Information Security

The Basic Tenets of Cybersecurity

There are about 6900 languages spoken on the planet daily. These thousands of languages are thousands of cultures from the smallest community to the largest continent. Even with this vast diversity among the global population, there are some alternative languages and methods for communication that are understood by everybody. For example, the world has mathematics. One apple and another apple are two apples. This is understood worldwide without fail.

As of today, the largest culture by far is that of the internet user. With 7.6 billion humans on Earth, around 3.6 billion of are online and communicating with each other and institutions daily. Thus, another common language everybody shares, but most don’t realize is the networking protocols that the Internet runs on and the social media platforms that ties together—and emojis, don’t forget the emojis.

However, what the internet culture tends to lack is a common understanding to foster true understanding about cybersecurity and threats online. Outside of hardcore cybersecurity and IT people, most people don’t understand the language that revolves around the Internet.

To help the world stay safe online, here are the five laws of cybersecurity.

Law #1: If There Is a Vulnerability, It Will Be Exploited.

Since the first computer bug was discovered, hackers—good and bad—have been looking for ways to get around the laws and framework that govern a computer system, a program or even our society in general.

There are those who will try and hack absolutely everything within their capability. This could be the more basic exploit like the person who figured out how to cover their car’s license plate to go through an automatic toll booth for free. Or this could be the more obscure such as infecting a complex computer network to derail an entire illegal nuclear weapons program. Finding ways around everything for both good and bad purposes is so ubiquitous today. There’s even a term for it—lifehacking.

Law #2: Everything Is Vulnerable in Some Way.

Never assume that anything is safe, nor is anything off the table for hacking anymore. There were a series of massive breaches by corporations that spend millions annually on cyber defense strategies. These corporations hold millions of records on almost everyone in the United States and found on multiple government compliance laws for data security.

For decades, it was just assumed that computer processors are safe and harmless, just doing the job that they were meant to do. However, in the beginning of 2018, it was discovered that these technological workhorses are carrying a serious mess of vulnerability that would allow a malicious hacker to wreak havoc on everyone. From minor to major, the second law is inescapable.

Law #3: Humans Trust Even When They Shouldn’t.

Trust, quite frankly, sucks. Trust is important in everyone’s lives; a society can’t run without it. There are positive expectations of technology and those people that help with it. It is expected that the light switch is going to flip on the light when it is turned it on. It is expected the mechanic to fix our car to actually fix it and not rip us off.

It’s vital to be cautious of the technological infrastructure and online people around us. This is the greatest vulnerability in cybersecurity. Now because of trust, people fall for phishing scams. They believe the $20 antivirus they bought for the computer will turn it into Fort Knox—it won’t. They also believe that the form they’re filling out online is legitimate. It sometimes isn’t. In order to survive the nonstop hacking that takes place, it is necessary to be always cautious and not to be too trusting.

Law #4: With Innovation Comes Opportunity for Exploitation.

The world is full of brilliant people. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone that made the world a whole lot smaller. Bill Gates created a global computer operating system that got humanity on the same technological page. Mark Zuckerberg created a social media platform used by billions daily to share their lives.

However, with these evolutions in innovation in technology come certain exploits. Now, people live in the Age of IoT or Internet of Things. By virtue of this, everyone’s lives have hopefully been made a little easier. New, unique, innovative products are constantly being made to help with everyday life. But one of the biggest examples of innovation exploitation is IoT hacking. In 2016, a virus known as Mirai infected millions of IoT devices worldwide, and then weaponized them against targets, creating some of the largest bandwidth attacks the Internet has ever seen. As the world continues to develop and create amazing new technologies, never forget the lesson of the fourth law.

Law #5: When in Doubt, See Law No. 1.

If there is a vulnerability, it will be exploited. No exceptions. Now this one isn’t a cop-out. Every single issue with cybersecurity in technology stems from a vulnerability of some kind. If we ever forget this, we are doing nothing but asking for trouble. The ability to properly defend ourselves comes from understanding that human nature itself makes these laws immutable. And when we start thinking like a hacker is when we can actually stop them.

Here’s to new common language that will hopefully help in making the world safe.

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