We are said to live in the digital communications age. Vital data of all types is transmitted in several different ways, all of which are open to attacks by nefarious individuals and organizations. These are referred to as cyber attacks. The dangers and risks associated with the digital communications age necessitate its line of defense which most commonly is called cybersecurity. People from all walks of life need to understand what is meant by cybersecurity.
Essence of a Cyberattack
Before diving into an examination of what is cybersecurity, understanding the essence of a cyberattack is a fundamental precursor. In basic terms, a cyberattack is an offense lodges against networks, systems, and programs.
These offenses or cyberattacks have a malicious or nefarious purpose. A cyberattack typically is designed to access, change, or destroy information. Cyberattacks are also designed to extort money and interrupt the normal business, organizational, or governmental process. The Russian assault on the 2016 United States elections included cyberattacks on networks and systems in the country, including the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, according to NBC News.
Basics of Cybersecurity
At its essence, cybersecurity represents the development of preventative strategies to defend networks, systems, programs, data, individuals, businesses, organizations, governmental entities, and other entities operating in or connected to cyberspace from malicious or nefarious attacks. Cybersecurity includes protection against viruses, malicious code, and other types of threats.
In this day and age, cybersecurity professionals are involved in protecting against malicious attacks in several ways. Cybersecurity professionals are involved with risk management, identity management, and incident management.
The Origins of the Digital Communications Age: International Security Threat and a Secret Communications System
Cyberattacks are a persistent and pervasive problem in this day and age. Ironically, in many ways the entirety of the digital communications age can trace at least part of its origins to what was becoming an unmanageable security threat during World War II. The Nazis developed technology that was able to send torpedoes fired from Allied warships and submarines off course. Nazi warships and U-boats were able to gain something of an advantage for some time during the international hostilities.
Oddly, it wasn’t a world-renowned scientist that brought forth technology to allow Allied torpedoes the ability to hit targets unimpaired. Rather, the technology stemmed from the mind of a Hollywood actor known as the most beautiful girl in the world.
Cyber Threats Today
Born with the need to protect against a threat to the very world order, the digital communications age is at a juncture at which cyber threats are a ubiquitous reality. As part of understanding the ins and out of cybersecurity, some important facts and factors need to be considered.
An astounding 43 percent of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, according to Small Business Trends. While massive data breaches of major corporations garner headlines, every day small businesses across the country are attacked. 230,000 malware samples are produced every day of the year. A sample represents malware sent to someone in hopes the recipient will activate it and thus allow the malware access to a computer, system, or network.
Cybersecurity and Homeland Security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has overall responsibility for protecting cyberspace and underlying infrastructure in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security perhaps best sums up the importance of effective cybersecurity in explaining its agency mission: “Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace.” A specialized agency within the Department called Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency now exists to lead the national cybersecurity effort.
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Cybersecurity Professionals at Work
Cybersecurity professionals can be found at work in the government, private, and nonprofit sectors. In other words, at this time cybersecurity professionals can be found working in a broad cross-section of society in the United States and other countries around the world.
Cybersecurity professionals work in a myriad of governmental agencies on the federal, state, and local levels. Many corporations maintain an in-house cybersecurity team. With the tremendous exposure to cyberattacks faced by small businesses today, there is a growing cadre of private-sector cybersecurity consultants. A significant percentage of these consultants specialize in protecting small businesses from cyberattacks.
Protecting against cyberattacks, implementing cybersecurity strategies, and understanding the assistance available from cybersecurity professionals are vital elements of responsible use of all the digital communications age offers. Whether an individual, small business owner, larger business enterprise, governmental agency, nonprofit organization or some other entity, a thoughtful, comprehensive cybersecurity scheme is crucial.