Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Let’s Start with Cyber Security Basics

It seems these days that we’re hearing about data breaches and cyber security in the news every other day. So what does that mean for you and your business?

Whether you have a business to protect or your personal data, cyber attacks are a security risk that can’t be ignored. Sure there are multiple pieces of security software available that can assist in preventing cyber attacks, however, it’s fundamental that you understand some cyber security basics before you can begin to protect yourself.

Thankfully, we’re an IT Managed Service Provider and October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so we’ll be sharing important cyber related information throughout the month to help you ensure that you’re as safe as you can be with security measures in place to keep you and your data protected and secure online.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month has been running for 18 years and originated in America. Now, it has travelled the Atlantic and is recognised world wide. With more and more of our sensitive data stored online, it’s more important than ever to learn about cyber security.

Cyber Security Basics

Is it Cyber Security or Cybersecurity?

Firstly, let’s clear this up. Both Cyber Security and Cybersecurity are technically correct, however, us Brits tend to lean towards Cyber Security. So, with that being said, let’s crack on.

Cyber security is how we protect ourselves and our businesses from cyber attacks. More specifically, it is utilising purpose-built processes and technologies to protect our data that is stored across different systems, networks, programs and devices.

What is Cyber Security?

In the past we were primarily concerned with our data and technology being stolen in person; someone breaking into our offices and running off with our important files. As technology has moved on, so has our data storage, with around 50% of corporate data being stored in the cloud as of 2021.

There were 1.7 million computer misuse offences in the UK in the year ending March 2021, which is an increase of 85% compared to the previous year. A large portion of this can be attributed to the 162% increase of ‘Unauthorised access to personal information (including hacking)’.

This is why cyber security is so key as it aids our efforts to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks, protecting us and our businesses against unauthorised access and usage of systems, networks, and data.

What is a cyber security attack?

In simple terms, a cyber attack is when hackers attempt to access, damage, change, destroy, or steal our data. Though it doesn’t just refer to our data, as a cyber attack can also be where someone attempts to exploit or harm a computer network or computer system.

More businesses are opting for the Hybrid Model of Working, resulting in more of us having work laptops and mobiles with full access to our company’s data and systems, wherever we are. Combine this with the fact that cyber attacks have been becoming increasingly more sophisticated in recent years, it’s no surprise that attacks are on the rise.

There are a wide range of different types of cyberattacks, some of the most common being:

Malware

There are many different types of malware, which is basically any software that is designed with malicious intent. It is capable of harming devices and networks or tricking users into giving access to personal data such as passwords or financial data. It includes viruses, trojans, spyware and ransomware, to name a few.

Phishing

Phishing refers to hackers impersonating legitimate companies or people in an attempt to get users to hand over their personal data. We’ve all had emails pretending to be from a big company like Amazon, where it says they’re worried about your account and need your full details to check. That is phishing and is also why most companies these days make it clear that they will never ask for sensitive information from you over email, if at all.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

This is a malicious targeted attack on servers or websites where the attackers attempt to overwhelm them to the point they no longer function. For example, if a DDoS attack were to occur against an eCommerce business, their website could go down, resulting in a loss of sales.

What are the impacts of cyber crime?

A cyber attack can affect businesses in many ways including:

Financial Cost

For businesses, the cost of cyber security breaches is increasing. Theft of intellectual property, personal data, and corporate information can cause a huge disruption to trading, not to mention the cost of repairing damaged systems. A study found that organisations can spend up to 2.9million per attack.

For the average person, they could get access to your credit card or and result in the loss of your entire bank account, not to mention identity theft which comes with a whole host of problems.

Reputational Cost

Falling victim to cyber crime will also damage your business’ reputation as consumers, clients, and partners lose trust in you, your competitors have the advantage, and trade is impacted by poor media coverage.

With your personal data, if you’re hacked and personal information is leaked online, it could ruin your personal and professional standing, depending on the nature of the information.

Regulatory Costs

Privacy laws such as GDPR mean businesses that suffer cyber security breaches could be liable to substantial fines, as they are responsible for protecting their customer’s data.

Now you know these Cyber Security Basics - what next?

We’ve covered the basics of cyber security and you now understand what it is, so what next?

You now need to think about your own cyber defences and ensure you’re protecting yourself and your businesses data online.

Over the next month we’ll be sharing information and tips on protecting yourselves and your businesses from harmful attacks and breaches, so make sure to follow us on social and subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on vital information.

If you have concerns that can’t wait, or you want a FREE IT & Cyber Security Audit, you can always get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help!

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