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Cybersecurity 101: Introducing Cybersecurity and Cyberthreats

By: Lea Ysabel Q. Evangelista and Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

The current situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed everyone to change their daily habits in coping with the new normal setup. People now must rely heavily on the internet to complete day-to-day tasks from home.

As such, social media, messaging apps, and video conferencing apps are more critical in communicating with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as in advertising businesses and non-profit initiatives. Online banking and mobile wallets are becoming the preferred option to pay for bills, transact with clients, and purchase essentials.

However, as convenient as these online services may seem, cybercriminals are lurking to take advantage of unsuspecting and vulnerable users in a myriad of ways, which is why everyone must be familiar with a crucial part of the tech field – cybersecurity.

As defined by Kaspersky, a multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, cybersecurity is “the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks.” It has different components i.e. network security, application security, information security, operational security, disaster recovery and business continuity, and end-user education.

Network security refers to protecting a computer network from cyber attackers and malware. Application security is about defending software and devices from threats. Information security is concerned with upholding the integrity and privacy of stored and transmitted data. Operational security involves the processes and decisions to protect data assets.

Meanwhile, organizations ensure that their business can survive cybersecurity incidents by having a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy. Lastly, end-user education is about teaching online users how they can respond to cyberattacks.

Kaspersky also defined cybercrimes as crimes committed in the digital setting targeting a computer, computer network, or network device. On a related note, Cisco Systems Inc. differentiated cyberattacks from cybercrimes as being malicious and deliberate attempts by an individual or organization to harm the information system of another individual or organization.

Some common cyberattacks include phishing, smishing, malware, and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. Well-known examples under cybercrime include hacking, voyeurism, identity theft, and scams. These acts have led to many people losing important information, assets, and their personal data.

In an online news article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer last July, Justice Undersecretary Markk L. Perete, the head of the Department of Justice’s anti-cybercrime office, stated that the government’s law enforcement authorities have determined that online selling scams, misinformation to cause panic amongst the masses, and phishing were three of the most usual cybercrimes recorded from the months of March to June of this year.

Engr. Eric B. Blancaflor, a CompTIA Security+ certified professor of the Cybersecurity track in the Information Technology program of Mapúa University, opted for students to be wary and knowledgeable in how they use their online accounts as potential threats have loomed over in the past few months.

“With the pandemic where there are increased online activities, definitely increase in cyber threat and the risks…that goes along with… [these] incidents will go even more higher. This is why it is even more important to be knowledgeable enough in protecting your data, resources and identity whenever you use Internet services,” the cybersecurity expert emphasized. 

In the upcoming companion article, the common cyberattacks will be further discussed, as well as measures on how to be secure while on the internet.

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