10 Cyber Security Facts - WMNews Ep. 4
Script written by Angela Fafard With recent high-profile and widespread computer viruses making headlines, it’s become obvious that the future is now. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com that breaks down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment we count down 10 crucial facts you should know about cyber security.
Top 10 Cyber Security Facts
With recent high-profile and widespread computer viruses making headlines, it’s become obvious that the future is now. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we’re counting down 10 crucial facts you should know about cyber security.
#10: What is ‘Cyber Security’?
The term “cyber security” was coined in 1988 as a result of one of the first ever registered online viruses, the “Morris worm.” The worm caused many of the 60,000 computers connected to the Internet at the time to slow down, to the point that they were unusable. More recently, cyber security has come to signify a form of protection from attacks designed to paralyze websites, financial networks and other computer systems by flooding them with data from outside computers.
#9: How Has the Landscape Changed?
Cyber attacks have become much more sophisticated – and much more dangerous – over the years. Today, several organizations have proven that the cyber community is not safe, private information is not private, and anything can be leaked online if you’re not careful. Created in 2006, WikiLeaks is a website that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified documents for public consumption. The website has been involved in numerous high profile investigations, as thousands of secret government and corporate documents have been made available to the masses.
#8: What is the ‘Cloud’?
Cloud storage is essentially where digital data is stored on a server, and typically owned by a hosting company. By storing your data this way, it’s easily accessible anywhere, anytime. You may’ve heard about iCloud, which is a cloud storage and cloud-computing system from Apple Inc. On August 31st, 2014 iCloud was hacked and over 200 private celebrity photos were posted to the imageboard 4chan. According to Apple, the leak – nicknamed ‘Celebgate’ and ‘The Fappening’ – occurred was quote “a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet.”
#7: Who’s Doing the Hacking?
As technological advances increase, so does the number of enemies in the cyber arena. From white hat hackers looking to highlight the weakness of a computer system, to lone hackers trying to steal personal photos or information to use as blackmail, to experienced criminals devoted to stealing banking info, to teams of hackers looking to protest, hackers come in every shape and size. A major player today is Anonymous, an international network of “hacktivists” who attack government, religious and corporate websites using their wide-ranging technological expertise to fight for what they believe is the greater good. Working as online vigilantes, hacker groups like Anonymous and LulzSec work in the shadows of the Internet. Though undoubtedly influential, they’re still widely criticized.
#6: What are Some Famous Targets?
Citizens, corporations and even large government agencies are not safe from the machinations of cyber criminals. As early as 1995, the Citibank network was hacked by Russian Vladimir Levin, and millions of dollars were taken. Famously, in 2011 the website of technology security company HBGary Federal was hacked, exposing over 71,000 confidential emails. Another example of the power some hackers wield was the shutdown of the CIA’s main website on June 15th, 2011 by the group LulzSec, coming on the heels of the group’s high-profile attack on the Sony Pictures site. Shortly thereafter, several members of the group were arrested, and the group unexpectedly disbanded. In 2013, hackers involved in the biggest cyber fraud case in American history were charged, after they targeted the NASDAQ, as well as companies like VISA, J.C. Penney, JetBlue and more, costing them more than $300 million.
#5: What Does Cybercrime Look Like?
Cyber security infringements can be split into two classifications: crimes that target computer networks, and those that use computer networks to advance other ends. We’ll be focusing on the first category, which includes computer viruses, denial of service attacks (a favorite of hackers) and malware like Trojan horses, worms, bugs, and more. These attacks can work in to ways: either they require the user to mistakenly run an infected program, or – as in the case of a worm – the virus spreads itself, and only needs a network to infect other computers. The good news is that antivirus and antimalware software is available for your computer, with the goal of protecting your operating system by stopping from unwanted operations.
#4: Who’s Protecting My Rights?
Governance & Intervention
In the United States and around the world, governments are gearing up to tackle the next threat to global security: cyber attacks. In some cases, governmentally mandated programs have been created to support key infrastructure sectors by providing money and resources. On a global scale, international treaties dealing with cybercrime are being considered, like 2001’s Convention on Cybercrime. Furthermore, on January 1st, 2013 the European Union established the European Cybercrime Centre, a hub that will support member states in investigating and responding to cybercrime.
#3: How Secure Is My Online Information?
Password Protection, Shopping, Banking
There are many steps you can take daily to secure your privacy, personal information and, essentially, your digital footprint. To start, make sure the websites you frequent are reputable, especially when banking, and be mindful of questionable emails or requests for personal information. In terms of passwords, make them long, strong and unique, and – wherever possible – enable 2-step verification process to keep yourself even safer. Always check a Wi-Fi network before you connect, to ensure it’s secure. And finally, avoid sharing compromising information and pictures as these things can easily be shared with anyone in your network.
#2: What are the Current Concerns?
With more and more people and devices connected to the Internet than ever before, the opportunity for hacking and cybercrime is growing exponentially. A recent concern facing computer users is the software bug known as Shellshock or Bashdoor. Some specialists are worried it will pose an even bigger threat than the security bug Heartbleed, which had previously been labeled “catastrophic.” Unlike Heartbleed, Shellshock cannot only spy on computers; it can also take complete control of them, exploiting an existing vulnerability in Mac- and Linux-based computers. With potentially hundreds of millions of devices at security risk, many major software companies have patched the bug.
#1: What Is the Future of Cyber Security?
Combatting cybercrime will require a cohesive, formalized international movement, whereby law enforcement agents can go beyond cyberspace to prosecute those engaged in illegal cyber activity. Criminals’ techniques are constantly changing, but their goals remain steadfast: they wish to either malevolently destroy or to use hacking as a means of protesting the status quo. As new cybercrime issues arise and old ones persist, the need for a global system of laws to prevent and police these infractions will soon become a requirement. Only then will cybercrime become a thing of the past.
Did these facts surprise you? To vote for which news story is covered next, head over to WatchMojo.com/suggest, and be sure to hit that subscribe button for more newsworthy top 10s every week.