- By Rotimi Onadipe
Cyber Security is the practice of protecting systems, networks, devices, applications or any other digital infrastructure against malicious attacks. The purpose of these attacks is to access, manipulate, destroy sensitive data or extort money from unsuspecting victims.
In today’s digital age, cyber crime affects all of us directly or indirectly because as individuals and companies, we all have information that is worth something to cyber criminals. We are living in an increasingly digital world and it is very important that we educate ourselves about cyber security.
As cyber crime is getting bigger every day and the perpetrators are getting more sophisticated, we are all vulnerable and the responsibility is on us as individuals, companies and organisations to strengthen our defenses and reduce the risks by educating ourselves about cyber security.
Cyber security starts with all of us and it is our greatest weapon and best defense against any cyber attack.
Examples of common cyber attacks:
1). Ransomware attack: This is a situation whereby a victim’s device, system or network is held hostage until the victim pays a ransom to the attacker.
2). Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): This happens when a system, service or networks are flooded with excessive traffic so as to prevent them from working properly.
3). Social engineering: e.g. phishing attack. This is when an attacker sends an email that appears to be coming from a trusted individual or organisation.
4). Malware attack: This happens when hackers use applications to compromise devices or networks in order to steal personal or sensitive information.
5). Insider Threat: This is when the people in an organisation have access to system, device or network and use it to gain access to restricted areas for malicious purposes.
6). URL manipulation: This happens when an attacker creates a fake URL address or changes it in order to gain access to the sensitive information of an unsuspecting individual or organisation.
7). Eavesdropping attack: This refers to stealing of information as it is transmitted over a smartphone, computer, network or other connected devices.
Examples of common cyber security measures:
1). Use strong password: Let your password be at least 12 characters. Mix uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
2). Don’t use the same password on different accounts or websites.
3). Use Two-factor of Multi-factor Authentication.
4). Don’t allow automatic connectivity settings to remain active.
5). Avoid clicking on strange and suspicious links.
6). Always use antivirus and firewalls.
7). Update systems and programs regularly.
8). Always sign out your online account when you are through with your online activities.
9). Avoid connecting your devices to public Wi-fi.
10). Don’t shop on unsecured websites. Watch for “HTTPS”.
11). Don’t allow suspicious people to have access to your devices.
12). Switch off your Bluetooth when you are not using it.
13). Don’t download attachment from unknown source.
14). Beware of unsolicited calls, emails or text messages that request for personal information.
15). Educate yourself, family and staff about cyber security.
Why is cyber security awareness important in today’s digital age?
1). It will reduce the vulnerabilities of individuals, companies and organisations.
2). It will allow employees to work safely and reduce their errors.
3). It will ensure maximum protection of sensitive information belonging to individuals and corporate organisations.
4). It will reduce the number of victims of cyber attacks who may attempt suicide if they lose money or sensitive information through security breaches.
5). It will improve clients’ confidence and business continuity.
6). It will reduce social engineering attacks e.g. phishing which is very rampant in today’s digital age.
7). It will increase productivity because virus infections can reduce the speed of computers.
8). It will ensure maximum protection against ransomware attacks which may ruin companies or government organisations within a short time.
9). Personal information, industries and government information systems will be more protected from manipulation, damage or theft.
10). In today’s technology age, the prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has increased the number of hackers and cyber criminals. However, cybersecurity awareness is the only weapon against the attackers.