Cyber warfare is no longer a battle fought just by nefarious hackers and security insiders; anyone using the Internet has a stake in the fight. From Government agencies to companies managing large volumes of confidential data to consumers sharing personal information, large organizations and individuals alike recognize that the new global battlefield has moved way beyond guns, soldiers, and bombs. Cyberspace is rapidly becoming a platform for warfare, which makes the subject of cybersecurity one of the most important discussions of the 21st century. Launched by the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2004, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a countrywide initiative to increase awareness for online safety and security. The first step to approaching cybersecurity, however, is to recognize that it is a multi-faceted topic requiring a multi-pronged solution.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs, and data from digital attacks.[i] Creating a safe cyberspace requires coordinating efforts across several critical elements, including:
Information Security: the practice of guarding information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, inspection, recording, or destruction
Why does Cybersecurity Matter?
According to the FBI’S IC3 Report on cybercrime statistics for 2015, the United States experiences an annual loss of more than $525 million as a result of cybercrimes.[ii] Cyberspace and its essential infrastructure are vulnerable to a variety of risks, including physical hazards and cyber threats. Cyber thieves, who exploit the vulnerabilities of the online world to steal information and money, are rapidly advancing day by day, and their capabilities to disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of essential information is gaining momentum. In September of this year, data was compromised and stolen from at least 500 million Yahoo user accounts, becoming one of the largest cybersecurity breaches in the modern Internet era.
For technology industry leaders and consumers, it’s a critical time to invest in cybersecurity awareness. Massive security breaches can surely be mitigated by directing more effort and funding into educating employees and end users about specific measures for protecting systems and data.
The United Front Against Cyber Warfare
Understanding each element of cybersecurity as part of a larger “shield” against cyber warfare will ensure that we, as end users, are committed to improving the security of cyberspace. Moreover, collaborative efforts between government and businesses can steadily improve cyber defense strategies as the landscape of cybersecurity evolves. Stay tuned this month for future tips and tricks on protecting yourself or your organization.