Cyber security is any technology, measure or practice that prevents cyberattacks and mitigates their impact. Essentially, it protects computer systems, software applications, data and devices against viruses, malware, ransomware, hacking attacks and other forms of cyberattacks aimed at disrupting business operations, corrupting or stealing sensitive information and potentially bringing critical processes to a halt.
As human society becomes more digital, everything from global economics to medical treatment to manufacturing and beyond is facilitated by computers and other electronic devices connected to the Internet. This provides tremendous benefits to us all but also opens up new opportunities for threat actors to infiltrate those computer systems, whether for financial gain (hacking for profit), extortion, political or social motives (known as hacktivism) or just plain vandalism.
The most effective defences to a cyberattack focus on making it more difficult for attackers to penetrate security systems in the first place. This can include things like ensuring that only authorized personnel are allowed access to a computer, using encryption or other methods for encoding and transmitting data, and creating system architectures such as microkernel operating systems that allow only the minimum amount of code to run at the highest level of privilege while running other components of the operating system in safer, less privileged user space.
In addition, many cybersecurity jobs can be performed remotely thanks to advances in remote working technologies and secure communication systems. This is a big advantage to those looking to start or build upon their careers in this field. Managed Detection and Response