Let us start with a story. Laura often shops online, she has information like email, delivery address, and credit card details saved on the website, to enable a faster and hassle-free shopping experience. One day, Laura received an email which stated her eligibility for special discount voucher from online shipping website that she often purchases. In order to save the discount voucher, she was asked for fill in her online shopping credentials. She had no doubts about the procedure for filling in the information, and she thought it was an account verification step. After a few minutes, she was knocked off her feet when a substantial amount of money was wiped off her account.
How do you think that happened? Yes, the email that she received is fake, and her shopping account unauthorized access from a third party. This type of attack is identified as cyber-attack and the person who carries it out is called hacker. Are there any ways to help Laura to prevent this attack? The answer is yes, with the help of cyber security.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks[Cisco, 2022]. This has been fuelled by the explosive growth of the internet with 5 billion users, which has become a haven for hackers. Cyber-crime has quickly become a top-level security priority across the globe. Therefore, cyber security is more important than ever.
Types of cyber attack
Cyber-attack refers to any type of unauthorized offensive action against computer information systems, infrastructure, computer networks, or personal computer equipment. Attack includes destroying, exposing, modifying, disabling services, and stealing or accessing data from any computer without authorization.
- There are many types of cyber-attacks, but the most common is malware attack. Malware comes in various forms like trojan, adware and spyware[simplilearn.com, 2022]. Users who download any suspicious attachments online may have had their system compromised by some malicious virus embedded in the attachments.
- Most modern phishing attacks work to distribute malicious links or attachments, typically over email, which is Laura met. Attacker hopes the victim click or download, giving the attacker access to personal information, login credentials, or even finances[simplilearn.com, 2022].
- Man-in-the-middle(MITM) attack, also known as an eavesdropping attack. It is an attack that occurs when attacker between client and host. Usually happens on unsecured public networks and malware penetrated the device[simplilearn.com, 2022].
The Impacts of Cyber Attack
Cyber-attacks are not just confined to individuals but also to public and private organizations, cyber-attacks carried out in such places are more deadly and they result in colossal losses. Motives of such attacks are many starting from tampering with crucial data to monetary gains.
- Data loss: they may be destroyed or modified beyond recovery, you can’t do anything meaningful with it.
- Financial loss: whether victim is an individual or an organization, all the attacks can lead to loss of money, loss of income and money to get paid to fix things.
- Repetitional loss: loss of consumer trust, loss of current and potential customers, and bad media coverage, these repetitional losses are more serious than the loss of money, especially for companies and organizations[Upguard.com, 2022].
How to Keep Against Cyber Attacks
No matter how confident you are in your IT abilities, most of us are under cyber security threat and we just don’t realize it. A recent government report shows that Australian lost more than $30 million to attempts to gain personal information in 2022[Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 2022].
- strong and unique passwords: change the default password, different passwords must be configured for different accounts, and the password must be a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.[Victoria University, Australia. 2022]
- keep software up to date: always update your computer as soon as update comes, update comes when there is security issue and has been resolved[Leaf,2022].
- audit your devices and backup important data: back up data to prevent ransomware attacks. In this way, data can be recovered in the event of an attack. Save the backup files to a separate system[Leaf,2022].
DataUP Can Help You