Skip to content
13 min read

How does cyber security work?

With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, individuals and businesses across the globe have become ever more reliant on digital and online processes for a more streamlined operational model. There has been an exponential increase in the number of users of technology in the past decade, and with such enormous amounts of information being used – much of which is confidential – the need to protect such information becomes greater.

All this data floating around the virtual space attracts attention from hackers who may want to get their hands on sensitive information to further their malicious interests through cyber attacks. Confidential information is of great value to hackers who look to capitalise on a lucrative underworld market.

Cyber security is thus an essential component for individuals and businesses who rely on technology to sustain their operations. Cyber security is the practice of protecting and recovering computers, mobile devices and tablets, servers, networks, electronic systems, and data from cyber attacks. 

Read on as we discover why cyber security plays such a crucial role for millions of people around the globe.

What you need to know about cybercrime

As technology evolves, so too do the devious methods of cybercriminals who use more sophisticated techniques to dupe unsuspecting victims. This evolving technological landscape can also be problematic when trying to implement an effective cyber security strategy, as software is often updated and may sometimes create loopholes for hackers to infiltrate.

In addition, IT infrastructure has also evolved, with many organisations choosing to migrate their on-premise systems to cloud-based platforms – especially with remote working becoming more popular. In light of this, the design and implementation of this process can lead to vulnerabilities of internal networks and systems – something that many organisations don’t realise until it’s too late. 

With individuals and businesses being exposed to hundreds of thousands of cyber threats on a daily basis, it’s clear that strong cyber security measures and processes are vital for protection from cyber attacks. As mentioned above, cyber attacks continually evolve and pose an ever-present danger for individuals, organisations, and their staff. 

Most cyber attacks are carefully designed to access or destroy confidential information or extort money. As such, these cyber attacks have the potential to destroy business operations as well as damage personal and financial interests – especially when it comes to identity theft.

With that being said, the best defence against cyber attacks is a stringent cyber security system that offers multiple layers of protection spread across networks, software, programs, devices, and computers. 

Read on as we delve into the details.

Why cyber security is important for businesses

Cyber security is an essential component for businesses of all sizes as their networks and systems contain valuable and confidential information that must be safeguarded. Cyber security protocols are specifically designed to protect all categories of business data from damage or theft.

Businesses that neglect to implement a stringent cyber security strategy are left vulnerable to cyber attacks from hackers who will identify those businesses as easy targets. As an increasing number of businesses are choosing to transition to cloud-based services to store their valuable data, this convenience can create vulnerabilities for cyber attackers to exploit.

Some businesses don’t adequately secure their sensitive information when using cloud-based platforms, and this can have devastating consequences when you consider the sophisticated methods that hackers use today. If anything, businesses are at a heightened level of risk and are more likely to be a victim of a cyber attack or data breach if they’re not proactive with their cyber security measures.

Gone are the days when businesses could rely on simple protection methods like firewalls and anti-virus protection to safeguard their business interests from the threat of cybercriminals. Such simple defences can be described as obsolete by hackers who are smart enough to infiltrate systems with such basic protocols in place.

Businesses who implement a stringent cyber security strategy, however, stand a much better chance against cyber attacks as they have multi-layered levels of protection across their networks and systems. Even if you think that your industry is one that cyber attackers may ignore, it’s worth keeping in mind that hackers do not discriminate and will infiltrate wherever they can find value.

Businesses are often faced with cyber attacks through various forms that are cleverly disguised to fool even the most tech-savvy teams. Techniques such as malware, Ransomware, phishing, service denial, privilege escalations, vulnerable software, remote code execution, and injection attacks (such as command injection, SQL injection or cross-site scripting) are the most popular ways that businesses come under cyber attack.

With that being said, solid cyber security measures will ensure that unwarranted attention from hackers is thwarted quickly as these malicious techniques are identified early in the process. Businesses that have implemented cyber security protocols go a long way in protecting their data and networks while preventing unauthorised access to their information. 

