Understanding Basic Terminologies In Cyber Security

Sep 27, 2019

Understanding Basic Terminologies In Cyber Security

Today we will discuss about a topic which is known to give us sleepless nights. Yes, It is Cyber crime. With ever evolving advanced technology comes a non controllable risk of it back firing i.e. cyber crime. The number of cybercrime cases in India, registered under the IT Act, increased at a rate of 300 percent between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, there were 11,592 cases of cyber crime registered in India. Let us discuss what is cyber crime. What are the types and what do they mean and let’s conclude by discussing some basic activities we can incorporate in our daily internet usage to avoid these situations. Cyber crime is most prevalent in the banking space and on social media. The number of cyber crimes related to social media acrossin 2017 in India was approximately 328 compared to 155 in 2016. The number of cyber crimes related to online banking across India was approximately 2,095 in 2017 compared to 1,343 in 2016.

Basic Terminologies:

Hacker: computer hacker is a skilled computer expert that uses his/her technical knowledge to overcome a problem. While a “hacker” educates himself for good it is currently popular for the wrong deeds i.e. “security hacker”. Here a hacker misuses his/her technical knowledge and utilises bugs to break into a computer system without owners permission. If Hacking knowledge is used for malicious purposes, the person is referred to as a security breacher i.e. cracker.

Malware: Malware is a specific software purposefully designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network. Malware does the damage after it enters a device through any medium. Malware has a malicious intent, acting against the interest of the computer user and hence does not comprise of softwares that cause unintentional harm due to some deficiency, which is generally labelled as a software bug.

Virus/Worms: A computer worm is an independent malware computer program that multiplies itself in order to spread to other computer devices. A worm/ Virus generally uses a computer network to replicate itself, relying on security failures on the target computer to access it. the only difference between a worm and a virus is that a Worm results into harming the network, whereas a virus modifies files and in that process corrupts the targeted computer.

Trojan Horses: We all know The Trojan Horse story from the Trojan War about a medium the Greeks used to enter the independent city of Troy and won the war. A trojan horse in computing language has the same logic. A trojan horse is a special type of malware that pretends to do a certain job, but in reality it does something really bad. Example, it allows a stranger to access the computer enabling him/her to view and edit information. In some cases the user notices certain change or errors but does not take it seriously. Spyware programs are examples of programs that work as trojans.

Password cracking: Keeping in mind computer security, password cracking is the process of recovering passwords from data that has been stored in or transmitted by a computer system. A common way to crack a password is by trying guesses continuously and check them against hash values available. Though password cracking came into existence for may mighty good reasons. E.g. To help a user recover a forgotten password, to gain unauthorized access to a system, or as a preventive measure by system administrators to check for easily crackable passwords. Sadly, password cracker is a powerful study, and power in the hands of the wrong is used for the wrong deeds.

Cyber crime is never 100% avoidable, but you can avoid them as far as possible if you follow these basic practices:

Basic checklist to avoid cyber crime: 

Avoid using unsupported software: An unsupported/illegal software is the carrier to major and maximum bugs/viruses. Due to weak security software is compromised and becomes vulnerable to a cyber-attack. It is also a house for most hackers and trojan horses making it the most commonly used medium to enter your system.  To leverage the benefits of an up-to-date security update, such as improved speed and efficiency, we recommend the use of only supported software on your systems and devices. 

Use updated softwares: A virus finds its way when operating systems like Windows, apps, web browsers, etc. are no longer updated by the user. Though the software will still do its job, it will no longer protect against new online threats. Updates or patching by a supplier is often released to counter newly found bugs/viruses hence improving your security. 

Run an up to date anti-virus software: As understood in this article, you computer devices can easily be infected by small pieces of software called malware. To stay away from infections, we recommend you install internet security software which will warn you against malware infected download items and also have an up-to-date anti virus software to detect already infected files in your device which could lead to major data loss issues in the near future.

Use strong passwords: Remember this password mantra, It must be easy to recollect but hard to guess. It is best not to use information like, your surname, your date of birth or your pet’s name in a password, as this information is widely available on your social media profile page. We recommend using random words and symbols to make it stronger and difficult to guess. We also recommend you to generate a different password for less important things v/s very important things. Your social media password should not even be close to similar to your internet banking password. Imagine if your facebook profile is hacked? So your banking online account is at threat too. For your most critical accounts, if there is an option, you should use the Two-Factor Authentication process of security. This means you have added a second step post entering your password. E.g. providing a fingerprint, answering a security question, or Mobile OTP.

Change passwords once every 6 months: There are multiple government TV advertisements running which tell us not to disclose our passwords to public. It could be a family dinner gathering or an official business party, no one has the right to ask for your ATM pin. In case you did? You must immediately change the password to avoid cyber crime cases. Remember, your password is a secret which not even your best buddies should know.

Delete suspicious emails and avoid clicking on unknown links or attachments: Email has been an excellent communication tool but sadly is frequently used to deliver unwanted or unwelcome material. Ever imagined why Gmail and other email operators segregates your emails are spam or junk? At best this is annoying and at worst it can be malicious, causing considerable harm to your computer and organisation. They identify emailers who often share malicious content and try to warn you against them. The only way to stay protected is by deleting suspicious emails and not clicking on the links or files attached to these emails. Responding to such ‘phishing’ emails can be dangerous too because if you do so, you are indirectly passing a message to the sender that this email address is active.

Backup your cloud data often: If your device is attacked by a hacker or  infected by a virus, your data may be damaged, deleted, stolen or even held to ransom, which means you have no access to your data henceforth. Hence we recomment you safeguard your most vital data by backing it up to a secured external hard drive. You should also ensure you regularly do so, to have the latest versions of your data and face minimum/negligible data loss.

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