Cyber security – What are we being protected from?

Cyber security is a growing market due to sensitive and confidential information being leaked or hacked into. Recent examples of cyber crime and cyber espionage mean that the demand for security engineers are on the rise.

Cyber crime and securityWhenever and wherever there is any data being stored or transferred, it is vital that only the intended parties have access to it. From a corporate perspective, it is especially crucial when the information being stored or transferred is of a sensitive nature, i.e. intellectual property, confidential business information or sensitive banking information.

There is also a cost associated with the denial of access to a service or certain information, be it temporary or permanent, as well as any reputational damage done to the hacked company. The maintenance of the security of confidential information is a massive market with malicious global cyber activity having an estimated cost between $300 billion and $1 trillion.

Cyber crime

One example of the high cost of cyber crime was Sony’s networks being hacked by an infamous cyber security group LulzSec between April and June 2011; which is still considered to be one of the worst data breaches ever. The hack resulted in the leaking of full names, Sony login details, passwords, emails, home addresses, purchase history and, most significantly, full credit card numbers. The overall cost of the hack has been estimated at approximately $171 million.

Another component of cyber security is what is known as cyber espionage, which is the obtaining of secrets from governments or rival parties for economic, political or military advantage. This is best typified by what is believed to have been an attack by North Korea on six South Korean banks and broadcasters in March 2013 which resulted in around 48,000 computers shutting down, forcing the TV stations and banks to temporarily close.

One area of cyber espionage that is most worrying is attacks on utility companies. For example, The North American Electric Reliability Corporation has issued a public notice warning that the electrical grid is not adequately protected from cyber attack.

What happens now?

Due to increasing tensions between governments, the risks of whistle blowers (such as Wikileaks and Edward Snowden), online fraud and an increasing need for privacy, cyber security is likely to continue to be a growing market. Thus, the demand for experienced security engineers and architects is only likely to increase.

 

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