What is cyber security?

Cyber security is all the programs, practices and other measures that protect devices, data and systems from attacks. As the threats are on the rise, cyber security is more important than ever. Read more below!

What is cyber security?

Definition of cyber security

Cyber security (or computer security as it is some­times called) is concerned with securing networks, computer systems and internet-connected devices from a number of threats. Threats to cyber security include cyber attacks and malware, such as trojans, spyware and ransom­ware programs.

As more functions and aspects of important infra­structure rely on computer-based systems and the internet, protecting these from cyber threats is constantly growing in importance. Cyber security is not only a concern of companies and organizations. Individuals should also be aware of cyber attacks and security threats that they should be protected towards.

No one is safe from cyber crime

A common misconception is that cyber criminals are not interested in regular people. Even if you don’t have any­thing you consider worth stealing, this does not stop you from becoming a target of cyber attacks, such as phishing, or ransom­ware. Cyber criminals often choose their victims at random and use automated attacks for sending malicious spam emails, viruses and carry out data breaches or phishing attacks.

In addition to individuals and businesses of all sizes, cyber security is a crucial aspect of countries’ defenses and warfare. After all, hackers and cyber criminals are not a homo­genous group. Hacking and other forms of cyber crime are widely used in organized crime as well as by terrorist organizations and state-sponsored groups of cyber criminals.

Although larger organizations may be more profitable targets to cyber criminals, the consequences of insufficient cyber security measures to individuals are numerous. These include:

  • monetary loss
  • identity theft
  • loss of data
  • account take­over
  • encryption of personal files
  • loss of privacy

Cyber security trends in 2023

As people’s jobs and critical infra­structure are increasingly reliant on computers and the internet, certain trends have emerged. Here are some recent cyber security trends:

  • Improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) have opened new possibilities for detecting and defending against cyber threats.
  • Fully automated attacks generated by easy-to-use tools based on artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots generating scams and phishing emails are bound to appear.
  • The threat posed by ransom­ware has increased. Attackers are also asking for ransom in crypto­currencies which makes them harder to trace.
  • Companies are looking to strengthen their cyber security measures as cyber threats continue to grow in number and size.
  • Mobile devices are becoming more attractive targets for cyber attackers. Individuals need protection against malicious soft­ware on their mobile devices, too.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) connects more and more devices online, offering new possibilities for how to use them. At the same time, the same devices are becoming vulnerable to cyber security threats.

Common cyber attacks and threats to cyber security

As mentioned, some common threats to cyber security include malware and cyber attacks. Here are some other cyber threats that cyber security aims to prevent.

DDoS attacks

DDoS attacks (short for distributed denial of service) aim to over­whelm a server with traffic in order to take down a web­site or a service. When speaking of a DDoS attack, the attack is coming from multiple sources at the same time, whereas a regular DoS (denial of service) attack has a single source.


Phishing is a way to trick people into down­loading virus-infected files or revealing sensitive data, such as pass­words or financial information. A phishing scam tries to disguise itself by making it look like the victim is approached by a legitimate and trust­worthy person or company. A cyber threat such as phishing is also known as social engineering.

Data breaches

Data breaches happen when cyber criminals break into a database full of sensitive information. The criminals can then use the stolen information for account take­over and identity theft.

Checklist for cyber security

As you might have guessed by now, cyber security is an important issue nowadays for both organizations and individuals. With good security measures in place and planning, you too can improve your personal cyber security. Take care of at least the following cyber security measures.

Strong pass­words keep your accounts safe

A generic pass­word that is easy to guess or crack is a low-hanging fruit for cyber criminals. Pass­words such as “pass­word” or “12345” do not require advanced tools to hack. Using your name or some other pass­word that is easy to guess makes you a good target for cyber criminals. Using unique pass­words that contain both upper­case and lower­case letters, as well as numbers and special characters, are much harder to break. The length of your pass­word is another factor that contributes to a safe pass­word.

Create a strong and safe pass­word with F‑Secure’s strong pass­word generator. Consider also using a pass­word management service that allows you to use complex and strong pass­words without having to remember them by heart. F‑Secure ID Protection comes with a pass­word manager that helps you generate and manage pass­words that are both unique and strong.

Look out for threats online

Human error and careless online behavior are exploited by cyber criminals. By clicking an unsafe link or down­loading a sketchy attachment file, you expose your­self to many risks, such as identity theft. Not only do you put your­self at risk, but a small mistake can also lead to a large data leak or infect the entire network at your work­place. This is why companies and organizations should educate their employees about various threats to cyber security.

Protect your devices with an anti-virus

Browsing online and down­loading files without an anti­virus is like driving without a seatbelt. If you are unfortunate enough to be targeted by a cyber attack or stumble upon a malicious web­site, there is nothing to protect you without an anti­virus. An anti­virus program such as F‑Secure Internet Security can both detect and remove harmful files and other threats from your device.

Keep your devices and programs up to date

Cyber criminals are good at finding vulnerabilities in soft­ware and exploiting them. A zero-day attack involves the attacker using an undetected security hole that has not been patched. The vulnerability can be exploited to infect devices with malware and steal sensitive data. By making sure your device is always up to date and you are using the most recent versions of all soft­ware, you can improve your level of cyber security.

Avoid unsafe Wi‑Fi connections

Public Wi‑Fi can be very useful, whether you are looking to work remotely at a local cafe or need a Wi‑Fi connection to down­load larger files on your mobile device in public. However, always make sure to use a VPN when connecting to unknown Wi‑Fi. Unsecure networks put you at risk of being exposed to cyber attacks and malware.

Stay safe with good cyber security measures

Being protected online is now more important than ever. With F‑Secure Total you get full online protection for both your desktop and mobile devices. Stop viruses with Total’s award-winning anti­virus and browse in private with a VPN. Total’s pass­word management and online identity protection help you avoid identity theft and log in to your devices with ease.

Take care of your personal cyber security and try F‑Secure Total for free.

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