What is Cyber Security and how does it work?

We live in a world dominated by IT devices and Internet connections, with which every day we share sensitive data and information that expose us to Cyber Risk. For this, greater attention to the issue of Cyber Security is necessary.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security is often used as a synonym for Information Security. In reality, it is a subclass of IT security, that is, the set of means, technologies and procedures to protect IT systems in terms of availability, confidentiality and integrity of data and IT assets.

Cyber Security focuses on aspects related to information security, accessible through IT systems. In addition, it emphasizes the qualities of resilience, robustness and responsiveness that a technology must possess to deal with cyber attacks that can affect individuals, private and public companies, and government organizations.

The cyber criminals threaten any sector, as underlined by the Clusit 2021 Report on ICT security in Italy and in the world, by the Italian Association for Information Security. In 2020 alone, 1,871 serious attacks of public domain were recorded. These are attacks with a systemic impact on every aspect of society, politics, economy and geopolitics.

The study shows that in the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the increase in cyber attacks in the world was + 12% compared to 2019 and + 66% of serious attacks compared to 2017.

Among the most affected sectors are the “Multiple Targets” (20% of the total attacks), carried out on multiple and often undifferentiated objectives. Then, the Government, military, law enforcement and intelligence sectors (14%), the healthcare (12%), the research and education sector (11%) and the online services (10%). Moreover, the attacks against Banking & Finance (8%), the producers of hardware and software technologies (5%) and critical infrastructures (4%) have grown.

In addition, the report highlights an increase in attacks through the supply chain, that is, through the compromise of third parties. These attacks allow cybercriminals to target a company’s customers, suppliers and partners.

We should also consider the data from the Exprivia Cybersecurity Observatory. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, Exprivia recorded 349 events including attacks, incidents and privacy violations. 70% of cases between January and March involved data theft, followed by embezzlement of money, which increased by 40%, and personal data breaches.

Cyber Security: the main types of cyber attacks

Today, we carry out many daily activities online: from business communication to payments. Therefore, it is important to have an effective Cyber Security strategy to counter Cyber Risk and ensure a high level of data protection.

Cyber Security must be a priority for any type of business because online risks are everywhere. Opening a simple email or downloading a seemingly harmless file can make us fall into a hacker’s trap and become victims of a cyber attack.

The list of potential threats is extensive. However, cyber attacks mainly use the following tools:

  • Malware: is the abbreviation for Malicious Software and indicates any software used to damage another computer and steal information. Malware is a generic term that refers to various types of software: Viruses, Worms, Trojans, Ransomware, Spyware, Adware, Scareware. Malware spreads primarily via seemingly safe emails or downloads;
  • SQL injection: refers to the entering of malicious SQL (Structured Language Query) code into websites and web-based applications. It allows the hacker to take control of a database and alter, delete or steal data;
  • Phishing: it is a type of scam that allows cybercriminals to obtain sensitive information or data by sending messages that mimic the appearance and content of those of service providers. These messages ask the recipient to provide confidential information such as credit card numbers or passwords;
  • Man in the middle: often abbreviated to MITM, MIM, MIM attack or MITMA. It is a cyber attack in which a cyber criminal intercepts and alters the communication between two parties who believe they are communicating directly. Eavesdropping and spoofing fall into this category;
  • Denial of Service: DoS are cyber attacks that aim to limit or completely eliminate web traffic to a particular website or online service, flooding the server with requests until it becomes unusable.

The International Data Corporation predicts that by 2022, the continuing increase in cyber threats will bring global spending on Cyber Security to exceed $ 133.7 billion.

In addition, the National Cyber Security Center, in the “10 Steps to Cyber Security” guide, emphasizes the importance of adopting security measures capable of reducing the likelihood of cyber attacks and minimizing their possible impact.

To do so, it breaks down the protection of organizations into 10 tasks:

  1. Risk Management: take a risk-based approach to protect data and systems;
  2. Engagement and training: collaboratively build security that works for the people within the organization;
  3. Asset management: know the organization’s data and systems, and what business needs they support;
  4. Architecture and configuration: design, build, maintain and manage systems in a secure way;
  5. Vulnerability management: keep systems protected throughout their life cycle;
  6. Identity and access management: control who and what can access systems and data;
  7. Data security: protect data where it is vulnerable;
  8. Logging and monitoring: design systems to be able to detect and investigate incidents;
  9. Incident management: plan the response to cyber incidents in advance.
  10. Supply chain security: collaborate with suppliers and partners.

5 Cyber Security tips: how to protect yourself from cyber threats

In Europe, the protection of personal data within Cyber Security is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR or EU Regulation 2016/679. The European Parliament and the European Council approved it on April 27, 2016. It was then published in the Official Journal of the European Union on May 4, 2016, and it came into force on May 24 of the same year. It is effective from May 25, 2018.

Investing in security to defend sensitive information and data from unauthorized access is essential if you do not want to face particularly expensive situations, both in technical and economic terms.

Here are five tips to protect yourself from cyber attacks:

  1. Update software, operating system and do backup;
  2. Install antivirus softwares;
  3. Use two-factor authentication;
  4. Do not open email attachments from unknown senders and do not click on links contained within the message;
  5. Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networks in public spaces.

How to defend against cyber attacks: solutions by Namirial

So, it is important for companies to secure their information assets and use Cyber Security tools that defend them from attacks.

Measuring the effectiveness of security controls, identifying cyber threats and gaps in technological areas are the aims of Namirial’s Cyber Assessment. This is the innovative platform that can perform an evaluation of cyber threats from an external point of view, without installing any software.

It is a tool that allows you to identify where it is necessary to prioritize investments in order to protect the information system and prevent the loss of resources due to cyber attacks.

In addition, Cyber Assessment helps you to comply with Art. 32, par. d), of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The platform provides two types of analysis:

  • Vulnerability Assessment (VA): the Vulnerability Assessment (VA) service consists in the analysis of IT systems to detect the vulnerabilities of IT infrastructures on the exposed perimeter of the network. The service allows to reduce the risk deriving from cyber attacks in a quick and timely way before the vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers. After the test, the platform generates a report containing the list of all identified vulnerabilities associated with the related risk class and the remediation to correct them;
  • Cyber Threat Assessment (CTA): it includes the Vulnerability Assessment and is able to detect cyber threats, incidents occurring within the organization and vulnerabilities of systems and services exposed on the public network. This type of analysis is based on external cyber intelligence techniques and does not require the installation of any software. It analyzes:
  • Exposure of the attack surface;
  • Technical vulnerabilities of the systems;
  • Data breach;
  • Malware infections;
  • File sharing over peer-to-peer protocols and much more.

The reports following the analysis allow the company to identify and/or prevent data breaches and act with precision to mitigate the IT risk, thus safeguarding its business.

Specifically, the IT threat assessment service allows you to:

  • Discover and remediate cyber threats related to malware infections;
  • Verify leaked credentials (data breach);
  • Recognize data breaches through deep web analysis;
  • Identify dangerous and/or copyright infringing data transfers on peer-to-peer networks;
  • Identify and prioritize remediation of vulnerabilities.
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