Cyber Security consists of all the technologies and practices that keep computer systems and electronic data safe. And, in a world where more and more of our business and social lives online, it’s an enormous and growing field.
Examples of large Cyber Attacks:
Adobe announced in October 2013 the massive hacking of its IT infrastructure. Personal information of 2.9 million accounts were stolen (logins, passwords, names, credit card numbers and expiration dates). Another file discovered on the internet later brought the number of accounts affected by the attack to 150 million (only 38 million active accounts). To access this information, the hackers took advantage of a security breach at the publisher, specifically related to security practices around passwords. The stolen passwords had been encrypted instead of being chopped as recommended. Fortunately, if this had led to banking data also being stolen, it was at least unusable because of a high-quality encryption by Adobe. The company was attacked not only for its customer information, but also for its product data. Indeed, the most worrying problem for Adobe was the theft of over 40GB of source code. For instance, the entire source code for the ColdFusion product was stolen as well as parts of the source codes for Acrobat Reader and Photoshop. If other attacks were to be feared, they did not ultimately take place.
Target, the second-largest US discount retail chain, was the victim of a large-scale cyber-attack in December 2013. Data from 110 million customers was hijacked between November 27 and December 15 including banking data of 40 million customers and personal data (names, postal addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses) of another 70 million customers. And it was not Target who discovered the attack. The American secret services had detected abnormal bank movements and warned the brand. According to several US security services, the hacker group was located in Eastern Europe. It had installed malware in cash registers to read information from the credit card terminals. This technique is known as RAM Scraping. Once the data had been hijacked, the attackers resold it on the black market. Target was ultimately required to pay over 18 million dollars as a settlement for state investigations into the attack.
In April 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network was attacked. The multiplayer gaming service, online gaming purchasing, and live content distribution of the Japanese brand contained the personal data of 77 million users which was leaked. Banking information of tens of thousands of players was also compromised. After the intrusion discovery, PSN, as well as Sony Online Entertainment and Qriocity, were closed for one month. To appease their users, Sony paid 15 million dollars in compensation plus a few million dollars in legal fees in addition to having to refund the people whose bank accounts had been illegally used. This cyber attack could have been largely avoided. Indeed, hackers used a well-known network vulnerability that Sony chose to ignore. Data was unencrypted and could easily be hijacked thanks to a very simple SQL injection.
”A recent survey from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company found that 58% of business owners with up to 299 employees had been victims of a cyber attack.”(Dale Stokdyk, 2018)
Key Concepts in Securing Cyber Vulnerabilities
- Keep software up-to-date.
- Practice good password management .
- Safeguard Protected Data.
- Back up your data.
- Install antivirus/anti-malware protection.
In todays connected world, everyone benefits from advanced cyber defense programs. At an individual level, a cyber security attack can result in everything from identity theft, to extortion attempts, to the loss of important data like family photos. Everyone relies on critical infrastructure like power plants, hospitals, and financial service companies. Securing organizations is essential to keeping our society functioning.
Cyber Security is important because government, military, corporate organizations, etc. collect, process, and store unprecedented amounts of data on computers and other devices. A significant portion of that data can be sensitive information or other data which unauthorized access or exposure could have severe negative consequences.
- There are many risks to having poor cyber security.
- Vulnerabilities are flaws in software, firmware, or hardware that can be exploited.
- There are different ways and is important to improve one’s cyber security from vulnerabilities.
- Whether you’re a corporation, small business, or just a personal user. everyone is at risk for cyber exploitation.
Kaspersky. “What Is Cyber Security?” Usa.kaspersky.com, 1 Dec. 2020, usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/what-is-cyber-security.
Written by Alison Grace Johansen for NortonLifeLock. “Do You Worry about Cyber Safety? Learn Some Smart Defenses.” Norton, us.norton.com/internetsecurity-malware-what-is-cybersecurity-what-you-need-to-know.html.
“What Is Cybersecurity?” Cisco, Cisco, 17 Nov. 2020, www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/security/what-is-cybersecurity.html.