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5 Cyber Security Terms We Should Be Familiar With

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What is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. It is also known as information technology security or electronic information security. The global cyber threat continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with a rising number of data breaches each year. A report compiled by the ITRC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that more than 98.2 million individuals were impacted by the 10 largest data breaches in just the first half of 2021.

Here are some cyber security terms that we should be familiar with.

Malware: Malware is the collective name for a number of malicious software variants including viruses, ransomware and spyware. Malware typically consists of code developed by cyber attackers, designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems or to gain unauthorised access to a network. Malware is delivered in the form of a link or file over email and requires the user to click on the link or open the file to execute the malware.

Malware has actually been a threat to individuals and organisations since the early 1970’s when the Creeper virus first appeared. Since then, the world has been under attack from hundreds of thousands of different malware variants, all with the intent of causing the most disruption and damage as possible!

Firewall: A firewall is a network security device that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic based on an organization’s previously established security policies. A firewall is basically the barrier that sits between a private internal network and the public Internet. It’s main purpose is to allow non-threatening traffic in and to keep dangerous traffic out.

Back in 1993, Checkpoint CEO, Gil Shwed introduced the first stateful inspection firewall, Firewall – 1. Now, 28 years later, a firewall is still an organization’s first line of defense against cyber attacks. Today’s firewalls including Next Generation Firewalls and Network Firewalls which support a wide variety of functions and capabilities with built-in features.

Encryption: Encryption in cyber security is the conversion of data from a readable format into an encoded format. Encrypted data can only be read or processed after it has been decrypted. Encryption is the basic building block of data security.

It is the simplest and most important way to ensure that a computer system’s information can’t be stolen and read by someone who wants to use it for malicious purposes. Data encryption software also known as an encryption algorithm or cipher is used to develop an encryption scheme that theoretically can only be broken with large amounts of computing work.

Encryption involves converting human-readable plain text into incomprehensible text, which is known as cipher text. Basically, this means taking readable data and changing it so that it appears random. Encryption involves using a cryptographic key, a set of mathematical values both the sender and recipient agree on. The recipient uses the key to decrypt the data turning it back into readable plaintext. The more complex the cryptographic key, the more secure the encryptions, because third parties are less likely to decrypt it via “brute force attacks”, i.e. trying random numbers until the correct combination is guessed!