How to prevent Cybersecurity attacks: An Ultimate Guide

The Digital Defence: What is Cybersecurity?

Table of Contents

Introduction

Has it ever happened to you that you tried logging in onto one of your social media accounts, but you could not even after repeated attempts after using the same credentials?

 Then, someone must have breached your security system on the internet.  

Today, we are living in a digital era. If you look around, you will notice that people of varied age groups ranging from toddlers to elders have access to the internet and digital devices.

Not only safety of information stored digitally is important at a personal level, but also at an international level. 

Governments, Banks, Corporates, Defence, Hospitals, and other such organizations store sensitive information in digital records. Which means breaching these data might even cause a global threat. 

Cybersecurity Expert

In such a scenario, the safety of data stored online in the form of – images, video clips, documents, messages, and every tiny piece of information becomes sensitive and crucial. 

This is when ‘Cybersecurity’ comes into play.

 It refers to the practice of protecting the safety of sensitive data stored in computer systems, mobiles, servers, or networks from unauthorized third-party and malicious attacks. 

In this blog get an in-depth understanding on the various ways on how to prevent cybersecurity attacks.

Key Takeaways

  • Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting the safety of sensitive data stored in computer systems, mobiles, servers, or networks from unauthorized third-party and malicious attacks. 
  •   Data breaches cannot and should not be taken lightly. 95% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error. 
  • Between AI, ML and DL the most extensively used technology for cybersecurity purposes is Machine Learning (ML) as AI is not immune to cyber-attacks.

Data breaches across the globe

Data Breach Online

Data breaches are one of the primary nuisances of the digital era. 

When unauthorized third parties get access to sensitive, confidential information about an individual or an organization the situation refers to as a ‘Data breach’.

 The motive can be intentional or unintentional. You will be surprised to know that according to a report by RiskBased, data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020.

Currently, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are taking place because of human error. Therefore, data breaches cannot and should not be taken lightly.

 Moreover, hackers can get hold of data from anywhere if you do not pay attention to details whether you’re online or offline.

Technology is rapidly evolving, and every day, there are new launches of digital devices with various fancy features. So, there are two possibilities for a data breach to take place:

  1. Technology:

There are chances that there might be some bugs in the newly launched technology or device features that may involuntarily leak your data due to lack of encryption, for instance. 

  1. Human Error:

There are chances that you may become a victim of internet security breaches if you have poor digital habits. 

At times, we value convenience over security and tend to leave our data over loose ends, making it easier for hackers to breach our security system. 

The Twitter breach of 2020

Twitter logo

One of the most infamous cybersecurity breaches that happened last year was with one of the largest social networking sites, which has almost 291 (approximate) users worldwide – Twitter. 

130 accounts were hacked globally. This wasn’t the only time when Twitter was targeted for cyberattacks.

There have been several instances in the past when hackers, as well as malicious insiders, had messed with data on Twitter.  

Twitter data breach 2020
Source: Wikipedia

If you are someone who follows the news closely, then you would remember a tweet noting “All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back double! If you send $1000, I will send back $2000. Only doing this for 30 minutes. [the link]. Enjoy!”, was floating across the social media platform.

According to Twitter Investigative Report, the mastermind behind this double bitcoin scam which took place on 15th July 2020 was found to be a 17-year old boy. 

 Moreover, this tweet was sent from accounts of globally recognized brands, artists, and personalities such as Uber, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Barack Obama, and even Elon Musk. 

It was one of the biggest cybersecurity breaches as this time, the hackers targeted high-profile individuals and organizations. 

This not only caused a loss of reputation for the company, but people across the globe started questioning the lack of good cybersecurity infrastructure and fearing the safety of their data. 

There are plenty of reasons because of which this mishap could have taken place.

 It can be anything ranging from the hackers tipping the Twitter insiders to give them access, a phishing scam or even loopholes in the cyber security system. 

Twitter was quick to respond to this situation and they acknowledged the incident and announced that “this is a coordinated social engineering attack”.  

Followed by which all the posts and tweets sent through hacking were deleted and those accounts were locked.

Loopholes in the cybersecurity system 

Loopholes in Cybersecurity system

Even though Governments and other organizations are taking necessary steps. There is still a long way to go to put an end to this completely. 

  1. Currently, there are 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide, and according to Symantec, 48% of malicious email attachments are office files. 

Most of the cybersecurity system is breached through malware attacks.

  1. If you are wondering how hackers figure out your passwords are breaking into your digital accounts, then one possible answer is Brute Force Attack. 

In this type of attack, the hacker tries to hack into your account by continuously figuring out your possible passcode using a combination of different numbers, alphabets, or alpha-numeric characters. 

  1. Phishing is another aspect through which hackers are stealing our data. 

Phishing refers to a situation when a third party pretends to be a source from a legitimate institution and lures the victim to give out sensitive information. Then uses the provided information to do cyber-crime. 

