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An easy guide to understanding cyber security

20th September 2021 Print
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As technology advances, we hear more and more 'techie' words every day. There are Google Adwords consultants, cloud storage specialists, and big data analysts. Something else that's being discussed more and more in the field of cybersecurity. All over the world, people are becoming increasingly keen to protect their data from hackers. If this is something you want to learn more about, read on because this is the article for you.

The Basics

Cybersecurity is actually a broad term, and it's been around for years. It's basically about keeping your online stuff (e.g. passwords and bank accounts) safe from hackers. If you don't protect your data, it's like locking your house door but leaving the windows open.

When it comes to large companies storing huge amounts of sensitive information, cybersecurity is serious business. Hackers are very clever at what they do, and they never stop developing ways to gain access. As a result, research is constantly being done to foil their attempts.

Studying The Subject

It's possible to gain qualifications relevant to this subject, and many gain these as a doorway into a career. You can study degrees in:

- Information Security and Risk Management (BSc)

- Computer Forensics (MSc or BSc)

- Cybersecurity (Masters, taught or research-based degrees).

There are certifications for technical staff working within cybersecurity areas at all levels, from beginners to advanced professionals. They can help you gain skills required for management roles including IT governance, risk assessment, and compliance with regulations like GDPR.

It's worth checking out the internet if this is something you're seriously considering. If you study online for a Master of Cyber Security, you could connect to a top global university with a high ranking in engineering and technology. It may be worth talking to an enrollment advisor because you could end up strong in terms of graduate employability.

Potential Careers

Because of this interest in cybersecurity, there are now a number of jobs available with high salaries and job security for those who specialize. They include :

* cybersecurity analyst

* security architect

* penetration tester

* firewall administrator/engineer

* network engineer with a focus on cybersecurity.

Even if you only gain a small qualification, it will form a valuable part of your resume.


Hackers And Cybercriminals

In one article by the FBI, it was said that hackers have cost American business as much as $350 billion. One article stated that hackers made off with about 19 million records of stolen data within just six months. When you consider how many companies exist globally (nearly one million), it's easy to see how important cybersecurity actually is.

Cybercriminals can be anyone: male or female, young or old, and at all levels from amateurs to professionals. Their motivations vary, too. Some do it for money, while others want revenge against someone they feel has wronged them.


Viruses are pieces of software that attach themselves to files and allow hackers to take control of your computer. This is especially the case with ransomware viruses, which encrypt all your data, and often demand a ransom payment (in cryptocurrencies) before you can access any information again.

Viruses tend to be attached as an executable file (.exe). They can also be sent through email attachments or infected USB sticks that are plugged into your machine. Ransomware viruses such as WannaCry were very effective because they could spread between computers without needing their users to click on anything suspicious. Instead, simply plugging in an infected external hard drive was enough for it to take hold within minutes.


Malware refers to any malicious software program that infects a computer system without consent from the owner or device user. It can be used for all sorts of reasons - extortion, identity theft, and even sabotage.

Whilst malware has been around since the 1980s in one shape or form, it's becoming increasingly difficult to recognize. Thankfully, there are certain things you can do to keep your devices safe.

Spyware And Identity Theft

Spyware gets installed without your knowledge and then watches what you're doing. It then reports back to someone else and provides information like passwords or credit card numbers. Spyware can also be used for keylogging, which means recording everything you type - including your passwords - when signing in to websites.

Identity theft is when somebody steals your identity in order to commit fraud. The thief can use personal information like names, social security numbers, and credit card numbers to access your financial accounts. They can even apply for loans or new lines of credit in your name.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a way to steal a user's personal information. In phishing attacks, the criminal pretends to be someone else – usually an authority – in order to get their target(s) to do what they want.

In phishing attacks, scammers often use email messages which appear legitimate. They often contain links to malicious websites where data can be stolen from unsuspecting visitors (“Drive-by Pharming”). Alternatively, they may trick people into disclosing confidential information by asking them for it directly via email. One example would be where they say they have an important delivery for you, but they need your bank card details to deduct a small shipping fee.

Encryption And Firewall Technology

Encryption technology is used to protect data online or on media storage devices. It scrambles the information so that it can't be read without a certain key, password, or encryption code. A firewall is a server or security system that controls access between two networks, enabling the secure transfer of data. A firewall performs this function by blocking connections from any network with an IP address that is not explicitly configured as being allowed to communicate through it.

You've now learned the basics of cybersecurity, including what are the threats and the technology used to combat them. We've also discovered the qualifications and possible careers in this area. People need to protect their data as never before. Thanks to constant developments in cybersecurity, we have reason to hope that the criminals will continue to be thwarted every day.

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