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Best Practices for Cybersecurity: A 2024 Guide

Best Practices for Cyber Security

The cost of cybercrimes globally rises annually as nefarious characters devise new ways to compromise and exploit individuals and organizations. As such, cybersecurity is the topmost concern for all organizations looking to increase their digital footprint. Naturally, cybersecurity professionals have become highly sought after.

But what exactly is cybersecurity?

That’s what we will address in this article. We will go through the concept of cybersecurity, its evolution, and its importance. We will also cover the individual and organizational best practices. We will discuss the importance of choosing the right online cybersecurity course, such as a cybersecurity bootcamp, to ensure you have the proper knowledge and skills to implement best practices for cybersecurity successfully.

What’s Cybersecurity All About?

Cybersecurity is a practice utilized to protect digital services, applications, and devices from malicious attacks. It is a discipline that delves into the various processes and systems that people use to ensure the safety of their data and networks from the multiple types of cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity has its roots in the cat-and-mouse chase kind of computer programs developed by Bob Thomas and Ray Tomlinson, both employees at U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET)—the first public packet-switched computer network.

In 1971, Bob Thomas released a computer program called Creeper on ARPANET. Ray Tomlinson created another program called the Reaper to follow, identify, and delete the Creeper wherever it went in the ARPANET. This was the first instance of a computer worm and an anti-virus.

The advent of multiple computer systems resulted in an increase in software attacks, primarily via viruses pretending to be games. More than 15 years later, in 1987, we witnessed the commercial release and use of malware such as Flushot Plus and Anti4us.

The rise in internet use from the 1990s was the perfect opportunity for malicious actors to extend their scope of nefarious attacks beyond regions and devices. There was an exponential rise in cyberattacks on devices, networks, websites, and financial transactions. Consequently, cybersecurity tools such as advanced anti-virus programs, Secure Socket Layers (SSL), and HyperText Transfer Protocol Secures (HTTPS) evolved.

Also Read: Reviewing Careers in Cybersecurity in 2024

The recent years have seen many attacks on clouds, automotive hacking, data breaches, cyber warfare, and AI. For example, the manufacturing industry was the most affected in 2022, having encountered 24.8 percent of the cyberattacks. Consequently, various cybersecurity measures are steadily gaining ground, including risk-based vulnerability management, identity and asset management, multi-factor authentication, real-time data monitoring, and zero trust architecture (ZTA).

Thus, the cybersecurity landscape is the all-encompassing collection of possible risks and threats identified for each device, sector, network, and application type. The landscape includes every potential attack that each industry can encounter, such as phishing, scams, identity theft, ransomware attacks, hacking computer networks, and internet fraud. There has been a rise in some other types of cybercrimes like cyberbullying, cyberstalking, software piracy, and social media fraud.

For example, in 2022, the healthcare industry experienced about 5.8 percent of ransomware attacks and approximately $11 million in data breaches. Based on this information, the cybersecurity landscape helps an organization’s top management plan and incorporate appropriate measures for any and all types of cyberattacks.

Why Cybersecurity Matters So Much

Increased digitalization has connected all people in one way or another, such as through organizations, social media, etc. Naturally, cybercriminals’ opportunities to hack into any device have become far easier. In fact, Gartner has predicted that the software supply chains of 45 percent of organizations globally will have suffered attacks by 2025. Consequently, cybersecurity has become a top priority for organizations and individuals alike.

Organizations require appropriate cybersecurity measures as almost all data generated during regular operations are stored on the network or cloud. Hence, cybersecurity is crucial to prevent unauthorized access to critical information, personal records, and strategic secrets. Additionally, they need to ensure that the appropriate private and public network is used to store highly vital data.

Almost everyone with internet access has substantial personal data and passwords stored on their phones and laptops. Cyberattacks may lead to identity fraud, duplication of financial information, and malicious hacking into personal social media accounts. In 2022, the phishing attacks rose by almost 61 percent. This results in financial loss, a negative impact on reputation, and unwarranted emotional distress. Hence, cybersecurity measures must be undertaken at an individual level.

So, how can one avoid being in the eye of the cybercrime storm?

Also Read:How To Get Into Cybersecurity in 2024? A Complete Guide

Best Practices for Cybersecurity

Any cybercrime is successful only when a gateway into the system or network exists. Here are a few cybersecurity practices that one can use to prevent such attacks.

