Cybersecurity and Its Importance in 2021

Today, in this world of technical and technological advancements, when our entire life revolves around the online world with our devices, security and privacy come into question in various situations.

Privacy and security have always been a concern no matter what, whether we are talking about the offline or online worlds.

These days we tend to, rather we keep most of our information, in our electronic devices as they have turned out to be easily accessible and shareable.

We also share information through our devices with somebody else as we find this mode to be easy and fast. But what values will all of these hold, if our data and information aren’t protected?

What if we don’t have any privacy, provided that somebody else is constantly spying on us and our devices?

Sounds scary, right? It is scary, but it is not impossible to protect ourselves from such threatening activities, provided that we already have a facility called “cybersecurity”.

Over the years, the term “cybersecurity” has gained immense popularity and it is worth the hype. The term “cybersecurity” had been initially viewed from two different perspectives- academic and popular literature.

The literature perspective describes that the definitions of this term are often uninformative, context-bound, subjective, and highly variable.

The literature review spanned across a wide range of scopes and was derived from a lot of other academic disciplines which included computer science, engineering, sociology, psychology, education, management, political studies, and security studies.

While the most common disciplines that were covered in the literature review include computer science, engineering, technology, defense, and security.

On the other hand, the topic of cybersecurity did cover aspects of policy development, sociology, psychology, education, accounting, management, law, public administration, and healthcare, but those are to a much lesser extent.

If we deconstruct and unfold the term “cybersecurity”, we can easily locate the discussions within its two domains- “cyber” and “security”.

According to Oxford, 2014- the term “cyber” denotes a prefix representing a virtual reality and refers to cyberspace of an electronic communication network.

And as for the term “security” is concerned, according to the literature review it appears to be notoriously hard to define this term in the general sense, with hardly any broadly accepted concept.

Though it has remained a contested term, the central concept of “security” revolves around the fact that it is to remain free from danger and threat.

The term usually takes shape according to one’s perspective and what one values, the basic concept remains the same and includes various forms- physical properties, human properties, information system properties, or mathematical definitions for various types of security.

The literature review concentrated mainly on five dominant themes of cybersecurity, namely- technological solutions; events; strategies, processes, and methods; human management, and referent objects of security.

These not only support the interdisciplinary nature of cybersecurity but also help to provide the critical context in the process of defining the term.

In addition to the aforementioned dominant themes, the distinguishing aspects of cybersecurity include- being a scale-free network, interdisciplinary socio-technical character, and lastly high levels and degrees of connectedness, speed of interaction, and change.

How is Cybersecurity Defined?

After going through different stages of defining cybersecurity, the new definition suggests that – “Cybersecurity” (also known as information technology security or electronic information security) is the process of organizing and collecting resources, structures, and processed to protect and defend our computers, mobile devices, servers, networks, and electronic systems ( in short cyberspace and cyberspace-enabled systems) from malicious attacks or occurrences that misalign from property rights.

Network security involves the practice of protecting one’s computer network from targeted attackers and opportunistic malware.

Application security provides focus on protecting our software and devices from threats and malware, and a majority of this factor lies in the designing stage. Information security, as its name suggests, protects our data from attacks, during storage and transmission.

Operational security is concerned about the various processes involved in protecting the data assets while handling them. The permissions of accessing a network, and the processes as to where and how to store and share the data falls under this category.

Disaster recovery and business continuity refer to the way an organization handles and responds to a cybersecurity-related incident or loss of valuable data.

End-user education is the practice of addressing and educating users to follow certain steps and ways to protect information and data from falling prey to security threats- like teaching them to delete suspicious attachments (mostly emails), not to plug in unprotected and unidentified USB drives, and many more important lessons.

The three major types of cyber threats are- cybercrime (involves individuals or groups targeting systems for personal or financial benefits or to bring about disruption), cyber-attack (often motivated by political backgrounds for gathering information), and cyberterrorism (revolves around undermining electronic systems for causing fear and panic).

While in the case of malware threats (i.e. malicious software), the types of malware are- viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware, botnets.

In this context, we must remember the major difference between security and privacy. Security deals with safeguarding the user’s data, while privacy deals with safeguarding the user’s identity.

Looking deeper into the specific differences makes it more complex and there are areas where you will find an overlap between the two.

Well, there are certain simple cyber safety tips that you can follow to avoid cyberattacks and can certainly protect yourself against them.

– Update your software and operating system, especially when there is a new update available. This ensures that you can benefit from the newly added security patches.

– Use-anti virus software to protect your system from malware, detect and protect against threats.

– Use strong passwords that are not easily guessable.

– Avoid accessing unprotected public WiFi networks, which leaves you vulnerable to attacks.

– Do not open email attachments and links from unknown senders and websites, which makes your system prone to malware easily.

Well, if you are still not convinced, as to why cybersecurity is so important, let me list it down for you.

– Cybersecurity protects all kinds of data from theft and damage (personal and sensitive data, protected health information, personally identifiable information, intellectual property, governmental and industry-related information systems).

– Cybersecurity is also an important practice to protect innocent people like children and our family members from the online world of fraud and threats, crimes, and bullying.

– A lack of a cybersecurity program makes an organization prone to the irresistible target of cybercriminals.

– With the increase of cybercrimes all across the globe, that came with the advancements in technology, cybersecurity can reduce the risk of exposure to such threats.

– With the increase of storing sensitive information related to banking details and passwords in cloud storage, there is an increasing risk of theft, which can be minimized and protected by cybersecurity.

– Cybersecurity also enables credibility by making the online platforms, websites more pleasant and accessible to the users, without maligning the reputation of an individual or organization.

– Ensures protection from various kinds of malicious software like viruses, trojans, ransomware, botnets, adware, spyware, etc.

– Cybersecurity also protects us from the dark web, which is the hub of numerous illegal operations like illegal weapon distribution, human trafficking, drug dealing, illegal auctions, piracy, software distribution, and many more unimaginable unlawful activities.

So, to conclude, cybersecurity is a must in this world of technologies and technical advancements, to protect ourselves from both personal and professional attacks.

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