Data Hacking, Cybersecurity, and Preventive Measures.
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 is crucial to understand that different levels of software are used to develop any system. Some software is self-built, and some third-party is used. Most of the attacks on web software in which data is stolen have some level of vulnerability in web software. Data theft can occur if the system on the server does not adequately test the data entered by the user in the form, dynamic-URLs, etc. used in the web software. 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 be stolen directly from the user’s web browser. These include attacks like CSRF, XSS.
2) Weakness/risk of network level
Users’ usernames, passwords, and other data can be stolen from a company’s Wi-Fi/ LAN by abusing the network protocol. In some cases, fake Wi-Fi (fake Wi-Fi) is made, and the user is signed in, and data is stolen. This includes an attack called man-in-the-middle.
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 is not often used in security audits, researchers have found that hardware-level errors can cause cyberattacks. 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 been the most successful attack so far, is also called social engineering. It involves hackers stealing e-mails, phone calls, malware/viruses that seem to be official, and stealing data without the user’s knowledge.
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 are caused by a lack of sufficient security auditing processes during software development or software implementation phases. Lack of public awareness of cybersecurity is another primary reason for the increase in the number of attacks.
What to do to survive?
A) 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) Your current password may have been stolen, so to check it, go to https://haveibeenpwned.com and keep your online account to see the details.
6) Put a firewall and antivirus in the computer
7) Keep all software updated
8) Do not give your password to others
B) To make effective security auditing mandatory for 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 unique characters), using two-factor authentication, requesting/receiving data using SSL, encrypting, and storing data is safe.
C) To 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.
D) To prepare audit logging mechanism if any company has sensitive information. In extreme cases, use a method like Honeypot.