You probably know by now that the digital world is growing faster than ever, and it’s a safe bet that the pace isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.
With the rise of smartphones, laptops, smart home devices, and just about any other connected device you can think of, there has never been a time when it was easier for people to go online.
In fact, Statista predicts that the number of global internet users will reach 2.17 billion this year as we continue to expand our online presence beyond computer screens and into every aspect of our lives. Given how much our world has changed thanks to technology — not just in terms of personal habits but also in terms of how businesses operate and how we conduct almost every facet of our lives — it should come as no surprise that cybercriminals are taking advantage of this new digital landscape to threaten the safety and security of millions.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting an organization’s data and information systems from cyber threats such as cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberwarfare. Cybersecurity includes protecting computers, networks, programs, data, and people.
Cybersecurity is a wide-ranging term that describes the security measures used to defend computers and networks against cyberattacks. A cybersecurity breach can take many forms, including malware, identity theft, ransomware, data breaches, and more.
Cybersecurity has become a top priority for governments, businesses, and individuals as hackers have become increasingly sophisticated and dangerous. Some of the biggest cybersecurity incidents of the past decade include the WannaCry Ransomware attack, the Russian election hacking scandal, the Equifax data breach, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
How Does Cybersecurity Protect Us?
These days, cybersecurity goes beyond having a strong password and installing security patches on computers and servers. It’s about having a solid risk management plan in place, monitoring systems for potential threats, and educating everyone — from the highest-level executives to office assistants — on best practices for staying safe online. Cybersecurity protects us in several key ways:
- Cybersecurity tools – Cybersecurity tools such as firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption are designed to keep malicious threats out of networks and data.
- Strong passwords – Strong passwords are essential for both securing personal information and keeping hackers out of online accounts.
- Regular audits – Regular audits of systems for potential weaknesses, as well as employee training on best practices, can help organizations identify potential issues before they become full-fledged problems.
- Good user practices – Good user practices such as regular updates, not clicking on suspicious links, and being aware of what information is being shared online can help individuals protect themselves from hackers.
- Strong business practices – Strong business practices such as investing in cybersecurity tools and training, as well as partnering with organizations that provide cybersecurity services, can help organizations protect data and information systems.
How Can We Protect Ourselves from Hackers?
The best way to protect against hackers is to know what they are after and how they go after it. If you know what you are protecting and what the threats are you have the best chance of keeping it safe. If you can see the threats coming you can stop them before they cause damage. Here are some ways you can protect yourself against hackers:
Install an antivirus program – install an antivirus program on all computers and devices, along with an anti-spyware program to protect against identity theft. While antivirus programs can help detect and remove malicious software, anti-spyware programs go a step further by removing adware and other forms of unwanted software.
Update devices and computers – Keep all devices and computers up-to-date with the latest patches and software updates. This is especially important for personal computers, as updates are not always installed automatically.
Use strong passwords – Invest in a password manager to create and store strong passwords for all online accounts. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords, and don’t share passwords with others.
Don’t click on links in emails – Don’t click on links in emails, even if they appear to come from known contacts. Instead, type the URL directly into the browser to avoid malicious links.
Regularly back up data – Regularly back up data to an external device to protect against data loss due to natural disasters, computer malfunctions, or other threats.
Be careful with public Wi-Fi – Avoid using public Wi-Fi to access sensitive information such as credit card numbers or passwords. Public Wi-Fi is particularly susceptible to hacking, as it isn’t encrypted.
Regularly clean out browser history – Regularly clean out browser history and cookies to remove personal information that can be used to access online accounts.
The Future of Cybersecurity
As more and more devices become connected, there will be an increase in the number of devices targeted by cybercriminals. This means that cybersecurity will become increasingly important.
As the number of devices that need to be secured continues to grow, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will also increase. Organizations across all industries will need to hire and train cybersecurity professionals to protect their systems.
Organizations that already have a cybersecurity strategy in place should review their current systems to ensure they are up to date and prepared to deal with the growing threat of cybercriminals. Organizations without a cybersecurity strategy in place should take steps to create one as soon as possible to protect against the rising threat of cybercrime.
Digital transformation is leading to increased cybersecurity risk and is impacting organizations of all types and sizes. Cybersecurity threats are growing in terms of both volume and sophistication.
It is critical that organizations protect themselves by implementing a cybersecurity strategy that aligns with their business objectives and risk tolerance.
Cybersecurity is an ever-growing industry that is essential to protecting individuals, businesses, and the global economy. The individuals and organizations that are prepared to handle the threats of the digital landscape are the ones that will come out ahead.