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Cybersecurity Defined

Cybersecurity is a process that enables organizations to protect their applications, data, programs, networks, and systems from cyberattacks and unauthorized access. Cybersecurity threats are rapidly increasing in sophistication as attackers use new techniques and social engineering to extort money from organizations and users, disrupt business processes, and steal or destroy sensitive information. 

To protect against these activities, organizations require technology cybersecurity solutions and a robust process to detect and prevent threats and remediate a cybersecurity breach. 

How Does Cybersecurity Work?

What is cybersecurity in the context of your enterprise? An effective cybersecurity plan needs to be built on multiple layers of protection. Cybersecurity companies provide solutions that integrate seamlessly and ensure a strong defense against cyberattacks.

1. People

Employees need to understand data security and the risks they face, as well as how to report cyber incidents for critical infrastructure. This includes the importance of using secure passwords, avoiding clicking links or opening unusual attachments in emails, and backing up their data. In addition, employees should know exactly what to do when faced with a ransomware attack or if their computer detects ransomware malware. In this way, each employee can help stop attacks before they impact critical systems.

2. Infrastructure

Organizations need a solid framework that helps them define their cybersecurity approach and mitigate a potential attack. It needs to focus on how the organization protects critical systems, detects and responds to a threat, and recovers from an attack. As part of cybersecurity awareness, your infrastructure should also include concrete steps each employee needs to take in the event of an attack. By having this kind of emergency response manual, you can limit the degree to which attacks impact your business.

3. Vulnerabilities

A cybersecurity solution needs to prevent the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited. This includes protecting all devices, cloud systems, and corporate networks. When thinking about vulnerabilities, it’s also important to include those introduced by remote and hybrid employees. Consider vulnerabilities in the devices they use to work, as well as the networks they may connect to as they log into your system.

4. Technology

Technology is crucial to protecting organizations' devices, networks, and systems. Critical cybersecurity technologies include antivirus software, email security solutions, and next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). It’s important to keep in mind that your technology portfolio is only as good as the frequency and quality of its updates. Frequent updates from reputable manufacturers and developers provide you with the most recent patches, which can mitigate newer attack methods.

Evolution of Cybersecurity

Like many technologies, cybersecurity, according to the prevailing cybersecurity definition, has evolved, but the evolution is often more a result of changing threats than technological advances. For example, because hackers found ways of getting malware past traditional firewalls, engineers have come up with cybersecurity tech that can detect threats based on their behavior instead of their signatures.

The internet of things is also playing a guiding role in the evolution of cybersecurity. This is primarily because so many personal, home, and factory devices have been compromised by hackers looking for an easy entry into a network.

Why Is Cybersecurity Important For Enterprises?

Cybersecurity is crucial for enterprises because, according to a recent IBM report, the average cost of a data breach in the United States is $9.44 million. Worldwide, the price tag of an enterprise breach is $4.35 million. Enterprises need cybersecurity to protect themselves from the hordes of opportunistic hackers and thieves looking to steal data, sabotage systems, and extort funds. If they successfully penetrate an enterprise system, the payout can be significant. For example, attackers can earn, on average, $9,640 from selling access to a hacked network.

In the event of an attack, the damage can expand to include:

  • Monetary losses
  • Sullied business relationships
  • A poor reputation among customers and across your industry

What Are the Different Categories of Cybersecurity?

Various types of cybersecurity enable organizations to defend their various systems. Tools for cybersecurity include:

1. Network Security

Network security is the use of devices, processes, and technologies to secure corporate networks. Organizations’ increasingly complex networks introduce new vulnerabilities across various areas, including applications, data, devices, locations, and users. Network security tools can prevent threats, close potential vulnerabilities, prevent downtime, and avoid regulatory noncompliance.

2. Application Security

Application security is the process of enhancing the security of mobile and web applications. This typically occurs during development to ensure apps are safe and protected when deployed, which is crucial as attackers increasingly target attacks against apps. Application security tools enable organizations to test apps, detect threats, and cover them with encryption.

3. Information Security

Information security, also known as InfoSec, secures data from unauthorized access, deletion, destruction, modification, or misuse. It involves using practices and processes to protect data when stored on devices and in transit. 

