Cybersecurity can be a tough concept to wrap your head around about the principles of cybersecurity. It’s constantly evolving, and terms like firewall and encryption get thrown around without much explanation. As it turns out, there are some core principles of cybersecurity that will help you understand the bigger picture—and the latest security threats—better than ever before. Here are the 4 principles of cybersecurity to get you started on your new career in tech and cybercrime investigation.
What are the 4 principles of cybersecurity?
- Identity Management
- Network Security
- Device Security
- Application Security
1) Identity Management
Without a clear identity strategy, your company can’t be sure that it’s communicating with—and only with—the right people. And if your employees don’t know who is or isn’t allowed to access sensitive data, you run an even higher risk of a data breach. It all comes down to how you handle authentication and verification; strong strategies for both will help make sure that bad actors can’t impersonate good ones.
A multifactor authentication approach can ensure that nobody gains access to your data unless they have more than one form of identification, such as a username and password, or biometrics such as fingerprint or facial recognition. Verification is also important; if you identify people with biometrics, for example, you’ll need to confirm it’s them by requiring them to provide additional information after they log in. This helps make sure that people can’t get into your system just by stealing someone else’s credentials.
This refers to any security measures a company takes on its networks (like wireless, mobile, or wired), as well as how it protects and isolates different network components. The goal is to protect your systems and data from potential threats that can occur over those network connections, like an attacker accessing sensitive information on a server. Any vulnerabilities in your system or program code could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to your system. Network security aims to prevent attacks from ever reaching their target by controlling who and what is allowed on that network, monitoring activity on these connections in real-time, and alerting you when something malicious has been detected.
One key network security measure is firewall management. A firewall is a way to control traffic entering and leaving your network, and you can configure them for a variety of purposes: for example, you might block connections from devices with unauthorized IP addresses or prevent unauthorized users from accessing certain services. However, there are also more complex options like creating virtual private networks (VPNs) that allow authorized users to connect remotely while encrypting all data transmitted across these connections. To ensure maximum protection, it’s best to combine different types of firewalls in your system—one at your internet service provider, one on each server or computer on your network, and possibly one on any wireless access points you may have.
3) Device Security
Cybersecurity experts use a framework called DREAD to evaluate potential threats. It stands for: The danger posed by a threat, also known as its Danger The likelihood that it will happen, or its Readiness Whether you can recover from it, or your Effectiveness How bad it could be, or its Damage Threats come in many forms and with different characteristics. Some represent serious risks that affect people and businesses all over the world. For example, fraudsters target consumers by stealing credit card information to make unauthorized purchases. Others target specific industries through malware designed to steal intellectual property and business secrets—like how criminals stole $400 million worth of data from Yahoo! in 2016.
Malware is one of many types of threats that affect security. Others include DDoS attacks—In a DDoS attack, criminals use botnets or other malicious software to flood a target with traffic until it can no longer respond. Phishing—Criminals will often send email messages or call victims posing as legitimate businesses and try to get them to click on links or open attachments that contain malware, infecting their devices with viruses and malware. In most cases, phishing works because people don’t recognize where emails really come from and simply assume they’re coming from trusted sources.
4) Application Security
The most important step to securing any application is putting a secure development process in place. Use it as an opportunity to find issues before you put your application into production. It doesn’t matter how secure your code may be, or how great you think your detection systems are; if you don’t take a proactive approach, attackers will exploit vulnerabilities for their own gain. And yes, despite what people think about hackers, they do actually care about getting in and out undetected, so implementing some sort of security alert system—either within your organization or with a third-party service—is vital.
When it comes to securing your application, start with a good development process. Secure coding standards ensure that each layer is designed and implemented in a way that reduces the attack surface and helps detect issues as they occur. Your development process should be iterative and incorporate security testing at each step. Having an automated build-test-release system that incorporates testing can improve efficiency, save money, and prevent errors from getting into production code.