What is Cyber Security?
Let’s break that phrase down into its parts.
What is Cyber?
Cyber is a buzz word that relates to anything involving computers. Computers can be anything these days. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, ATM machines, even some watches are computers.
What about Security?
Security is a word we use to describe the protection of things. We secure the house by locking the door. We secure our money by putting it into the bank. Cyber Security must then mean the protection of anything related to computing.
Seems simple enough, but what does that mean to you? Why is it important enough to write about? Well, computers are a part of our everyday lives, so much so that we rarely even consider what is going on behind the scenes. When you log into your email do you think about how the computer determines who you are? Do you consider how the data you are receiving is transmitted? Probably not. It just does, and it just is.
Everything about us, from what foods we like to how much we are worth can be found on computers. We do everything on computers. We shop for clothes, cars, houses, and that hard to find Vinyl LP of your favorite band… girl, you know it’s true. We register our cars online. We send private emails about recent surgeries, a bad breakup, or family drama using computers. We send out “tweets” about where we were last night and what we did, or exclaiming that our favorite boy band is going to be in town next week and we need tickets…BAD!
You might want to say “So what?” but let’s think about what a criminal could do with that information. Could they impersonate you with a friend or family member if they know personal and intimate details they shouldn’t? Computers contain our identities. We trust the computers to tell us who we are talking to, and we believe what they tell us. You log into your bank account with a username and password. That username and password are you. You are just a username and password to the bank computer. The same goes for friends and family. You receive an email from your friend email@example.com and you know it’s her because that is her email address, her identity.
We put a lot of trust into what we see on the computer screen. We put a lot of trust in the privacy of what we share using the computer. Why? We don’t leave our house unlocked when we leave. We don’t keep our hard-earned savings in a mattress. Why then would we not secure our online identity? For many of us, the reason is we don’t know that there is a need for it.
Most of us are ignorant of the need to protect ourselves online. There is a need for education of online users in how to protect ourselves. Whose responsibility is it? Is it the government’s responsibility? How about the employer’s? The service provider’s? The individual computer user? We all have some responsibility. What affects one of us can affect us all. The ignorance of an employee using an employer’s computer system can hurt the company. The same goes for service providers, whether they be banks, email servers, or just an online gaming service. Users that do not know how to protect their digital identity can hurt more than just themselves. Everyone has a stake in cyber security education. The protection of our digital identities should be of concern to us all.
I bet your next question is how do I get started with Cyber Security? Believe it or not there are some simple things you can do to get started. Be inquisitive, be skeptical and use multiple sources. Before you download that new app that lets you see where your favorite boy band is playing you should read its terms and conditions. Yeah, yeah I know it’s boring, hard to read, legalese but you want to know if they are selling your information to others, don’t you? We all have that one friend that looks like a cyber-genius to us. Don’t presume just because your friend seems to know more about computers than you that the person is an expert on security. Do your own research. Find and subscribe to cyber security blogs, and then read those blogs, and then verify what they tell you. Take charge of your cyber security education, and demand to understand. It’s your identity and your reputation on the line after all.
Or am I just a 13 year old girl pretending to be him?