Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cyber Security

The computer was originally created as a harmless aid to do complex processes. Over the years, however, the harmless machine, which is charged with almost limitless potential, has become the ground work for cyber crimes. These crimes, which affect individuals, organizations, and even governments, call for tight cyber security to cut short the possibilities of inflicting further harm. But what is cyber security exactly? And how does this protect the whole cyber community?

The proliferation of cyber crimes

In 2007, a report identified 500,000 computers as “zombies” after being hijacked by hackers. “Zombie” computers respond to the prompting of the hackers and allow them to freely break into the systems and gain access to important files and personal information through backdoors. This can inflict danger—from making unauthorized purchases through someone else’s credit card to imposing threats to the national security.

There is no solid figure just how many affected computers there are now today, but reports said the numbers are higher. In fact, there was not a point of dwindling down; hacking has been projecting an upward trend. Proof to that is the unbelievably high cyber crime rate in 2008.

The current crisis in cyber insecurity puts many banks, airports, hospitals, and governments in the danger zone. It opens more opportunities to identity theft, virus dissemination, system breakdown, and other similar cyber crimes. In a much larger scale, it makes launching highly sophisticated terrorist attacks much easier.

Here comes the rescuer

To avoid such threats, computer users are advised to take cyber security measures. Cyber security is a set of techniques or guides that aim at protecting systems from any form of cyber attacks, which may creep into the system in the form of malware (virus and spyware), intruders, and hackers. Cyber security also lessens the risk of falling prey to Internet frauds, scams, and bogus transactions.

Individual users and organizations are liable to keep their computers updated, loaded with the latest security technologies, and regularly checked by a security technician. The goal here is for every computer owner to be individually responsible for his system’s security. And education plays a major part. Authorities recommend every computer owner to be informed about the latest trends in cyber crimes as well as the latest security technologies to abort any threat of attacks.

There are also efforts from the government, computer companies, digital experts, and other parties to come up with a more secure, stricter, and restructured cyber environment that is regulated by enforced laws and technological systems. With the existing setup, hackers and other cyber criminals reign free in the Internet, but further security and system developments in the cyber community will allow for more fluid Internet usage and transactions with lesser risk for frauds and cyber attacks.

Globally, however, much should be done. Currently, law enforcement faces limitations in many countries for many reasons. In some instances, local concerns and issues overshadow the need for implementing efficient cyber security measures. But cyber security can’t be employed by only two to three governments alone. Cyber crimes affect all nations where the Internet holds a primary place in running the government, military, economy, business, and other vital sectors. And if one nation is heavily compromised, it is not impossible for the world as a whole to become a cyber crime victim.

So, what is cyber security? It is the world’s counterattack to the damaging threats of the virtual world called the Internet. And it calls everyone to action.

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