Cybersecurity is the act of protecting mobile devices, laptops, computers, servers, networks and other databases from cyber-attacks which is essentially a malicious attack to steal, disrupt or destroy data and/or services.
Whilst it may feel as though cybersecurity is a relatively new field, it has actually been around for 50 years since the introduction of ‘Reaper’, the world’s first antivirus programme in the 1970s.
Over the past 50 years, cyber-attacks have become much more sophisticated and whist the cybersecurity industry tries to keep pace, cybersecurity specialists often find themselves one or two steps behind the cybercriminals attempting to wreak havoc on businesses and individuals.
Today, the prevalence of wireless technology including Bluetooth and WiFi and the increasing connectivity of smart devices via the Internet of Things (IoT) means that people and organisations are more exposed to cybersecurity risks than ever before.
What is a cyber-attack?
Today, the term cyber-attack is used to describe any sort of cybersecurity threat. There are a number of different types of cyber-attack and each is designed to create an opportunity to breach a company’s or an individual’s data via a connected device. These are some of the most common types of cyber-attack:
One of the oldest types of cyber attack, phishing is still prevalent today and acts as a form of online identity theft. Typically a phishing attack will be in the form of an email mimicking a genuine source requesting personal credentials like login details or a bank account.
Fact: In 2018, 500 million personal data records were stolen. This number has seen drastic growth over the years, rising from just under 4 million to 2013.
Distribute Denial of Services (DDoS)
A distributed denial-of-service attack is one that floods a website/server with traffic in the form of messages/connection requests etc, originating from multiple sources. The goal is to stop genuine users from using the service. Large organisations like governments and media organisations have fallen victim to this tactic in the past.
Fact: Government, technology and retail account for 95% of cyber breaches due to the personal details they hold. This is amazingly high statistic suggests that these industries need better cybersecurity but the simple fact is they are just targeted more often. Read more cybersecurity stats in our recent blog.
Malware is a form of malicious software that is designed to disrupt, damage or steal data from a computer or network. It’s an umbrella term that covers a wide range of cyberattacks like viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware and more and is the most common type of cyber attack for an individual user.
Fact: There is pretty much only two mobile OS when it comes to market share. IOs and Android. The latter is an absolute goldmine for cybercriminals attempting to install malware. In fact, according to Allianz, malware installations in Android have risen 400%.
How to protect yourself and your business from cyber-attacks
Whilst cyber-criminals are getting more sophisticated in their attacks, there are some basic steps that all individuals, and especially businesses, should be taking to mitigate against the risk of a cyber-attack. By following best-practice guidelines, you can keep yourself and your business protected from cybercrime.
Here are some of the basic actions you should be taking in order to protect yourself from a cyber-attack:
Back up your data - for an additional layer of security, back up your data to a physical location and in the cloud.
Keep your devices and software up to date - one of the biggest threats to company networks is the number of devices now connecting that are not up to date and open to potential attacks. Make sure your laptop, personal phone, apps and IoT connected devices such as smart speakers are all kept up to date.
Use strong passwords - as simple as it sounds, this is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself against cyber-attacks. Today, we seem to need to manage more passwords than ever before so consider using a password management tool such as OnePassowrd or LastPass. Read more about password management tools in a recent blog.
Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication - Two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a service that adds an extra layer of security to the standard password method of online authentication. With two-factor authentication, instead of entering your username and password, you will instead be required to fill out one additional form of authentication. This could include something simple like a pin or something more complex like an authentication app on your phone or a biometric identifier such as a fingerprint.
Install antivirus protection and firewall - this seems like an obvious point, however, it’s amazing how many people don’t have sufficient antivirus software in place on their devices.
Businesses leading the way
It is perhaps no surprise to hear that governments and technology companies are some of the biggest investors in cybersecurity. Firewalls and antivirus software is now often included in many of the leading devices across a range of platforms including Android, iOS and Microsoft.
One industry that has invested heavily in cybersecurity is the online gaming sector. With the exponential growth in online gaming, the sector has become an ‘easy’ target for cybercriminals and it has been an important step for online gaming brands to deliver platforms that keep their users safe and secure online.
A 2018 study revealed cybercriminals staged 12 billion credential stuffing attacks against gaming sites in 17 months. From doxxing to active listening, there are several threats to be aware of if you are an online gamer including malware, account takeovers and active listening where a cybercriminal will use your active mic and camera to learn personal information.
Of course, many companies within the online gaming sector have invested in cybersecurity in order to combat these attacks and protect their players. Online casino Betway not only promotes safer gambling, including ID checks to ensure no underage gamblers can access their site, but they also invest in cybersecurity methods in order to protect the personal data of gamers on their site.
SSL encryption, backend security and clear terms and conditions are all steps that online gaming companies are taking to protect users in addition to valid software licences where relevant. User support mechanisms and transparency help to reassure users about the security of the platform they are engaging on and helps to keep them safe whilst enjoying online gaming.
Whilst cybercrime may be here to stay, there are steps you can take to help to keep your personal information safe from cybercriminals and businesses continue to invest heavily in order to keep your data safe.