With every passing day the internet is gaining information at an exponential rate as organizations keep sharing more and more data online. Consequently, this has resulted in inter-dependent entities and networked society. Organizations are not directly in control of their data security anymore. In addition, business continuity now relies increasingly on IT. Any interruption in a core process directly affects the availability of service and hence can result in major losses on part of an organization, thus challenging its cyber security. As the need arises for critical information to be more secure, malicious users discover new genius ways to exploit system vulnerabilities and gain access to this information for their own personal gains. Whatever the motive these cyber criminals have, whether financial gain or espionage, there is an increasing need for organizations to aware and secure themselves against cyber attacks.
What is a Cyber Crime?
Any illegal online activity that targets individuals and/or organization with the intention of
personal, financial or business harm. The term “Cyber Crime” is a vast term and includes multitude of attack methods. Cyber criminals can be divided into four basic categories:
1. A single hacker, with the intention to gain popularity or cause harm out of self-motivation
2. An activist. Their intention is to raise an ideological profile by spreading fear
3. Organized crime. The intention is mainly to gain financial benefit by stealing important customer or company information through phishing.
4. Government. Their intention is to gain their commercial interest or improve their geopolitical position.
Attacks by any of these have various characteristics such as attack method, target type, scale of impact, etc.
What Should Organizations Do?
With a proactive approach, organizations need to take all possible measures to secure themselves from cyber attacks and plan a response mechanism in case of any such incident. To ensure this, three areas must be covered.
a. Prevention – Security awareness sessions and technical measures
b. Detection – monitoring activities and data mining
c. Response- action plan soon after an attack, such as deactivation of affected activities
4 Common Cyber Security Mistakes
1. Thinking that100% Security can be Achieved
In reality, 100% security can neither be achieved nor is it practically viable. Even big organizations have their information stolen at some point of time. Rather than developing an unrealistic goal of achieving 100% security, it is more feasible to devise an effective defense mechanism that realizes threats against vulnerabilities(prevention), establishes methods for detecting a potential or real breach (detection) and develops effective solutions to counter such incidents (response). Organizations commonly make the mistake of focusing too much on the “prevention” part and ignore “detection” and “response”. However, it is important to remember that for ensuring complete cyber security, all three areas must be given due importance.
2.Considering yourself Safe because you Used High Class Security Tools
The reality is that to make cyber security effective, you cannot totally rely on technology. Although technical tools play an important part in providing basic security, but they should not be considered as the main drivers of your organizational strategy. What is more important is the awareness of your workforce. Experience and study suggests that human factor is the weakest link in destabilizing and threatening the cyber security of an organization. Hence, investing in high-class tools will be fruitful only when your personnel are trained to best utilize them as a resource. Regular information security sessions are crucial in ensuring a robust cyber security mechanism.
3. Considering Compliance only as Effective Monitoring
This is true, but only when you keep yourself well informed about the external changes and trends and apply them to your monitoring process. The virtual world is changing at a fast pace. Hence, there is need for constant learning and growth to maintain an effective cyber security strategy. Evolving threats should be understood and anticipated. Rather than building “virtual walls” around your infrastructure, a better approach towards compliance is to analyze the changing patterns and understand the implications of risk. In reality, organizations do not record and utilize their internal data. They fail to understand that incidents are meant to be evaluated for learning lessons.
4. Recruiting Most Experienced Professionals so that they can Save you from Potential Cyber Attacks
Cyber security is not the work of a few individuals alone, nor one department. It is a attitude, that needs to be instilled among every single individual of an organization. The mindset that cyber security is the responsibility of a single department alone is a very common mistake that even large organizations unconsciously commit. In reality, cyber security should be a part of every department of an organization, where each individual should be knowledgeable and conscious of its implications. Experienced professionals can help you in times where your organization’s information has already been compromised. Injecting the cyber security mindset throughout the entire organizations will, however, ensure that no such incidents happen in the first place.