What is cyber security?

Cybersecurity refers to a set of techniques used to protect the integrity of networks, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.

According to Forbes, the global cybersecurity market is expected to reach 170 billion by 2020. This rapid market growth is being fueled by an array of technology trends, including the onslaught of initiatives with ever-evolving security requirements, like “bring your own device” (BYOD) and the internet of things (IoT); the rapid adoption of cloud-based applications and workloads, extending security needs beyond the traditional data center; and stringent data protection mandates, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the National Institute of Security Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework.

Why Cybersecurity Is Required
The core functionality of cybersecurity involves protecting information and systems from major cyberthreats. These cyberthreats take many forms (e.g., application attacks, malware, ransomware, phishing, exploit kits). Unfortunately, cyber adversaries have learned to launch automated and sophisticated attacks using these tactics – at lower and lower costs. As a result, keeping pace with cybersecurity strategy and operations can be a challenge, particularly in government and enterprise networks where, in their most disruptive form, cyberthreats often take aim at secret, political, military or infrastructural assets of a nation, or its people. Some of the common threats are outlined below in more detail.

Cyberterrorism is the disruptive use of information technology by terrorist groups to further their ideological or political agenda. This takes the form of attacks on networks, computer systems and telecommunication infrastructures.

Cyberwarfare involves nation-states using information technology to penetrate another nation’s networks to cause damage or disruption. In the U.S. and many other nations, cyberwarfare has been acknowledged as the fifth domain of warfare (following land, sea, air and space). Cyberwarfare attacks are primarily executed by hackers who are well-trained in exploiting the intricacies of computer networks, and operate under the auspices and support of nation-states. Rather than “shutting down” a target’s key networks, a cyberwarfare attack may intrude into networks to compromise valuable data, degrade communications, impair such infrastructural services as transportation and medical services, or interrupt commerce.

Cyberespionage is the practice of using information technology to obtain secret information without permission from its owners or holders. Cyberespionage is most often used to gain strategic, economic, political or military advantage, and is conducted using cracking techniques and malware.

Source: Palo Alto Networks