What is cyber security?
Cyber security is the process of securing and safeguarding your networks, systems, devices, and electronics against digital threats like malware, viruses, trojans, and even more complex attacks like targeted phishing scams and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Although cyber security refers to the protection of digital devices and technology, it is expected to implement several physical security methods to complement and strengthen a cyber security strategy.
For example, it’s common to set up physical backups of passwords, passcodes, and critical hardware. On top of this, poor physical security can lead to cyber security vulnerabilities; a criminal could enter the premises, gain access to a computer or device, and upload a malicious file without being detected.
However, most aspects of cyber security, especially civilian cyber security, revolve around protecting digital assets and devices from a growing variety of dangerous cyber threats and cyber attack methods.
Each physical device connected to the internet or accessed by a user or another device is called an ‘endpoint’.
In the cyber security industry, ‘endpoints’ are another word for physical devices at risk of cyber attacks or entry points for cybercriminals to exploit.
For the sake of this article, we’re defining ‘endpoints’ as any device that could potentially be at risk of cyber attacks or any peripherals that could contain malicious files.
Standard devices and ‘endpoints’ that you might need to protect include:
- Hard drives
- Mobile phones
- Hardware (e.g., mice, keyboards, headphones, etc.)
- USB cables and charging cables
- Portable digital devices (e.g., gadgets connected to the internet, smart watches, etc.)
This list shows just a brief overview of some standard devices. Almost anything that can connect to the internet or another device is a potential cyber security threat and should be covered under a robust cyber security strategy.
In short, cyber security is the process of protecting your devices from various internal and external digital cyber threats.
Why is cyber security important?
We’ve all heard the stories – someone gets hacked, loses their password, and finds themselves locked out of their valuable accounts. Some cyber criminals even go a step further and commit identity theft, drain victims’ bank accounts, or continue their hacking spree across more of the victims’ online accounts.
That’s why setting up a comprehensive cyber security plan covering all your bases is essential. You want to be completely protected from all common cyber attacks, aware of uncommon cyber attacks and how to avoid them, and have a reliable backup plan in an emergency.
Cyber security is critical in today’s digital age. It’s an arms race between cyber security solutions and cyber criminals – and you must ensure you’re working with a cyber security provider on the winning team.
Cyber criminals, especially experienced ones, only need access to a single device that connects to your home network.
If this happens, your entire network and all the devices that run on it could be compromised.
That’s why you must secure each device with a robust cyber security solution and ensure that your internet-connected devices are secured, locked down, and protected against internal and external cyber-attacks.
Which devices are particularly at risk of a cyber attack or cyber crime?
Think of every device you own as a potential cyber security risk. Some devices pose more significant cyber security risks than others.
A cybercriminal is unlikely to target your smartwatch for a specific cyber attack but may be more likely to target a generic device like a laptop, computer, or smartphone.
However, this doesn’t mean your smartwatch is ‘more secure’ or your computer is ‘less secure’.
Your more popular and active devices are at a higher risk of experiencing a cyber attack or cyber crime than more niche devices.
You might have used your smartwatch just once, but if it picks up a malicious file, that’s all a cybercriminal needs to infiltrate your systems and attack your other devices.
The summary is this: Just because you use a device sparingly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect it.
On the same note, just because your frequently-used smartphone is adequately protected doesn’t mean you won’t experience cyber attacks or potential issues.
The more you use a device, the more robust your cyber security methods should be.
The more common a device is, the more likely it is to experience a cyber attack.
Many people own smartphones, so cyber criminals create viruses targeting phones to maximise their potential list of victims.
Which electronic devices are at risk of cyber attacks and cyber crime?
We’ve created this handy infographic to show each device’s cyber attack risk levels. Although we’ve included a range of everyday devices, it’s important to note that this list is incomplete. Any device is a potential cyber security risk if not properly locked down.
Additionally, different models of devices could be more or less secure depending on a range of factors, including the rarity of the device, specific software vulnerabilities, and ongoing developer support.
Summary of cyber security basics and device security
In summary, every device is a cyber security risk. Common devices may experience more cyber attacks, but the attacks are less likely to be precise, targeted, and specifically made to infect your exact device.
Rare and niche devices may not experience many cyber attacks. Still, potential attacks may be more targeted and complex and take advantage of device-specific flaws or software vulnerabilities.
Make sure that each of your devices is properly protected from cyber attacks. Set up an anti-virus program, an anti-malware program, practice good password management, and be aware of common cyber attacks.
We’ll go over these cyber security topics in future blogs as the team here at Digital Samurai aims to create the ultimate guide to civilian cyber security.
For further reading and more cyber security tips, we recommend reading the following articles and cyber security blog posts from other experts in the cyber security industry: