How Cybersecurity Has Changed Over the Years

Gone are the days when hackers were hooded figures working alone in dark rooms. Today, they use advanced tools to attack businesses from multiple angles and shorten the end-to-end life cycle of attacks to weeks or even days.

While many cyber security professionals have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you don’t need a college diploma to enjoy this rewarding career. [1]

Critical Infrastructure

The engineers that construct our complex infrastructure systems rely on rigorous standards and procedures to ensure high levels of safety and reliability. Unfortunately, those standards and procedures were created before cybersecurity became a priority issue and may not guide designers to consider the potential for cyber attacks.

The consequence of a successful attack on critical infrastructure could be debilitating—from service disruptions and environmental damage to financial loss and human injury. Such attacks are growing in frequency and sophistication. They have already shut down Ukraine’s power grid, caused the “self-destruction” of centrifuges at a uranium enrichment plant in Iran and held the medical records of Los Angeles hospitals for ransom.

As physical and digital infrastructures become more interconnected, they become more vulnerable to attack. Watch this demo inspired by real-life events, as a security team uses the LogRhythm SIEM to detect and mitigate malware that threatens levees, dams and other essential infrastructure. This is a powerful example of the need for a comprehensive, unified approach to security.

Regulatory Compliance

As cyberattacks become increasingly common, the need to maintain compliance with government standards and regulations becomes even more pressing. Companies must carefully balance the time spent on regulatory compliance and keeping their cyber security up to date, a process that can easily consume the majority of a company’s resources.

The consequences of not maintaining compliance can be severe, and include fines, reputational damage, and a loss of customer trust. Data breaches also put businesses at risk of violating privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires companies that handle sensitive personal information to protect it.

In the wake of high-profile cyberattacks, regulators and lawmakers are working to increase oversight of critical infrastructure sectors and other industries. This new context may require companies to establish or fine-tune cyber-crisis management programs. These programs can help prepare for future US regulations and improve a business’s overall cybersecurity posture. They will also provide a framework for identifying and assessing the level of risk associated with each data location.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime in which your personal information is stolen by a cyber attacker without your permission. This information can then be used to commit fraud. Thieves can use your name and social security number to apply for credit cards or loans, steal your tax refund or access government benefits. They may also steal your medical records and use them to obtain health insurance, seek medical attention posing as you or benefit from medical aid schemes. Cyber attackers can also exploit a data breach by infecting your computer with malware.

The best way to mitigate cybersecurity threats is to not share personal information online. You should also shred credit card receipts, junk mail and other documents with your personal information. You should also be wary of downloading software from unfamiliar websites or peer-to-peer file sharing services. It’s also important to make sure that your passwords are strong and to avoid leaving them out in public spaces.

Data Leakage

Data is a critical asset for any business. From digital files to physical products like USB keys, the information companies generate, use and transfer is incredibly valuable. A single data breach can result in lawsuits, financial losses and reputational damage.

A data leak involves the unauthorized passage of confidential or sensitive data to an external destination outside of your network secured perimeter. This can happen electronically via email, cloud storage, or through mobile devices like laptops and USB drives. It often stems from human error. Cybercriminals must exploit an unknown vulnerability, such as a bug in software or hardware, to cause a data breach.

A disgruntled employee could unintentionally send data to the wrong recipient, or take photos of sensitive materials to share with a competitor. Preventive measures include performing vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and training employees on cybersecurity awareness. You should also have a data recovery plan in place and regularly back up your most sensitive content.