4. Operational Security

Operational security (OPSEC) is a process that protects sensitive information and prevents unauthorized access. OPSEC encourages organizations to look at their infrastructure and operations from the perspective of an attacker. It allows them to detect unusual actions or behavior, as well as discover potential vulnerabilities and poor operation processes. 

Addressing these threats and weaknesses enables companies to implement security best practices and monitor communication channels for suspicious behavior.

5. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Disaster recovery and business continuity enable organizations to regain full access and functionality of their IT infrastructure. Disaster recovery relies on data being backed up, allowing the organization to recover and restore original data and systems.

6. End-user Education

Employees are organizations’ first line of defense against cyberattacks. It’s therefore crucial that users understand the importance of cybersecurity and the types of threats they face. Organizations also need to ensure employees follow cybersecurity best practices and policies.

Cybersecurity categories

What Are the Types of Cybersecurity Threats?

Recent cybersecurity statistics show that organizations face a growing range of threats, including:

1. Malware

Malware is a term that describes malicious software, which attackers use to gain access to networks, infect devices and systems, and steal data. Types of malware include:

2. Virus

Viruses are one of the most common forms of malware. They quickly spread through computer systems to affect performance, corrupt files, and prevent users from accessing the device. Attackers embed malicious code within clean code, often inside an executable file, and wait for users to execute it. 

To prevent viruses from spreading, it’s important to educate employees regarding which kind of files they should and should not download on their computers but while connected to your network. For example, some companies choose to discourage employees from downloading files with .exe extensions.

3. Trojan Horses

Trojan horses appear as legitimate software, which ensures they are frequently accepted onto users’ devices. Trojans create backdoors that allow other malware to access the device. Because Trojans can be very hard to distinguish from legitimate software, it’s sometimes best to prevent employees from installing any kind of software on their computers without guidance.

4. Spyware

Spyware hides on a computer to track user activity and collect information without their knowledge. This allows attackers to collect sensitive data, such as credit card information, login credentials, and passwords. Spyware can also be used to identify the kinds of files that hackers hunt for while committing corporate espionage. By using automation to pinpoint their cyber bounty, attackers can streamline the process of breaching your network, only targeting the segments where they've located valuable information.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware involves attackers blocking or locking access to data then demanding a fee to restore access. Hackers typically take control of users’ devices and threaten to corrupt, delete, or publish their information unless they pay the ransom fee. 

Each ransom attack has to be handled differently. For example, while it’s always a good idea to contact authorities, in some cases, you may be able to find a decryption key on your own, or your cybersecurity insurance policy may provide you with a financial parachute.

Cybersecurity Threats

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6. Adware

Adware results in unwanted adverts appearing on the user’s screen, typically when they attempt to use a web browser. Adware is often attached to other applications or software, enabling it to install onto a device when users install the legitimate program. Adware is especially insipid because many employees don’t realize how serious it is, seeing it as a mere annoyance as opposed to a real threat. But clicking on the wrong adware can introduce damaging malware to your system.

7. Botnets

botnet is a network of devices that have been hijacked by a cyber criminal, who uses it to launch mass attacks, commit data theft, spread malware, and crash servers. One of the most common uses of botnets is to execute a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, where each computer in the botnet makes false requests to a server, overwhelming it and preventing legitimate requests from going through.

8. Phishing

Phishing is an attack vector that directly targets users through email, text, and social messages. Attackers use phishing to pose as a legitimate sender and dupe victims into clicking malicious links and attachments or sending them to spoofed websites. This enables them to steal user data, passwords, credit card data, and account numbers.

9. SQL Injection

Structured Query Language (SQL) injection is used to exploit vulnerabilities in an application’s database. An attack requires the form to allow user-generated SQL to query the database directly. Cyber criminals launch an attack by inserting code into form fields to exploit vulnerabilities in code patterns. If the vulnerability is shared across the application, it can affect every website that uses the same code.

10. Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Attacks

MITM attack happens when attackers exploit weak web-based protocols to steal data. It enables them to snoop on conversations, steal data being shared between people, impersonate employees, launch bots that generate messages, and even spoof entire communications systems.

