What Is Cyber Security? A Thorough Definition

What is Cyber Security?

Table of contents

  1. What types of cyber security threats are there?
  2. How defend against cyber attacks
  3. What are the common cyber attack targets?
  4. What are examples of notable data breaches?
  5. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  6. Cyber security careers
  7. How Upguard can improve your cyber security posture

1. What types of cyber security threats are there?

What is a backdoor?

What is a denial of service attack?

What is a direct access attack?

What is eavesdropping?

What is phishing?

What is privilege escalation?

What is social engineering?

What is spoofing?

  • Email spoofing where an attacker forges the “From” address of an email
  • IP address spoofing where an attacker alters the source IP address in a network packet to hide their identity or impersonate a computing system
  • Media Access Control (MAC) address spoofing where an attacker modifies their MAC address of their network interface to pose as a valid user of the network
  • Biometric spoofing where an attack uses fake biometric sample to pose as another user

What is tampering?

What is typosquatting?

What are vulnerabilities?

2. How to defend against cyber attacks

What are the common cyber security measures?

  1. Threat prevention
  2. Threat detection
  3. Incident response
  • Access controls and cryptography to protect system files and sensitive data
  • Hardware and software based firewalls as a network security prevention system shielding access to internal network systems and attacks like packet filtering when properly configured
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) designed to detect in-progress network attacks and assist in post-attack analysis with help from audit trails and logs

What is secure by design?

  • Principle of least privilege: a subsystem should only have access to what it needs to function so if a hacker gains access to that part of the system they have limited access to the entire computer system
  • Automated theorem proving: to prove mathematical correctness of crucial software subsystems
  • Code reviews and unit testing: ensure modules are more secure by peer review where formal correctness proofs are not possible
  • Defence in depth: more than one subsystem needs to be violated to compromise the integrity of the system and its data
  • Default secure settings: systems should be default secure with deliberate, conscious actions from legitimate authorities needed to make it insecure
  • Audit trails: tracking systems designed to outline the cause and extent of a breach, store remotely so intruders are unable to cover their tracks
  • Disclosure of vulnerabilities: vulnerabilities must be disclosed when discovered

What is vulnerability management?

What is two factor authentication?

What are hardware security mechanisms?

  • USB dongles: used to prevent unauthorized access to a computer or other software creating an encryption scheme that is harder to replicate than simply copying software to another machine
  • Intrusion-aware computer cases: detect when a computer case is opened and alerts the end-user when the computer is booted up
  • Drive locks: software tools that encrypt hard drives
  • Disabling USB ports: prevents unauthorized access to an otherwise secure computer
  • Mobile phones: built-in capabilities like Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy (LE), Near field communication (NFC) and biometric validation offer new secure ways to connect to access control systems like access to secure buildings

What is end-user security training?

What is incident response planning?

  1. Preparation: stakeholders need to understand procedures for handling computer security incidents or compromises before hand
  2. Detection and analysis: suspicious activity must be identified and investigated, prioritizing a response based on impact
  3. Containment, eradication and recovery: affected systems must be isolated to prevent escalation, limit impact, removing malware and finding the root cause of the attack then steps must be taken to restore systems and data to pre-attack conditions
  4. Post incident activity: post mortem analysis is done to improve the incident response plan for future incidents

3. What are the common cyber attack targets?

Financial systems

Utilities and industrial equipment


Consumer devices and the Internet of Things




Medical systems

4. What are examples of notable data breaches?

5. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework

6. Cyber security careers

What is a security analyst?

What is a security engineer?

What is a security architect?

What is a security administrator?

What is a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)?

What is a Security Consultant/Specialist/Intelligence?

7. How Upguard can improve your cyber security posture



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