Cybersecurity, computer security or data security is essentially the protection of networks and computer systems against malicious attack, data loss or damage of their internal equipment, software, or valuable electronic information, and from the interruption or misuse of their services. It is the strategic planning, implementation and evaluation of policies related to cybersecurity that govern the provision of information and computing infrastructures. In some ways, cybersecurity is a part and parcel of information assurance – the assurance of confidentiality of data and systems, both at the server and client end. There are two major objectives in information assurance – the prevention of external threats and the internal defense against internal threats.
Cybersecurity is an increasingly hot topic with companies, government agencies, and even individuals considering how to protect themselves against cyber attacks. While many assume that cyber threats fall into the category of criminal activity, there are actually several instances where hackers have leaked sensitive data (or caused a breach in network security) in order to illicitly obtain information that compromises an individual’s business, personal identity, or both. For example, in 2021 a group of hackers obtained credit card numbers and other sensitive data from a major credit card processor. A similar case involved an unauthorized access to a federally-run database that held personal information on millions of Americans.
The threat of cyber activity extends beyond data theft, including the issue of wireless communication devices. New viruses are continually being developed that can be spread through Bluetooth signals, making it very easy for someone to remotely activate a device such as a laptop, cellular phone or pager. Most recently, a high-tech hacker who goes by the name “The Doctor” published several viruses that he claims are able to steal passwords, access control systems, and personal data remotely. The Doctor’s targets range from older personal computers to the latest laptops and Wi-Fi enabled devices. The Doctor’s victims have included businesses, governments, and public institutions including universities, hospitals and even the U.S. Federal Government.