11. Denial-of-service Attack

denial-of-service (DoS) attack involves attackers flooding a server with internet traffic to prevent access to websites and services. Some attacks are financially motivated, while others are launched by disgruntled employees.

What Are the Major Forms of Threats to Global Cybersecurity?

Global cybersecurity efforts aim to counter three major forms of threats:

1. Cyber Crime

A cyber crime occurs when an individual or group targets organizations to cause disruption or for financial gain.

2. Cyber attack

In a cyber attack, cyber criminals target a computer or corporate system. They aim to destroy or steal data, do damage to a network, or gather information for politically motivated reasons.

3. Cyber Terrorism

Cyber terrorism involves attackers undermining electronic systems to cause mass panic and fear.

Five Cybersecurity Best Practices to Prevent Cyber Attacks

How does cybersecurity work? Here are some of the best practices you can implement to prevent cyber attacks:

  1. Use frequent, periodic data backups. In the event a system gets destroyed or held for ransom, you can use your backup to maintain business continuity. Also, by frequently backing up, you provide yourself access to the most relevant data and settings. You also get a snapshot of a previous state you can use to diagnose the cause of a breach.
  2. Use multi-factor authentication. With multi-factor authentication, you give hackers at least one extra step they must go through to fraudulently misrepresent themselves. And if one of the measures involves a biometric scan, such as a fingerprint or facial scan, you hoist the hacker hurdle even higher.
  3. Educate employees about cyber attacks. Once your employees understand what the most common cyber attacks look like and what to do, they become far more effective members of your cyber defense team. They should be taught about how to handle, malware, phishing, ransomware, and other common assaults.
  4. Encourage or mandate proper password hygiene. Leaving passwords unprotected or choosing ones that are easy to guess is essentially opening the door for attackers. Employees should be encouraged or forced to choose passwords that are hard to guess and keep them safe from thieves.
  5. Use encryption software. By encrypting the data you hold, you make it virtually impossible for a thief to read because they don’t have the decryption key. Also, with encryption, you make it easier for remote employees to safely use public networks, such as those at coffee shops, because a snooping hacker won't be able to read the data they send or receive from your network.

What Will Cybersecurity Look Like in the Next 10 Years?

Over the next 10 years, cybersecurity will continue to evolve, with the future of cybersecurity adjusting to deal with several threats.

One major concern is ransomware. This continues to be a big moneymaker for attackers, and cybersecurity will have to evolve to prevent a wider variety of ransomware campaigns. Attacks on large enterprises, particularly using USB devices are also likely to escalate over the next 10 years. These will force companies to intertwine cybersecurity and ERM integration.

To meet these challenges, as well as the growing volume of attacks, cybersecurity teams will have to incorporate more automation in their defense strategies, which can save security teams time and improve the accuracy of detection and mitigation.

How Fortinet Can Help

Fortinet provides cybersecurity solutionscybersecurity analytics, and cybersecurity certifications that help organizations detect potential threats and secure their entire infrastructure. 

Fortinet Antivirus detects and prevents potential cyber threats, FortiMail protects organizations from email-borne threats like malware, phishing, and spam, while FortiWeb web application firewalls (WAFs) protect critical web applications from known and unknown vulnerabilities and evolve in line with changes to an organization's attack surface. FortiDDoS provides dynamic, multi-layered protection from known and zero-day attacks, helping organizations fight ever-evolving distributed DoS threats

Fortinet also provides a range of virtual private network (VPN) solutions that enable users to browse the web securely via encrypted connections regardless of where they log on from.


What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a process that enables organizations to protect their applications, data, programs, networks, and systems from cyberattacks and unauthorized access.

How does cybersecurity work?

An effective cybersecurity plan needs to be built on multiple layers of protection. Cybersecurity companies provide solutions that integrate seamlessly and ensure a strong defense against cyberattacks.

What are the major forms of threats to cybersecurity?

Global cybersecurity efforts aim to counter three major forms of threats: cyber crime, cyberattack, and cyber terrorism.