Why We Need To Take Cyber Security Serious

Arthur Moses Opio's picture

The word Cyber Security might seem farfetched for very many but today the world is seriously embracing this level of security. As long as you use the internet to purchase anything online, do online banking etc, you are at threat of being attacked. Every week there are vulnerabilities on the software's and applications we use that are being addressed to curb or mitigate cyber attacks. There are a lot of viruses that are being developed to exploit loopholes in systems and networks namely Malware, Worms and many others. It is with such great knowledge that any user stands a chance of not being a soft target because they are informed. Have you ever asked yourself how much technology is evolving, to connect to the world, you don't even need a computer all you need is a Smartphone, Smartphones are easy to move with and can do lots of things, these are mini computers that need protection just like your desktop and laptop, many people use phone apps to access bank details, pay online as well and they aren't immune to malware.
Let us first explore a few questions in mind like;
What is Cyber Security?
It seems everything relies on the internet like; communication (email, cell(Smart)phones), entertainment (digital cable, mp3s), transportation (car engine systems, airplane navigation), shopping (online stores, credit cards), medicine (equipment, medical records), and the list goes on. How much of your daily life relies on computers? How much of your personal information is stored either on your own computer or on someone else's system?
Cyber security involves protecting that information by preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks.
With Insecurity there also come RISKs, Someone could say that I have never experienced any attack so there is really no need to be worried. Forewarned is forearmed you are the right person to be told what to do and how to prepare before an attack. If you have ever lost a laptop and you hadn't backed up your information, you most certainly know the feeling of regret and how impacting it can be if you were probably at a time of submitting your latest PHD research and all of a sudden you have to start a fresh because you have no back up.
Let us look at some risks some are more serious than others;
1. Erasing your entire system
2. Someone breaking into your system and altering your files
3. Someone using your computer to attack others
4. Someone stealing your credit card information and making un authorized purchases
NB. Unfortunately, there's no 100% guarantee that even with the best practices some of these things won't happen to you, but there are steps you can take to minimize the chances.
Here a few recent examples of some of the latest cyber attacks world over
1. Recently the Central Bank Governor of Bangladesh quit his job over $81 Million Heist Read more from this link http://www.securityweek.com/bangladesh-central-bank-governor-quits-over-...
2. Every day an account of a public figure or just yourself is being hacked into by facebook or twitter or any other social media accounts trying to solicit for money, these are called identity theft coupled with phishing scams
3. In 2015 there were a number of attacks that happened, this site brings out the 9 worst attacks, read more from this link http://www.techinsider.io/cyberattacks-2015-12
4. HSBC bank in the UK was hit with a denial of service attack, the internet banking and mobile application could not be accessed, read more from this link http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/29/hsbc-cyber-attack-brings-internet-banking...
5. According to a Cyber Crime Barometer, A uganda police centenary plus awareness campaign paper, under the cyber crime statistics, In a report of Annual Crime and Road safety of 2012, a total of 62 cases were reported and investigated in which about 1.5 billion UGX (579,000 USD) were lost through hacking victims mails among other means.
Furthermore between the month of August and November 2014 only, mobile money frauds caused a loss of over 207 million UGX (80,000 USD) to the users. Within the same year, ATM/VISA frauds led to a loss of over 1.2 billion UGX (460,000 USD) from over 700 victims by use of scheming devices installed onto ATMs located in Kampala and other areas.
Cyber-crimes reported in 2013 were 45 cases compared to 62 cases in 2012. However these resulted into a loss of about 18.1 billion UGX (7 Million USD). This implies that more grave losses were made subsequently despite the reduction in reported cases.The crimes included Electronic frauds, Phishing (password harvesting), Email hacking, pornography/defamation, offensive communication,mobile money frauds, SIM Card swapping and ATM/VISA frauds among others.
Read more from this link http://www.upf.go.ug/cyber-barometer/
This is just to mention but a few.
What is being written about Africa at this about cyber security is serious because internet access has increased with great online presence for individuals, companies, institutions and organizations.
1. An article written by Tomi Oladipo on 17 November 2015 the BBC Monitoring Africa security correspondent on Cyber Security says that Cyber-Crime is Africa's 'Next Big Threat', experts warn read more from this link http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34830724
2. Leonah Mbonimpba who works with NITA-U on 29th January 2016 wrote an article titled "Why Ugandans should worry about cyber threat in 2016" read more from this link http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1415848/ugandans-worry-about-...
What can you and I do?
One of the first steps in protecting yourself is to recognize the risks and become familiar with some of the technological terms associated with cyber attacks.
• Hacker, attacker, or intruder - These terms are applied to the people who seek to exploit weaknesses in software and computer systems for their own gain. Although their intentions are sometimes fairly benign and motivated solely by curiosity, their actions are typically in violation of the intended use of the systems they are exploiting. The results can range from mere mischief (creating a virus with no intentionally negative impact) to malicious activity (stealing or altering information).
• Malicious code - Malicious code, sometimes called malware, is a broad category that includes any code that could be used to attack your computer. Malicious code can have the following characteristics:
• It might require you to actually do something before it infects your computer. This action could be opening an email attachment or going to a particular web page.
• Some forms propagate without user intervention and typically start by exploiting a software vulnerability. Once the victim computer has been infected, the malicious code will attempt to find and infect other computers. This code can also propagate via email, websites, or network-based software.
• Some malicious code claims to be one thing while in fact doing something different behind the scenes. For example, a program that claims it will speed up your computer may actually be sending confidential information to a remote intruder.
Viruses and worms are examples of malicious code.
• Vulnerability - In most cases, vulnerabilities are caused by programming errors in software. Attackers might be able to take advantage of these errors to infect your computer, so it is important to apply updates or patches that address known vulnerabilities
• Another key thing to do is follow up on the latest cyber security news by following authentic sites like dicts.mak.ac.ug, answers.mak.ac.ug/category/security, http://www.securityweek.com/ and cert.ug, that provides Ugandans with the latest info, you can also follow them on social media, you can also follow uganda police on social media, you can also follow Nita-U on social media and visit their website for latest information
• Here is a list of Cyber Security tips that can help you at the moment, follow this link for more http://answers.mak.ac.ug/security/staying-safe-social-networking-sites
• For those looking for cyber insurance, AIG launched that product and you get to more about it from this link http://www.busiweek.com/index1.php?Ctp=2&pI=3932&pLv=3&srI=69&spI=221
• The more we take Cyber Security serious, the more we will manage it.