According to reports by CSO Online, Phishing accounts for more than 80% reported security breaches.  

Especially organizations operating in the Fintech-industry face a huge problem due to Phishing. As their customers are often targeted and data breaches occur in their payment apps. 

The average cost of financial data breach is $5.85 USD, according to reports published by Varnois.

How to prevent Cybersecurity attacks?

We are living in a time where every hacking attack takes place once in 39 seconds. 

In such a scenario, we have to be vigilant about where we are storing our data and methods to keep them protected.  

What are the organizations doing?

ML in Cybersecurity

With the advancement in the field of technology, now Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL) are being extensively used for cybersecurity purposes. 

Because of the vast difference between the amount of data available and the shortage of talent pool well versed with cyber security accounts to the large amount of loopholes in the system. 

Between AI, ML, and DL, the most extensively used technology for cybersecurity purposes is Machine Learning (ML).

This is because AI is not immune to cyber-attacks. 

ML can do various tasks to make the cybersecurity system stronger. It works on the model of ML from experience based on the set of patterns derived from the available data. 

The role of ML in cybersecurity hasn’t been 100% effective but is being considered the best possible solution compared to its counterparts. 

Check Out: 10 MUST READ Machine Learning blogs

What are the possible solutions for protection from cybercrime?

strong Cybersecurity system

Organizations are taking necessary steps to curb cyber crime. At an individual level we have to make sure that we are very careful about our digital habits.

Here are some of the steps that you can take to protect yourself from digital fraud:

  1. Keep strong passwords

This is one of the most simple and effective ways to protect your digital privacy and records. 

You will be shocked to note that about 80% of data breaches in 2019 were caused due to password compromise.

Make sure that you keep a strong alpha-numeric password. Not only creating but remembering passwords is also crucial.

  1. DO NOT use the same password for all your accounts

Around 65% of people reuse their passwords for multiple sites, which could easily lead to data breaches. 

Because doing this will make all your sensitive digital records vulnerable. Then the hackers will have access to not one but all your records.

 So, keep in mind that you use different passwords for multiple sites. 

  1. Be careful with the emails

You should be very careful about the emails from unknown senders which are lying in your inbox.

 Often, the hackers target the victims through emails by sending out malicious attachments like malware with it. 

Most importantly, you should be extremely careful with attachments in the type – .doc, .dot and .exe. They are reportedly the most used email attachment malware.

  1. Secure your device

This is one of the vital aspects of cyber-security. You can secure your own digital devices by setting up different types of security protection.

 Many devices provide you the following options:

  1. Fingerprint
  2. Number lock 
  3. Password 
  4. Face lock

      5. Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible

Multi-factor authentication is a great way to protect your digital accounts and record. 

This includes a 2-step verification process. Wherein after logging in on to your digital account, an OTP is sent to your registered mobile number to confirm your identity.

 Next, you have to use that OTP for finally logging in. This way you can ensure digital protection.

6. Back up your data regularly

Keeping a backup of your data is extremely important. One simple way to do this is by following the 3-2-1 backup rule.

Which is recommended by a lot of IT and Cybersecurity professionals. Here, 3-2-1 refers to keeping 3 copies of your data on local and external hard drives, and one copy in a cloud storage. 

This way even if you become a victim of data breach, you will be able to restore the data with the help of the backup.  

7. Use VPN when in public

Many times when we are in a public area we tend to use public wifi without using a VPN. 

VPN refers to Virtual Private Network by using this the traffic between your device and VPN server is encrypted.

 This means it will become difficult for anyone to access your data using public wifi.

Wrapping Up: How to prevent Cybersecurity attacks?

In conclusion, currently, there is no fool-proof solution to prevent Cybersecurity attacks. 

Though AI, ML and DL have gained prominence over the years, their advantages are being used over different industries, especially Cybersecurity. 

There is still a long way to go. Since many developing countries are still not harnessing and embracing technological advancement in these fields. 

Hence, it becomes crucial for us as an individual to take all the necessary steps at a personal level to take care of our digital records.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting the safety of sensitive data stored in computer systems, mobiles, servers, or networks from unauthorized third-party and malicious attacks.

  • What is a data breach?

    ‘Data breach’ refers to a situation when sensitive, confidential information about an individual or an organization is released to unauthorized third parties.

  • What is phishing?

    Phishing refers to a situation when a third party pretends to be a source from a legitimate institution and lures the victim to give out sensitive information and then uses the provided information to commit cyber-crime. 

  • How can I protect myself from cyber fraud?

    You can protect yourself from cyber fraud by following these simple steps at an individual level like keeping strong passwords, not using the same password for all the accounts, using multi-factor authentication, securing your device, and being careful with emails.

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