Data hacking costs the world billions of dollars every year. Cyber attacks range from disrupting the use of computer systems to stealing sensitive economic/social data.
Looking at the context of Nepal itself, as various incidents have become public in the last few months, we need to understand some of the general processes of cybersecurity to be vigilant. The following are some common ways cyberattacks occur:
1) Weaknesses/risks in web software
First of all it important to understand that different levels of software used to develop any system. Some software self-built and some third-party used.
Most of the attacks on web software in which data steal have some level of vulnerability in web software.
Data theft can occur if the data entered by the user in the form, dynamic-URLs, etc. used in the web software not properly tested by the system on the server.
Taking advantage of code errors, hackers can easily extract sensitive data from a database by bypassing the Privilege Protection Logic in the database.
These include attacks such as SQL Injection, Remote File Inclusion, Remote Code Execution. In some cases, data can steal directly from the user’s web browser.
2) Weakness/risk of network level
Users’ usernames, passwords, and other data can steal from a company’s wifi / Lan by abusing the network protocol. In some cases, fake Wi-Fi (fake wifi) made then the user sign-in and data stolen.
3) System software / OS vulnerability/risk
It takes advantage of errors in the computer’s OS to steal data. Most of the attacks have been on older and untested OS. This includes the current ransomware attack.
4) Hardware-level vulnerabilities/risks
Although it not often used in security audits, researchers have found that cyberattacks can be caused by hardware-level errors. For example, when you put your smartphone aside and type it into the computer, you can know what letter is written from the vibration.
5) Staff / Person level weakness/risk
This method, which has the most successful attack so far, also called social engineering. It involves hackers stealing e-mails, phone calls, and malware/viruses that seem to be official on the computer without the user knowing.
Whose fault is it?
Depending on the nature of the attack, software developers, company staff, software operators, network distributors, OS manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, etc. may be to blame.
However, in most cases, attacks caused by a lack of effective security auditing processes during software development or during software implementation phases. Lack of public awareness of cybersecurity is another major reason for the increase in the number of attacks.
What to do to survive?
- Cyber attacks can be avoided if we are aware of some basic practices as users:
1) Use strong passwords (including long and special characters)
2) If your system has a two-factor authentication, use it
3) Do not use open-wifi without knowing the security
4) Different passwords for each system
5) Put a firewall and antivirus in the computer
6) Keep all software updated
7) Do not give your password to others
- Mandatory effective security auditing by all software companies during software development. During the construction of the software, to take data or to do a meticulous study on the point of showing. Use of current best practices, such as forcing users to use strong passwords (long and special characters), using two-level authentication, requesting to receive/send data using SSL, and encrypting and storing data. Is safe
- Make all the staff of the company, big or small, aware of the best practices of cybersecurity. To prepare the cyber policy, protocol, and physical infrastructure of the company and make all the staff fully abide by it.
- Prepare an audit logging mechanism if any company has very sensitive information. In extreme cases, use a method like Honeypot.