Introduction to cybersecurity and how it works
When cybersecurity started
Since the dawn of human society, diplomats and military commanders have recognised the need to protect the authenticity and confidentiality of their communications. They used some advanced forms of cyphers and seals at the time to protect their messages from the enemy’s prying eyes. While this was clearly an early form of information security, the word cybersecurity includes the prefix ‘cyber’ to denote the networked digital world in which we live. Since the 1970s, when computers first started to be interconnected, smart people have tried to manipulate them and explore their possibilities. The Cap’n Crunch whistle is a famous example of one of the first computer hacks. The whistle was a toy inside a breakfast cereal box that happened to have the exact tone frequency needed to evade telephony charges.
How cybersecurity works
Along with physical security, cybersecurity forms part of the IT security landscape. It combines technologies for defending connected systems, responding to threats and prioritising security activities in this area. The key to developing an integrated cybersecurity strategy is to recognise which risks and threats are relevant to the systems to be defended. This is generally achieved through the use of threat modelling and (cyber) risk analysis. A thorough risk analysis reveals the most efficient security measures to mitigate cyberrisks in a cost-effective way. Within a constantly evolving threat landscape, cybersecurity strategies and security measures must be adapted regularly based on an updated threat model and risk analysis.
How cybersecurity is multi-disciplinary
Cybersecurity is multidisciplinary in that it requires a range of security measures in different areas, such as security management and organisation, secure (business) processes, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, operational security/security monitoring and response, network security, application security, and awareness raising/education of end users. In addition, it’s important to implement a coordinated set of security measures that reinforce each other to ensure that no vulnerabilities remain open to exploitation. Implementing cybersecurity measures therefore requires close collaboration between experts in all areas and is highly multidisciplinary in nature.
Where is cybersecurity used?
Cybersecurity must be integrated into every IT system as a matter of principle. However, systems connected to the internet must be given special consideration. Unfortunately, this applies to an ever increasing number of systems – even light bulbs, fridges and cars can be online nowadays. Protecting the security of these (sometimes critical) systems is therefore more important than ever, as their misuse can have disastrous consequences.
Cybersecurity breaches can cause?
A security breach is defined as an incident that results in unauthorised access to data, applications, networks, or devices. Technically, a distinction is drawn between security breaches and data breaches. A security breach is an intrusion, whereas a data breach is when a cybercriminal steals information. This information can be sold online or used by cybercriminals to obtain additional financial information, such as bank account or passport details, that can be used for identity theft or fraud. Cyberattacks cause major reputational harm to companies and also lead to financial losses and reduced customer confidence.