices from cyber threats. The challenge lies in the diverse range of devices, their connectivity, and the potential for data leakage or unauthorised access.

Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in mobile apps, weak authentication, and unsecured networks. Addressing the Mobile Security challenge requires implementing strong passwords, enabling biometric authentication, and using encrypted connections. Regular updates, app reviews, and user education are essential to mitigate risks and prevent data breaches, malware infections, and unauthorised access to sensitive information.

Cyber Security Myths

Below we take a look at some of the common myths surrounding cyber security

Cyber criminals are outsiders

The notion that cybercriminals are only outsiders is a misconception. In reality, cybercriminals can be both external attackers and insiders, including employees, contractors, or partners. This myth underestimates the risks posed by individuals with insider knowledge who might misuse their access privileges to steal data, sabotage systems, or engage in fraudulent activities. Insiders often have a deep understanding of an organisation’s infrastructure, making their actions potentially more damaging.

Risks are Known

Considering that all risks are known is a misconception in cyber security. New vulnerabilities, attack methods, and emerging threats constantly transpire, making it impossible to predict or identify every potential risk. Cyber attackers are innovative, adapting their techniques to exploit unknown vulnerabilities. This myth can lead to complacency and inadequate preparation.

Attack Vectors are Contained

Believing that attack vectors are completely contained is a common myth in cyber security. Attack vectors, the paths that attackers use to breach systems, can be multifaceted and constantly evolving. Even if one vector is mitigated, attackers may discover new ways to infiltrate systems. This myth overlooks the persistence and adaptability of cyber criminals.

The Industry is Safe

Assuming that the entire industry is safe from cyber threats is a misconception. No industry or organisation is immune to cyberattacks. This myth can lead to complacency and inadequate security measures. Cybercriminals target industries across the board, seeking vulnerabilities to exploit.

Passwords are enough

Believing that passwords alone are sufficient for cyber security is not true. This myth neglects the increasing sophistication of cyber threats and the vulnerabilities of relying solely on passwords. Cybercriminals can use techniques like phishing and brute-force attacks to steal or crack passwords. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) and other advanced security measures are necessary to enhance protection.

Deleted files are gone forever

 When files are deleted, they often remain recoverable on storage devices unless proper measures are taken to overwrite them. Cybercriminals can exploit this by recovering sensitive data from discarded devices or storage media. This myth underestimates the potential risk of data breaches.

Encryption is not worth the time and effort

Encryption plays a critical role in protecting sensitive data from unauthorised access, breaches, and cyber-attacks. This myth underestimates the potential consequences of data exposure and breaches. Encryption safeguards data even if it falls into the wrong hands, it is a fundamental security measure, which ensures that data remains confidential and secure, even in the face of determined attackers.

SMEs are not targets

Assuming that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not targets for cyber attacks is a misconception. Cybercriminals often target SMEs because they may have fewer resources dedicated to cyber security, making them more vulnerable. This myth overlooks the potential impact of breaches on SMEs’ operations, finances, and reputation.

Cyber Security Pros and Cons

Cyber Security Advantages

Data Protection
Risk Mitigation
Business Continuity
Reputation Safeguarding
Regulatory Compliance
Financial Loss Prevention
Competitive Advantage
Incident Response Readiness

Cyber Security Disadvantages

Complexity
Potential Complacency
Human Errors
Evolving Threats
Resource Demands
User Inconvenience
Compatibility Issues
Costs
False Positives

Cyber Security Solutions

In today’s digital ecosystem, robust cyber security measures are non-negotiable. Below, we delve into technical solutions, from real-time threat monitoring to user education, essential for safeguarding digital assets.

Security Operations Centre

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a dedicated facility where cyber security experts monitor, detect, analyse, and respond to potential security threats and incidents in real time.

Incident Response

Incident response is a structured approach to handling and mitigating cyber security incidents and breaches. It involves identifying, containing, eradicating, and recovering from security threats and attacks.

Digital Footprint

A digital footprint refers to the trail of digital information left behind by an individual’s online activities. Managing your digital footprint is crucial for privacy and security, as it can impact online reputation and susceptibility to cyber threats.

Penetration Testing Services

Penetration testing services, often referred to as “pen testing,” involve simulating cyberattacks on an organisation’s systems, networks, and applications. The goal is to uncover security gaps and weaknesses before cybercriminals do, enabling organisations to proactively strengthen their defences and mitigate potential risks.

Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability assessments involve scanning for known vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and security gaps that could be exploited by attackers. These assessments proactively pinpoint areas of risk and provide insights into what needs to be addressed to enhance the organisation’s cyber security posture.

Breach and Attack Simulation Services

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) services involve simulating real-world cyberattacks to test an organisation’s security defences. These simulations mimic various attack scenarios, such as phishing attempts, malware infections, and unauthorised access attempts.

Red Teaming Assessment

Red teaming goes beyond vulnerability scanning, providing organisations with a holistic view of their security readiness, these assessments are comprehensive and realistic offensive cyber security exercises that emulate full-scale cyber attacks. These attacks are often against a blue team, who are on the defence (Red Team vs Blue Team).

Security Gap Analysis

A security gap analysis is a systematic evaluation that identifies discrepancies between an organisation’s existing cyber security measures and industry best practices or regulatory requirements.

Cyber Essentials Plus

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a dedicated facility where cyber security experts monitor, detect, analyse, and respond to potential security threats and incidents in real-time.

User Awareness & Education

A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a dedicated facility where cyber security experts monitor, detect, analyse, and respond to potential security threats and incidents in real-time.

Evolution and History of Cyber Attacks

Throughout history, attacks have evolved from simple exploits to highly organized and sophisticated campaigns. The motives range from financial gain to political influence and disruption. Cyber security continuously adapts to this evolving landscape to mitigate the risks posed by increasingly intricate and targeted attacks.

1970s – 1980s

Early Exploits: The earliest attacks were basic, targeting mainframe systems with simple malware like viruses and worms.

1990s

Internet Pioneers: With the internet’s rise, attacks expanded to include email-based threats like phishing and the first Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

2000 -2005

The early 2000s, Rapid Advancements: Cyber attacks escalated with more advanced malware, ransomware, and coordinated attacks on networks and critical infrastructure.

2006- 2010

The mid-2000s, Profit Motive: Attacks became financially driven, with organised crime using malware like Zeus to steal banking information.

2010s

State-sponsored Attacks: Nation-states entered the scene, launching complex attacks for political or strategic gain, like Stuxnet targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Present

Present, a Complex Landscape: Today’s attacks involve APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats), zero-day exploits, ransomware-as-a-service, and attacks targeting IoT devices.

Cyber Security FAQS

What are the consequences of a cyber-attack?

Cyber-attacks carry significant consequences for organisations, including potential data breaches, leading to identity theft and exposure of confidential information. Financial losses result from theft, ransom payments, and operational downtime.

Cyber-attacks damage an organisation’s reputation, erode customer trust, and disrupt normal operations. Non-compliance with data protection laws can lead to legal penalties, alongside intellectual property theft and permanent data loss posing serious risks.

How do I approach cyber security?

We believe that approaching cyber security entails a proactive strategy. It starts by assessing your current state and identifying vulnerabilities. Then, you must prioritise critical assets and develop a comprehensive strategy aligned with your goals, allocating resources for technology, training, and personnel. Education of employees and managing risks through layered security controls is essential in cyber threat prevention.
 
Ongoing cyber security best practise necessitates an incident response plan, and continuously monitoring for new/unknown threats. Critically, you must adapt to evolving risks and stay compliant with regulations and Collaborate across departments, ensure secure third-party relationships, and supportive leadership commitment.

How do I Manage Cyber Security?

Understand IT Assets: Know your digital resources, networks, and devices. Continuously monitor them for potential vulnerabilities.
 
Deploy Risk Strategy: Develop and update a risk management plan aligned with your risk tolerance and roles.
 
Integrate in Company Culture: Embed cyber security in company values and ensure all stakeholders understand their roles.
 
Continuous Risk Assessment: Adapt risk assessments to changing procedures and technologies. Identify vulnerabilities and emerging threats.
 
Implement Strong Security: Utilize web application firewalls, extend security to all devices, enforce remote employee protocols, patch automatically, control access, and ensure robust backups.
 
Enhance Network Visibility: Gain real-time insight into network components to thwart insider threats, vulnerabilities, and errors.

What are the Challenges of Cyber Security?