In addition, there is improved recovery time in the event of a breach, greater protection for end users and endpoint devices, and enhanced confidence in the company’s reputation and trust from key role players.

How cyber security is different from information technology security

Cyber security is one element of a company’s overall strategy to protect its networks, systems, and data. The security infrastructure of a company typically contains three vital components: information technology (IT) security, cyber security, and network security.

IT security – also called electronic information security – is where data is safeguarded while it’s stored and while it moves through the company’s network. This includes both physical and digital data and offers protection from unauthorised access, use, change, disclosure, removal, or anything else that encompasses malicious intent. 

Cyber security is a subset of IT security and differs in the sense that it only offers protection for digital data on the company’s networks and systems. This protection includes unauthorised access, cyber attacks, and the destruction or theft of data.

Network security is a subset of cyber security and uses both software and hardware to safeguard any data that are sent from a computer or device through the company’s network. Network security helps to protect the IT infrastructure by blocking confidential information from being intercepted, stolen, or destroyed.

Understanding cyber security threats

While there are many different cyber security threats that businesses face daily, they all would fall under one of the following three categories: attacks on confidentiality, integrity, and availability. 

Attacks on confidentiality are carefully designed to steal personal information such as a user’s social security or identification number, bank account information, or credit card information. This information is typically sold or traded on the dark web for other malicious actors to buy and use.

Social engineering is a type of attack on confidentiality where people are manipulated into performing specific actions or parting with confidential information. The most common form of this is a phishing attack that aims to deceive the user by appearing to be an authentic source.

Attacks on integrity are acts of personal or company sabotage, often referred to as leaks. Hackers would typically access confidential information and expose it publicly to cause a loss of confidence or trust in a person or company.

Advanced persistent threats are a type of attack on integrity where an unauthorised user accesses the network and remains undetected with the intention of stealing confidential information.

Attacks on availability are designed specifically to block users from accessing their own information. Their access will only be restored once the victim pays a ransom or fee. For those companies with weak cyber security protocols, they are often coerced into paying these ransoms to avoid halting their business activities – something that hackers are all too aware of.

Malware and Ransomware are two common types of attacks on availability where software is designed to gain access to and destroy part or all of a system or device with the user having no knowledge of its presence. Common malware variants include spyware, keyloggers, true viruses, and worms. Ransomware, on the other hand, includes variants like crypto-malware, lockers, and scareware.

The tmc3 difference

While those who are reliant on technology usually look to safeguard their digital interests, cybercriminals are in overdrive trying to discover vulnerabilities. In fact, information theft is the fastest-growing element of cybercrime globally – underscoring why cybercriminals are becoming more brazen in their attempts to cash in on this lucrative industry.

The pandemic has certainly lent a helping hand to cybercriminals as more businesses adopt remote working models – meaning that a lot more information is being stored on cloud-based platforms. That’s without even mentioning smartphone integration, as well as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, that has created new cyber security vulnerabilities.

At tmc3, we enable businesses to operate securely in an insecure world. We’ve partnered with organisations of all sizes across the public and private sectors to ensure that their cyber security protocols are tailor-made to repel the most vicious cyber attacks around.

Our expert cyber security team has over 60 years of combined experience and specialises in the most stringent cyber security protocols across a diverse range of industries. 

Together with our suite of innovative cyber security products and solutions, our specialist team will help you to understand the complexity of regulations and frameworks, improve your cyber maturity levels, and conduct intensive security testing that will help you to analyse your systems and applications – discovering loopholes and patching them before any cyber attack occurs.

Get in touch with our expert team and learn how tmc3 can make a difference to your business with enhanced protection from cyber attacks and malicious online threats.

I love to help organisations solve data protection challenges. To do this, I transform security and data privacy from being necessary overheads to becoming business enablers. I have enjoyed many leadership roles throughout my career in data privacy, information security, and risk management. I take pride in creating positive outcomes, with over 15 years' experience of exceeding expectations in high pressure environments, both domestically and internationally.