  • Use unique and strong passwords based on something only you are aware of. Basing them on information that is commonly known is one of the most common issues leading to account hacking.
  • Include numbers, alphabets, special characters, spaces, and multiple language characters to ensure a unique password.
  • Use a password manager to store your passwords if you consider writing them particularly unsafe.
  • Be cautious of strange and unrecognizable links from unknown email addresses or phone numbers. Do not panic and click a link because it says you will lose access to your bank account.
  • Use multi-factor authentication, even if it requires a few more minutes to access your files and accounts.
  • Ensure your devices and systems have appropriate anti-virus software and firewalls in place.
  • Keep your systems regularly updated. Check for auto-update options, especially if they have an in-built security option.
  • Use a secure file-sharing tool to share crucial files with sensitive information. Add options to make the file available for viewing and only for a specific period so that you know who is accessing the file and when.
  • Make online purchases via wallets, unified payment interfaces, and credit or debit cards in that order. This reduces the risk of anyone getting direct access to your bank account.
  • Avoid sharing personal details on social media, such as birthdays, addresses, anniversaries, etc.
  • Be aware of the multiple forms of phishing and follow the ‘Stranger Danger’ motto when interacting with an unknown person on social media.
  • Only access websites that seem familiar and fake.
  • Avoid clicking on advertisements or fake alerts of ‘Your storage is full’ popping up on your screen.
  • Download useful information from legitimate websites and avoid accessing potentially dangerous material, especially if you use your computer for professional work.
  • Ensure you back up your data regularly and in multiple locations. This will reduce the impact of any data loss.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi for critical operations. If you need one, ensure you use a virtual private network (VPN) with it, which will encrypt the data transferred between the server and the device.
  • Check that your Bluetooth is disabled if you are not actively using it.
  • Delete adware from the devices, as adware tends to extract your browsing information.
  • If you use a pen drive or external hard drive, scan it immediately after connecting it to your device. Avoid copying information directly onto your device without verifying its authenticity.
  • Avoid using pirated versions of games or media.
  • Ensure your website has the appropriate SSL certificate and ‘HTTPS’ in the URL.

While these cybersecurity practices apply to individuals, some are unique to organizations. Let’s go through some of them.

  • Invest in advanced cybersecurity measures.
  • Conduct regular cybersecurity audits to identify potential and existing risks.
  • Provide training to employees to follow individual best practices.
  • Invest in upskilling the cybersecurity professionals in your organization to ensure a continued improvement in security.
  • Use the services of a ‘white hat’ hacker who can help detect the unknown flaws in your cybersecurity infrastructure.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.
  • Ensure the cybersecurity guidelines are communicated and enforced throughout the organization.
  • Plan how the data should be distributed through the organization’s networks. Decide the extent of access to be given to various levels of personnel.

Also Read:Cybersecurity Job Description: A Complete Guide

Rise of Cybersecurity Career and How Certification Helps

The cybersecurity field has witnessed the development of a massive ecosystem that ensures a streamlined creation and implementation of numerous cybersecurity products and measures. The number of professionals in this ecosystem is predicted to increase by 32 percent by 2032. Multiple roles make up the cybersecurity field, such as:

  • Security Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Consultant
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • IT Architect
  • Security Specialist

Each role requires expertise in different aspects of the field, such as cryptography, malware analysis, network security strategies, and offensive security. It also requires exposure to real-world examples and a gradual knowledge building accompanied by relevant work experience.

This has led to the evolution of multiple cybersecurity certifications. They are available as part-time or full-time courses. Some are offered through accredited international cybersecurity societies, while others are delivered by top-quality institutes.

The certification enables access to industry experts who can guide the participants through the theory and its practical implications. The curriculum of the certifications is also typically non-traditional, providing enough freedom to learn about the most current trends and concepts. Moreover, mentioning completed certifications indicates that the person is willing to upskill or re-skill in the ever-evolving cybersecurity field. A better job with a higher pay in the six-figure bracket is a natural and desirable consequence.

Learn Essential Skills for a Rewarding Career in Cybersecurity

Does cybersecurity seem increasingly appealing? Now is the perfect time to enter and advance in this field. The need for cybersecurity expertise will only grow with developments such as AI and cloud computing.

Choosing an expert-led cybersecurity program is the key to learning how to implement best practices for cybersecurity. Enroll today to learn from industry leaders on exclusive projects such as asset and inventory management and system administration. You will get to work on tools like BurpSuite, Nmap, Metasploit, and Wireshark. Boost your career by building digital forensics, identity management, network security, risk management, and vulnerability assessment skills.

You might also like to read:

How to Build and Implement Cybersecurity Skills

How to Become a Cybersecurity Engineer? A Complete Guide

How to Become an Ethical Hacker: A Complete Guide

A Guide on How to Get into Cybersecurity

What is Checksum in Cybersecurity? A Beginner’s Guide

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