Cyber security is the protection of computer systems and networks from information disclosure, theft or damage to hardware, software or electronic data.

By Muhammad Ibrahim Noon

Basically, it consists of technological practices and processes that prevent computer systems from being attacked, impaired or granted unauthorized access. It is also referred to as computer security and information technology security.

With the everlasting digitalization and improvements in technology, there is an increase use of computer networks and systems. It results in enormous amount of data exposed on the internet which can be a victim of cyber-attacks leading to security breaches and loss of confidential data. The security breach of 1 billion yahoo users in 2013 is an example of large scale information breaches. Many extortions arise if the computer networks are not protected efficiently. The Hackers take advantage of lack of security and breach the data via “loop holes” in the system. A few common threats to the system include monitoring the actions of the user and gaining access to personal data. Furthermore, mobile banking may lead to financial damage at the hand of hackers. Additionally, increased online communication leads to easy access of personal data of a person and those linked to him. If the hacker gains control of his computer, he can use the data for identity theft. An example is that hackers employed artificial intelligence to steal data of 3.75 million Task Rabbit app users and 141 million people were affected by the apps downtime!

Protecting your computer from threats is not very hard. A user should focus on using a trusted software and having a strong password along with avoiding giving away personal information on the internet. An anti-virus software protects the computer against viruses which tamper data and reduce the performance of a computer. Moreover, an anti-spyware software leaks information to private sources and prevents important data loss. Along with that, a firewall helps us to access the internet while blocking unauthorized traffic and preventing any individual from accessing a computer. A spam filter prevents malicious files from entering a network. Besides, device encryption keeps the data secret and makes it useless to criminals. Not only does the two-factor authentication prevents unauthorised sign-ins but also gives a second level of authentication. All in all, a disaster recovery plan explains on how to recover from an unplanned activity such as a cyber-attack.

Increased digitalization is leading to unlimited amounts of data exposed on the internet. Cyber security protects this data and prevents its damage, disclosure and unauthorized access. Mr Haider Ali Noon, the student ambassador for computer science at University of Huddersfield’s, believes that cyber security is the future of computer technology since large amounts of data is released daily on the internet but less is being done to protect that data. The Government of Pakistan have initiated National Cyber Security Policy-2021 to create a cyber-governance framework in order to develop secure and resilient cyber systems and hence, prevent theft of data.