Cyber Security

Understanding Cyber Security and what it entails

In this article, we will discuss what is cyber security, how to get started, and how to improve your skills by working on some labs and challenges.

What is Cyber Security ?

Cyber security in a nutshell is securing systems, programs, or networks from malicious users or from digital attacks. Cyber security is not only about hacking and exploiting systems but also configuring them and making them more secure. In cyber security, we have the CIA triad which stands for Confidentiality Integrity and Availability, where;

  • Confidentiality : is the assurance that information is only accessible to people who are authorized to access it.
  • Integrity : is the assurance that the data or information is safe from modification or deletion from an unauthorized party.
  • Availability : is the assurance that systems responsible for delivering, storing and processing information are accessible when needed by authorized users.

Some common terms you’ll hear in this field are;

  • Vulnerability : This is the existence of a flaw or weakness in a system that may lead to undesirable results that can compromise the security of the system.
  • Exploit: This is a software or a command that an attacker has made by taking advantage of the found vulnerabilities and the cause unexpected behavior from legitimate systems.
  • Payload : This can either be a malware or an exploit that performs the malicious actions e.g., creating a backdoor to a system, deleting or modifying files and folders or stealing files.
  • Zero-day : This a software vulnerability that is only known by hackers and the owners of the software have no idea of its existence.
  • Hackers : This is an individual who explores methods and ways in which they can overcome systems security defenses and identify weaknesses in a system.

In Cyber Security hacking can either be ethical or unethical. So Ethical hacking is basically being authorized to unauthorized data or access from a system while unethical hacking is the opposite, meaning the hacker is not authorized to get the unauthorized data or access to a system.

Cyber security has the following branches:

  • Application Security.
  • Penetration Testing and Intrusion detection.
  • Network and Infrastructure security.
  • Digital Forensics and Incident response.
  • Endpoint Protection and Mobile Security.
  • Data governance, risk and compliance.

Malicious users attack systems to either bring down their organization or steal from the organization. These attacks are called cyber attacks. The most common cyber attacks include:

  • Malware: This is a software designed to either encrypt files ,delete file or steal files depending on how the creator has designed it.
  • Phishing : This is a form of social engineering where an attacker tricks a user into giving out his/hers details.
  • DOS or DDOS : DOS means denial of service while DDOS means distributed denial of service. This is where an attacker or attackers flood the system with meaningless request hence making the server to be overwhelmed.

For one to get started in cyber security you’ll need to have basic networking knowledge meaning you need to understand all the protocols of a network, have basic IT knowledge, be passionate and always be consistent.

If you want to get some hands-on experience in exploiting systems, you can do some CTF (Capture The Flag) challenges which can be found on the sites below:

In Cyber Security you can decide to be a red team (offensive), a blue team (defensive), or a purple team (both offensive and defensive). The red team usually simulates attacks, identifies a vulnerability, and launches attacks in a controlled environment. They help test the defenses of an organization. The blue team usually identifies security flaws in a system and fixes them and also implements security measures that will help make the system more secure. They also monitor, detect and react to a security breach. The purple team usually does both the work of a red team and a blue team.

In Cyber Security, you will also be required to be up to date with the latest technology and read articles to know about new vulnerabilities available, know how to patch them and exploit them.

Happy hacking !!

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Charles Koome
Charles Koome

I am a cyber security enthusiast and love all kinds of tech stuff. I love playing CTFs and doing penetration testing(websites and mobile applications).

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