Get a crash course on cybersecurity basics, history, and how it relates to us all.
Knowing how to secure your data online is crucial when using the internet, whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise—especially as attacks become more sophisticated. So what can businesses and individuals do to remain safe online? And what are some of the current trends to watch for today? In this blog, we’ll break down some of the main things to know about cybersecurity and how you can prevent your data from being compromised.
The History of Cybersecurity
The first cyber attack to gain widespread media attention was the “Morris Worm incident” in the late 1980s. It was written by Cornell grad student Robert Tappan Morris and exploited a number of vulnerabilities in targeted networks, including weak passwords. While Morris did not intend for the worm to be descriptive but merely to point out some of the flaws in the computer systems of the day, it still resulted in widespread digital damage.
In the wake of the Morris Worm incident, businesses started to take cybersecurity seriously. They began implementing tools and processes to ensure their safety online. Over the years, as cyber-attacks grew in number, organizations put an even greater emphasis on cybersecurity, and technology evolved to meet these rising demands.
Cybersecurity is For Everyone
One of the most common misconceptions about cybersecurity is that it really only applies to experts and big businesses, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. All networked devices, from company computers to household smart appliances, are vulnerable to data breaches. Basically, all devices that contain computer chips fall within the realm of cybersecurity, meaning that virtually everyone is impacted in some way or another.
While large organizations typically have more to lose in terms of digital assets and data, it’s still important for small businesses and individuals to stay on top of security protocols. Data breaches can result in financial loss and reputational damage for all affected, so securing your online presence is critical to remaining safe in the digital space today.
What Does Cybersecurity Aim to Protect?
When people think about theft, they often imagine the loss of a tangible item—for example, a burglar breaking into an antique store and stealing a valuable piece of jewelry. However, when it comes to cybersecurity, it’s not the physical item that you’re trying to protect. You’re not worried about your actual phone getting stolen, you’re worried about the data contained within that phone getting stolen.
It can be helpful to think of an unsecured device as an open door that allows thieves to waltz right in and take control of your data. By enacting cybersecurity measures, you’re essentially shutting and locking that door, preventing malicious third parties from entering.
The Bad News? Cyber Criminals Are Getting Smarter
The cyber landscape has changed significantly since the Morris Worm incident, and while businesses have gotten smarter about protecting their data, so too have cyber attackers found new and improved ways to exploit network vulnerabilities. Some of the most common cyber attacks today include:
- Password attacks
- SQL injection attacks
- DNS spoofing
- DoS and DDoS attacks
Attackers have learned how to successfully navigate the digital realm, taking advantage of whatever open doors they come across. Companies and individuals that fail to secure their data are at tremendous risk, and these threats are likely to grow in severity as the internet expands.
The Good News? You Can Fight Back
Even though cybercrime has skyrocketed in recent years, all hope is not lost. One of the most important things you can do to remain safe online is to update your operating system on a regular basis. Software updates typically include critical patches that cover newly-discovered vulnerabilities in the system.
You should also change your passwords from time to time. Be sure to make them difficult to guess, and use different passwords for different sites. Trying to keep up with a bunch of different passwords can be tricky, but you can easily keep track of them with a password manager tool.
Perhaps most importantly, you should implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts. This means that, instead of simply entering a password to gain access to an account, you will also be prompted to enter a phone number, email, or another piece of identifying information to make sure that it’s really you trying to get into the account.
Learning the ins and outs of cybersecurity can be difficult, but Trava can help you get started with the process, offering solutions for insurance, compliance, managed service providers, and SaaS leaders. Trava also provides a free cyber risk assessment to give you a better idea of where you stand in terms of security and what you could be doing better to fortify your digital presence.