Cyber Security And Crime Detection

Throughout the ages, criminals and those alike have been looking for ways to steal money and/or data for financial gain. In today’s digital era, as businesses, government agencies and financial institutions begin to store information digitally, the rise for cybersecurity against online criminals have increased exponentially. From adware to phishing, this never-ending cyberwarfare continues to increase year after year. Because the internet has become so vital in today's society, from banking, to emails, or even shopping, it’s quickly become so important asset to protect. With so many issues with cybercrime being highlighted, cybersecurity is quickly becoming an essential asset to businesses and governments, as well as home users.

As we continue to grow in the number of data networks, applications, and not to mention the overall continuing number of mobile users, so will the increase of exploitation of these devices as well. From government all the way down to home users, even the smallest mistake guarding data can have huge consequences. As we look into the future, it's clear to see that cybercrime and those who look to protect our data will continue to stick around for good. In what started off as fun in the 1970s hijacking phone networks to make free calls, quickly began to turn into a tool to steal personal information, bank accounts, and government data. Hacking, as it’s called, is generally referring to anyone that has unauthorized illegal access to a computer or server they aren’t supposed to be on. Most of these attacks aren’t even noticed until several days or even weeks later. According to the Verizon's data breach investigation in 2016, “In 93 percent of cases where data was stolen, systems were compromised in minutes or less, But in over 80 percent of cases, victims didn’t find the breach for weeks or more”. This kind of data should be alarming to everyone, but why?

The hacking of data can cause threats even from the smallest and even minor incident. The overall objective of a hacker is to steal confidential data (maybe from another business or government), destroy hard drives or maybe to even change the data. These hackers come in all shapes and sizes, from recreational hackers all the way down to terrorist. There are a variety of tools they use to destroy or gain access to unauthorized computers or systems. The majority motivation behind these cybercriminals is almost like any criminal, cold hard cash. If they can figure out a way to hack a network to get money, they will do it. According to Verizon’s data breach investigation of 2018, "76% of breachers were financially motivated". Most of these attacks were found to be perpetrated by outsiders. Not only that, but half of almost all breachers were members of organized criminal groups. But let's not forget that not everyone that is hacking is from the outside. “Over a quarter (28%) of attacks involved insiders. The insider threat can be particularly difficult to guard against”. That's why it's extremely important for everyone to have a CSC (critical security controls) to guard against these hackers.

Critical security controls are “a prioritized set of best practices created to stop the most pervasive and dangerous threats of today. It was developed by leading security experts from around the world and is refined and validated every year”. Although effective, not everything is hacker proof. The truth is that everyone faces challenges protecting their data. Especially for small businesses whom might have limited financial and technological resources to upgrade to better security systems to combat the ever-changing tools hackers use. However, one of the best security systems, these businesses can have is just making their employees aware of vulnerabilities and the types of attacks they may face. So what are some of the best ways to protect your network?

Awareness or knowledge of the kinds of attacks people face. One of the most common types of attacks is called Malware. Malware is essentially malicious software that was designed to damage or disable systems. Malware comes in various forms of software such as viruses, trojans, spyware, and adware. These were all designed to infiltrate your network and cause damage and/or steal information. In the past, malware was also used for fun and games, but today, “much of malware is created to make a profit from forced advertising (adware), stealing sensitive information (spyware), spreading email spam or child pornography (zombie computers), or extorting money (ransomware). ” Another common type of attack is called phishing. Phishing is when email attachments are created to spoofed website links that were designed to look like websites you might be familiar using. With Phishing, you don't necessarily have to put in anything inside the spoofed links, once you click on the malicious attachment, you have already installed the malware onto your computer. Even the smallest phishing can wreak havoc on your network. The bad thing is, you won’t even know where it's coming from. Although the identity of most cyber hackers isn’t known, the damage they leave behind after an attack or data exploit says enough. In the RSA 2018 Cybersecurity and business risk survey, “70% of respondents confirmed their organization had experienced a security breach in the past two years and 85% of those indicated they had actually experienced two or more breachers in that same time frame. In 2016 alone, ”Malicious cyber activity cost the U. S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion”. The big question remains, how do we fight these attacks and do what measure do draw?

With the vast amount of people continuing to put so much data sensitive information online; protecting this data has become increasingly difficult. If your network is being compromised or attacked, the best line of defense is just making yourself aware. If you’re aware, and you have a business, are your employees aware? What about those connected to your in-home network? (family members, children, etc. ) Passwords can only protect a network so far, sometimes using common sense can help prevent even the biggest attacks. Even if your network is super-fortified and protected, doesn’t always mean that its 100% protected. Even the savviest of computer genius’ aren’t safe from being hacked. There are many challenges in information security evolving on a daily basis. Most of these challenges can be divided into 4 points. “Confidentiality and privacy - ensuring that only the intended recipient can read certain information. Authentication - ensuring that information is actually sent by the stated sender. Integrity - ensuring that the original information was not altered and that no one tampered with it. ” And lastly, Availability - ensuring that important information can be accessed at all times and places“ (“information security challenges”).

Although challenges, the majority of these points can be solved with just taking cautionary measures to prevent it from happening in the first place. Technically, any computer or device connected to the internet is exposed to the con of hackers. But this doesn’t mean you have to be compromised. In today’s information security world there are a vast amount of basic protection methods used to prevent these hackers from accessing your device or computer. One of the first steps in security you can use is called a Firewall. A Firewall is basically your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your network and devices. Firewalls are “simply a program or hardware device that filters the information coming through the Internet connection into your private network or computer system. If an incoming packet of information is flagged by the filters, it is not allowed through”.

A further step to protecting your network is by installing anti-virus. Anti-virus is essentially “a program or set of programs that are designed to prevent, search for, detect, and remove software viruses, and other malicious software like worms, trojans, adware, and more”. And because most cybercriminals are really good at exploiting known vulnerabilities, you can usually help fight back by just keeping your antivirus up to date. The third step involves more awareness than anything. Social engineering as its called is “the use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes”. More often than not, businesses might have that one employee that believes everything they hear over the phone or through an email. Because hackers are creative and resourceful in deception, it's a good idea to make yourself or other employees (if a business or government agency) skeptical of anyone asking for passwords and/or anything else that might allow someone into your network. As organizations at all different stages of data security continue to grow.

The overgrowing population of the internet, social media and online shopping are just a few ways that cyber security has become more important than ever. According to the RSA, we are facing a “cyber pandemic” that “No one is immune, from private companies to individual citizens to state and local government agencies”. As we look into the future, the need for cybersecurity professionals will only continue to increase. It's become vital to everyone that we all understand the risks and vulnerabilities that come with using the internet. Because hackers and crime don’t sleep, there is a need for round the clock protection of data.

15 July 2020
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