The world we live in is becoming more and more heavily computerized with every passing day. Slowly but surely, each and every aspect of our lives is being ‘infiltrated’ by technology, as increased digitization begins to expand into areas of day to day life that have always involved a more human touch. Every device we use is not only becoming more and more advanced as time passes by, but they are also becoming a part of something called the internet of things. The internet of things is the phenomenon in which all electronic devices are becoming wirelessly connected through the internet, including everything from garage door openers to refrigerators. Everything is becoming part of this, in every area of our lives, from medical implants to the locks on our front doors. As a result of almost every part of our day to day lives becoming a sophisticated wireless device, each one of those things is now going to be something vulnerable to outside interference and cyber attacks.
By definition, a cyber attack is a term that refers to any effort being made to gain access to and potentially modify or display some kind of information found on a computer or a network.
More specifically, it is a deliberate assault aimed against personal home computers, infrastructure, or computer information systems through the process of hacking. Essentially, any individual or group or even nation that attempts to take advantage of a digital breach into a system that they are not authorized to have access to is guilty of this kind of cyber attack. The potential scale and impact of cyber attacks has increased drastically over the past three decades, as more and more information began to be stored digitally. The pace at which everything has become so heavily computerized has unfortunately outpaced the rate at which data security has been improving, leaving more and more people across the world vulnerable to cyber attacks.
In the first few months of the last year, tens of billions of digital records were stolen or otherwise affected by some kind of cyber attack. Some of the most well known instances of cyber attacks have been perpetrated by the governments of foreign nations, seeking to gain some kind of advantage over their enemies and allies alike. China has become particularly notorious throughout the world for their coordinated acts of global cyber warfare, a field in which it is arguable that they have indeed surpassed the United States’ capabilities. Because most individuals are so ill informed about cyber security and cyber attacks, it is almost shockingly easy for hackers to gain access to potentially dangerous information. By a very significant margin, the single greatest vulnerability in the security of computers and computer systems is the human element. No matter how sophisticated the security measures in place are, and how advanced the software that makes up the security is, the users of the computer make mistakes like using USB drives they found lying around or using the same password for everything. Cyber security and the threats we face in the digital world have already become more dangerous than most people imagine.