Cyber Attacks: A Constant Threat

by NU Online on 1/21/16 12:18 PM

consistentthreatThere is no denying the pervasive role that technology plays in our world. With more information being accessed, saved, and shared online than ever before, the vast potential for cyber crime is not only a serious issue for individuals and businesses — it’s an acute and growing national security threat.

Twenty years ago, cyber attacks were generally isolated incidents perpetuated by criminal hackers and tech-savvy teens. The days of relatively rare cyber crimes are over. As a result, the need for security professionals will likely continue to rise. One report revealed that demand for cyber security jobs grew at more than twice the rate of overall IT jobs from 2007 to 2013, and Cisco’s annual security report estimated the current worldwide talent shortage of one million cyber security professionals.

Cyber threats aren’t just a workplace issue, your personal data and identity can be compromised. Each October the Department of Homeland Security kicks off a month long awareness of cyber security best practices for individuals and their families.

Cyber Security Overview

Cyber security professionals detect, disrupt, and prevent attacks to networks and networked devices. These experts use hardware, software, and processes to protect devices, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access or attacks. Related to, and usually incorporated into the cyber security field is information assurance, which consists of data analysis, identity management, risk management, and incident management.

Areas of Vulnerability

With increasing connectivity and reliance on digital technology, practically every industry is vulnerable to cyber attacks.

  • Federal Government: Cyber threats on government agencies range from disruption of critical operations to compromising personal or confidential data to acts of cyber terrorism.
  • Healthcare Industry: Stealing and selling personal data is a lucrative business, and with the shift to electronic medical records, healthcare providers and insurers are tempting targets.
  • Financial Industry: Account information, addresses, credit or debit card information, and social security numbers are all vulnerable during an attack on a financial institution.
  • Retailers: Recent high profile incidents compromising consumer payment card data have exposed security lapses at national retailers.

Types of Threats

The intent of cyber criminals varies widely from causing discord to activism to monetary gain to terrorism. Cyber attacks can originate from any number of sources and vary on the amount of damage they can cause.

  • Script Kiddies are unskilled amateurs who use existing scripts or programs to reach their goals.
  • Hacking Groups are loose collectives that cause disruption to networks or steal information. Despite the low level of group organization, successful attacks have been launched on major corporations.
  • Hacktivists are activist groups whose hacking activities are politically or socially motivated.
  • Black Hats are expert coders with malicious intentions of gaining access to lucrative or prestigious targets.
  • Nation States employ hackers to attack government infrastructure and intelligence, military, corporations, utilities, and other foreign targets of interest.

Cyber Security at Norwich University

At Norwich, our Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security online degree completion program is designed for working adults in the information technology field who want to further their careers by developing specialized skills in the high-need area of network security. Students can customize their degree by choosing a concentration in computer forensics and vulnerability management or information warfare and security management. As one of the first universities to be recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, Norwich has a longstanding reputation for producing skilled cyber security professionals who are widely sought after by government, military, and private-sector employers.

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Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies offers 12 master’s degrees, five bachelor’s degree completion programs as well as certificate and enrichment programs. Designed to accommodate students’ varied work schedules and lifestyles, our programs are delivered through a virtual and highly interactive learning platform that connects Norwich’s exceptional faculty and curricula to students across the country and around the world.

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