Cybersecurity Technology has become a fundamental part of all areas of our life, including business.

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Technology has become a fundamental part of all areas of our life, including business. Companies and businesses now rely on technology in their operations to help them increase efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and to cut down costs. Instead of writing up information on thousands of sheets of paper for business records, the company can put all these in computer files that are much easier to organize and sort through. It is difficult to imagine what the world would be without computers, emails, and many other related technologies that have made life so much easier. However, with all the benefits of technology also come many dangers. Criminals and cyber attackers use malware and ransomware to attack businesses and access crucial information that is sometimes confidential and essential to smooth operations.

Cybersecurity refers to methods and activities put in place to protect computers, programs, networks, and data from access by unauthorized parties who may want to exploit them. Because storing data on the internet, computers, and computer networks are standard procedures; criminals try to access them for many reasons. These include stealing information used in other areas such as financial fraud, identity theft, and demand ransom from any damaging or incriminating information. Common types of threats to cybersecurity include malware and ransomware (Abomhara 2015). Ransomware is used to lock or encrypt a company or other entity’s data until they pay a ransom demanded by the attackers. A person, business, or company cannot access or use any of their information, and if they cannot crack the ransomware, they have to pay or have all their data destroyed. Malware includes viruses and Trojan horses that prevent the efficient functioning of systems and also provide access to data.

Cybersecurity has a significant impact on identity protection. There are four major areas of cybersecurity, which are application, network, and information security, and the fourth is disaster recovery. Information security addresses the issue of identity protection. Identity theft has become a common issue. It a criminal act in which a fraudster gains access to personal information about a person such as their driver’s license, social security number, and passport information so that they can impersonate a person for whatever reason. Identity theft can be classified into different categories, such as social security identity theft, child identity theft, financial identity theft, medical identity theft, insurance identity theft, among others (Kuipers & Fabro 2006). These categories are based on what the stolen information will be used for. Because most of the data concerning all areas of people’s lives, including financial, medical, and other personal data can be found on computer systems, criminals try to access this information to suit their purposes. Cybersecurity helps people to protect important identity information so that no one impersonates them. On a business or company level, impostors can access systems pretending to be authorized personnel after accessing their information.

Cybersecurity affects modern management and leadership strategies. A PwC report that surveyed responses from 3000 business leaders across 81 countries found that the majority of them were ill-prepared for any type of cyber attack, which is quite alarming. The two major leadership types are transactional and transformational. Transactional leaders try to maintain the status quo, ensuring continuous running of day to day operations. Transformational leaders, on the other hand, look to the future and develop strategies to address potential issues so that the business can perform even better. Transformational kinds of leaders are the ones better suited to address issues of cybersecurity because they try to identify potential problems and prepare responses in advance (Hathaway 2012). Companies will, therefore, look to hire management with this kind of leadership style.

Cybersecurity systems are put in place to provide protection to data and systems within a business or company, and these come with advantages as well as disadvantages. Anti-virus and anti-malware systems are a necessary part of any cybersecurity system. The identify viruses and other malicious files and remove them. They work in real time to identify potential threats. The disadvantage is that updates can consume a lot of time and interfere with the normal operations of the system. Additionally, they need to be continuously updated because criminals are always working at new types of malware. They are also subject to false positives that can block and destroy legitimate files in the system. Password authentication systems are another form of protection that is widely used mainly in storing sensitive information (Cherdantseva et al. 2016). A secure password provides a reasonable measure of security, but the disadvantage is that if another person manages to crack it, the real owner will be locked out of access for a considerable time. Brute force attacks also crack passwords by using every possible combination of characters until the right one is found. Biometric systems have become more popular because they use biological information as proof of identity, which makes it difficult to infiltrate. The danger of this system is that they require expensive hardware and software, and it can compromise the biological data stored in the system.

In addressing cybersecurity, organizational leadership faces certain risks. One of these is that some cybersecurity programs may interfere with the normal working of company systems; for example, they may take significant periods of time updating and scanning systems. In addition to these, there is no way to be completely bullet-proof when it comes to cybersecurity. Measures are only put in place to improve preparedness, and companies still run the risk of getting attacked. An example of cybersecurity failures happened in 2017 to a credit-reporting agency, Equifax (Berghel 2017). Cyber attackers gained access to the financial information of millions of Americans, resulting in one of the most serious breaches in history. The main reason for the attack was the lax cybersecurity systems that the company had. For a company that holds such sensitive information for its customers, one would expect that they would invest more in their security efforts.

The hackers first gained access to the system through a customer complaint portal, from where they could access other servers because many passwords were stored in plain text. For months, the attackers kept stealing data from Equifax due to the failure to renew an encryption certificate. Based on my knowledge and information about the attack, the situation would have been avoided if the company put in place basic security measures such as segmenting systems, encrypting passwords, and renewing their encryption certificates on time. Companies that handle crucial and sensitive customer information must recognize the responsibility to protect such information to prevent identity theft and other incidents.

In conclusion, cybersecurity is an important issue with the increasing reliance on technology to manage and store data. Companies and businesses need transformational kinds of leaders who can identify potential future threats and then come up with procedures to address them before they happen. Some of the standard cybersecurity systems used include password authentications, biometric identification, and anti-virus and anti-malware systems. These provide security, but they also have some disadvantages. The breaching of Equifax’s cyber systems shows how companies must work hard to ensure they implement necessary cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive personal information. Technology has improved efficiency in the operations of businesses and companies, but they must also be aware of the threats that come with these advantages.

References

Abomhara, M. (2015). Cyber security and the internet of things: vulnerabilities, threats, intruders and attacks. Journal of Cyber Security and Mobility, 4(1), 65-88.

Berghel, H. (2017). Equifax and the latest round of identity theft roulette. Computer, 50(12), 72-76.

Cherdantseva, Y., Burnap, P., Blyth, A., Eden, P., Jones, K., Soulsby, H., & Stoddart, K. (2016). A review of cyber security risk assessment methods for SCADA systems. Computers & security, 56, 1-27.

Hathaway, M. E. (2012). Leadership and responsibility for cybersecurity. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 71-80.

Kuipers, D., & Fabro, M. (2006). Control systems cyber security: Defense in depth strategies (No. INL/EXT-06-11478). Idaho National Laboratory (INL).