Cyber security can face a multitude of challenges, most notably:
Evolving threats
Sophisticated attacks
Insider risks
Resource constraints
Complex IT environments
Regulatory compliance
Human errors
Rapid digital transformation
Vendor vulnerabilities
Emerging technologies
Privacy concerns
Shortage of skilled professionals.

What is the most important part of cyber security?

The most crucial aspect of cyber security is proactive prevention. This involves implementing robust measures to block potential threats before they can exploit vulnerabilities.

While incident response and mitigation are vital, preventing breaches through effective strategies, education, and technological defences is paramount in maintaining a secure digital environment.

What does cyber security mean in business?

In a business context, cybersecurity refers to the comprehensive set of practices, strategies, technologies, and policies aimed at safeguarding an organisation’s digital assets, data, networks, and systems from cyber threats.

How to get into cyber security?

If you’d like to join the award-winning cyber security team at Stripe OLT, here’s some guidance on the skills/experiences we look out for…
 
Educational Foundation: A strong educational background is appreciated but not essential, in computer science, information technology, or a related field.
 
Develop Technical Skills: Gain proficiency in programming languages, networking, operating systems, and security tools.
 
Certifications: Obtain relevant certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certificateless Registry for Electronic Share Transfer (CREST), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
 
Hands-On Experience: Gain practical experience through internships, entry-level IT roles, or cybersecurity apprenticeships.
 
Stay Current: Stay updated on the latest threats, technologies, and trends by reading blogs, attending conferences, and participating in online forums.
 
Specialise: Identify your area of interest within cyber security, such as penetration testing, threat analysis, or security architecture.
 
Ethical Hacking: Consider ethical hacking to learn about offensive security techniques and gain insights into vulnerabilities.
 
Networking: Build a professional network by connecting with industry peers, mentors, and cybersecurity groups.
 
Continuous Learning: Cybersecurity is rapidly evolving; continuously enhance your skills and knowledge.
 
Soft Skills: Develop communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills to excel in the field.
 
Personal Projects: Work on personal projects to demonstrate your skills and build a portfolio.
 
Apply for Positions: Apply for entry-level roles like cybersecurity analyst, IT security specialist, or network administrator.
 
Remember, cyber security is a dynamic field, and persistence, dedication, and ongoing learning are essential for a successful career in this ever-changing landscape.

Is Cyber Security Hard?

Cyber security can be challenging due to its complexity and evolving nature. It requires a strong understanding of technology, networks, and various security concepts.

Keeping up with ever-changing threats and staying updated on new tools and techniques demands ongoing learning. Additionally, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are crucial for identifying and mitigating risks effectively.

What skills do you need for cyber security?

Technical Skills:
 
Networking: Understanding network protocols, architecture, and configurations.
 
Programming: Proficiency in languages like Python, Java, or C++ for scripting and automation.
 
Security Tools: Familiarity with tools like Wireshark, Nmap, and Metasploit.
 
Operating Systems: Knowledge of Windows, Linux, and their security features.
 
Encryption: Understanding encryption methods and technologies.
 
Cloud Security: Knowledge of securing cloud environments like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.
 
Vulnerability Assessment: Ability to identify and assess vulnerabilities.
 
 
Cyber security Concepts:
 
Threat Analysis: Understanding different types of cyber threats and attack vectors.
 
Risk Management: Assessing risks and implementing mitigation strategies.
 
Incident Response: Knowing how to respond effectively to security incidents.
 
 
Soft Skills:
 
Communication: Effectively conveying complex ideas to non-technical stakeholders.
 
Problem-Solving: Analysing situations and devising effective solutions.
 
Attention to Detail: Detecting subtle anomalies and potential threats.
 
Teamwork: Collaborating with cross-functional teams for coordinated security efforts.
 
 
Ethical Hacking Skills (for certain roles):
 
Penetration Testing: Identifying vulnerabilities by simulating real-world attacks.
 
Reverse Engineering: Analysing malware to understand its behaviour.
 

Continuous Learning:
 
The cybersecurity landscape evolves rapidly; a hunger for learning is crucial.
 

Certifications:
 
Certifications like CompTIA Security+, CISSP, CEH, and CISM validate expertise.
 

Adaptability:

Being open to new challenges and techniques as cyber threats evolve.
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