November 9, 2021 | By Keisha Kaba

Importance of Cybersecurity


Imagine driving a car that has no brakes. Now imagine living in a country where actions have no consequences. These situations are terrifying to most of us because they imply a loss of control.

The internet is a wonderful thing. It gives us access to an unimaginable amount of information, enabling us to expand our knowledge freely. But this freedom is also available to people who have no intention of putting it to good use. The internet that my sister uses to play video games is the same internet that is used by a man living halfway across the world trying to influence her.

That is the purpose of cybersecurity – to restore control. It is the practice of defending computer systems, devices, networks, and data from digital attacks. This sounds super technical, right? Well, it is true that cybersecurity has a large technical component, but it also has a lot to do with human behaviour. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly innovative in their use of human psychology to trick unsuspecting targets into revealing personal information. This is what makes cyber awareness so incredibly important today.

Maybe you’re thinking, “it’s unlikely that I’ll be hacked, I have nothing of value to offer.” If you believe this, unfortunately, you’re exactly what cybersecurity criminals are looking for. Letting your guard down makes it easier for them to manipulate you. They may not profit from you directly, but say your email account is hacked, and the hacker decides to send an email with a malicious link or attachment to someone who trusts you. Since the receiver knows you, they would remain unsuspicious of the link or attachment and may open it, leading to a security breach. Now, if this person does have assets that are profitable to the hacker, they would be able to seize them. It’s important to follow good cybersecurity practices for your safety as well as the safety of the people you know.

The fact is that every piece of software has a vulnerability, and every vulnerability will be exploited. The risks can be mitigated by being vigilant and careful at all times. The good news is that cybersecurity specialists have already come up with systems to protect your data, such as firewalls, antimalware, encryption, and intrusion detection systems, and are constantly working towards making cybersecurity easy for you.

Even so, cybersecurity experts are almost always playing a game of catch-up. A vulnerability can only be fixed when it is found, and it is only found when someone is actively looking for it. Therefore, the goal should not be to design a ‘perfect’ security system, rather a strategic one, which will help you prevent most attacks, allow you to recognize a breach quickly and react to it efficiently.

In a world where technology has permeated every sphere of our existence, it has become imperative for us to be aware of the risks we face and the precautions we can take to ensure the security of our personal information, financial information, medical information, and intellectual property.

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