Cyber security – a quick guide
We set out some cyber security basics.
Who’s doing what?
Those involved in cyber crime have varying motivations:
- criminals stealing valuable corporate data for insider dealing, black market sale or identity fraud.
- states or state-sponsored persons accessing military secrets, committing commercial espionage and disrupting critical infrastructure and systems.
- agenda-driven individuals and groups ('hacktivists') targeting companies to challenge their practices and damage their reputations.
- competitors accessing commercial or technical secrets for competitive advantage.
What does a cyber security incident look like?
A ‘cyber security incident’ is a breach or disruption of an organisation’s computer systems or internet presence by an unauthorised third party, whether external or internal to the business.
- A leak or theft of sensitive information, including personal data, by hackers, disgruntled employees or mischief makers.
- Hacktivism – when an agenda-driven hacker seeks to damage the public's perception of an organisation.
- Denial-of-service attack – bringing down online services or websites entirely, causing disruption to operations.
- 'Phishing' - sending emails with: an attachment that, if opened, can harvest data; or with a link that, if clicked on, takes the user to a fake website set up to harvest data.
How does a cyber security incident arise?
A cyber security incident can arise:
- by planting a virus on a third-party website or web-based application to access, control or disrupt an organisation’s website;
- via a message or attachment that, when opened, infects the computer or network, causes system disruption or allows access to company information;
- via an attack to overwhelm and compromise, degrade or destroy systems, networks or services;
- when a virus on removable media, such as a USB stick, is introduced to a ‘safe’ location and breaches information security;
- with an authorised user violating a company’s acceptable usage policies; and
- when there is the loss or theft of a computing device, such as a laptop or mobile phone, which is later used to compromise security.