Why Is Cyber Security Important?

Why Is Cyber Security Important?
Table Of Contents

If you had a diary that was home to your deepest, darkest secrets, would you leave it lying on your bed, open to the page about how you stole cookies from the pantry? No. You’d keep that book locked and hidden beneath your dresser, and then you’d hide the key. And if your mom ever found it, you’d do everything you could to make sure she couldn’t read it. 

Cyber security is sort of the same idea. With all of your sensitive information online, like credit cards and phone numbers, you want to protect it as much as possible. Your lock and key come in the form of a variety of defense tactics like strong passwords, updated software, and second phone number apps. And your snooping mom becomes much more of a threat in the form of hackers and malicious software. 

So, why is cybersecurity important? Learning how to protect against cyberattacks and prevent data breaches is essential to keeping your personal data safe. And we’re here to help with your first, second, and third lines of defense. 

What Is Cybersecurity? 

You know cybersecurity is important. We’ve been hearing for years how it keeps your online data safe from cybercriminals who try to steal or corrupt it. But let’s take a step back — what is cybersecurity? 

This term refers to the tech systems that actively work to protect devices and personal data from cyber threats, including malware and hackers. You know, the bad guys. 

You might be thinking that because you’re not an Oscar-winning actor or a known billionaire (or maybe you are, in which case, good job), hackers aren’t interested in your data. But that’s far from the truth. 

Cybercriminals are looking for any and all potentially useful information. Your social security number may become part of an attempted identity theft. Your email may be targeted by phishing attacks in the hopes that you’ll give out your bank account information. 

Your intellectual property, including your really great movie idea, may be stolen. And we wouldn’t want cinema to miss out on a generation-defining movie all because you overlooked the importance of cybersecurity.

What Are Examples of Cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity technologies work to defend and eliminate any of your online vulnerabilities. 

Types of cybersecurity can include:

  • Protective software like ad-blockers and antivirus software
  • A Burner phone that keeps your primary contacts safe 
  • A hard drive to store sensitive data offline
  • Using a variety of strong passwords for all your accounts
  • Two-factor or multifactor authentication 
  • Using a VPN while on public Wi-Fi
  • Keeping your software updated
  • Quick incident response times: Deal with the problem when you notice it
  • Not opening or answering emails, texts, or calls that seem like scams (messages from unknown senders or numbers) 
  • Checking and adjusting your privacy settings when using new apps
  • Using your best judgment when you’re online

All of this and more falls under the umbrella of cybersecurity. We know there’s a lot here — there are many things to consider. But if you develop a robust cybersecurity plan that covers all the essentials, you can safely continue all of your online activities…whatever those may be! 

What Is Network Security? 

Closely related to cybersecurity is network security. This term refers to the security measures in place that protect your computer network. Essentially, it’s the nitty gritty stuff that makes your computer work and keeps it running. 

Network security is important. The measures in place can help prevent unauthorized access on your devices (or notify you if something occurs). They also protect against network-based cybercrimes that can poison your hardware and software. All of this helps keep your computer systems and the critical infrastructure within them clean. 

The Importance of Home Network Security 

Your home is a network for all of your devices. The status of your Wi-Fi router, phones, computers, and cameras all fall under your home network security

You might assume these products come with good cybersecurity measures right off the bat. A lot of them do, but know there are additional measures you can take to protect against cybersecurity threats: 

  • Install firewalls on your Wi-Fi router
  • Again, use strong passwords always
  • Check and update the default security settings on new devices and software
  • Keep up with current updates 

So, essentially, there are easier ways to protect your family than any action movie would let you believe. 

What Is Information Security? 

Information security refers to protecting information from unauthorized users. So, like your mom reading your diary. Or your grandma asking why you’re not married yet and demanding answers. Data protection and data security are extremely important. You wouldn’t want anyone getting their hands on something personal about you. 

You can employ the same cybersecurity practices when dealing with information security. There should be additional stress on the importance of using good judgment. If you get a DM on Instagram that asks for your username or pretends to know you, report and block the account. 

The effects of information security breaches can be extreme, possibly resulting in reputational damage. We certainly don’t want that.

What Is a Cybersecurity Attack? 

No, unfortunately, this kind of attack does not involve swords and armor. Although proper security controls certainly act like it. Cybersecurity attacks refer to any kind of harmful or exploitative online attack that targets devices, networks, information systems, or cloud security. 

This could include: 

  • Malware: Software that is specifically designed to attack or infiltrate your computer
  • Ransomware: Software that blocks your access to a computer until you pay a sum of money
  • Spyware: Software that allows the user to secretly gain information from another device
  • Trojans (No, Not the Horse): Malware that disguises itself as real code/software
  • Identity Theft: Stealing and using a person’s private identifying information for gain (usually financial) 
  • Hacks: Gaining data from a computer or system without permission 
  • Scams: Fraud involving false information (usually in the form of texts, emails, or calls)
  • Phishing Scams: An email seemingly sent from a trusted source (for example, a bank) 

These crimes are widespread, and so much of our lives exist online, so stay aware. Taking preventative action and performing risk assessments before cyber crimes occur is your best bet. 

What Is the Importance of Password Management?

From mobile devices to bank accounts to social media, you need an account and, therefore, a password.

Because of the sheer amount of accounts you have and how frequently you have to make a new one, it can be tempting to use the same passwords. And while DragonLord123 is a pretty killer password, you can’t use it for everything if you want to get rid of cybersecurity risks. 

Passwords are meant to be your first line of defense. Your infantry. And while the infantry is usually immediately killed so the two kings can battle in dramatic fashion, we don’t want a security breach to make it past the front lines. You’re the king — sit back and relax. Eat some grapes. 

A strong password should consist of at least 16 characters with a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Try to vary up your passwords across accounts, and don’t use any real words to better protect against security threats. 

Set up a security system to store your passwords, whether that’s a secure digital file or, even better, on paper in a fireproof box. Strong passwords will easily help protect against numerous types of cyber attacks, helping you and your data stay safe. 

How Can Having a Second Phone Number Help?

A great cybersecurity risk management tactic is to download a second phone number app

A second number allows you to keep your primary number reserved for essential contacts and your personal life. You can use your second number whenever a company or person you don’t know asks for your information. This can range from social media account creation to online dating to online shopping. 

If your number is compromised during any online transaction or interaction, you can easily delete the second number without having to reestablish your entire network of contacts. You can also direct spam notifications to your second number, leaving your primary number squeaky clean. 

Use Burner for Your Second Number

Burner is a user-friendly second phone number app that provides all the cybersecurity and life management benefits above. You can use Burner to create a custom phone number and manage notifications to best fit your preferences. 

No one wants their personal number clogged with spam calls all day. It’s, at the very least, annoying. Burner makes acquiring a second phone number as easy as hitting “Delete” when a prince from a foreign country lets you know you’ve won the lottery via email. 

How To Hide Your Number

Another cybersecurity strategy is to block your caller ID when calling someone you don’t know. This can be useful when returning an unknown call, calling a big or small business you may not be familiar with, or contacting a person you don’t know. 

It’s easy enough. Just dial *67 before you type the rest of the number. Your number will be hidden and protected from anyone who may try to compromise it. Or you can prank call your friends…but you didn’t get the idea from us. 

Why Contact Cybersecurity Professionals?

In the event of a major data breach or loss, you may want to consult a cybersecurity professional. The market for online security experts is only growing, and there will be a number of services and options available to you. But who is legit? 

A good way to make sure someone claiming to be a cybersecurity professional is able to help is by checking for a certification. A formal education isn’t always needed, but a professional certification will guarantee you’re seeking help from the right place. 

Say No to Scams

Scams are no joke. The National Consumer Law Center estimated that 33 million robocalls are made to Americans each day, while 50 billion are made in a year. And in 2022, 68 million Americans suffered over $29 million dollars in financial losses due to scammers. 

It’s easy to assume we’d be able to easily see through scam emails, calls, and alerts, but scammers can be clever. They can pose as real companies in phishing scams and seem kind and friendly in text messages. 

The biggest thing to remember about scams is to not engage with them. Don’t click on links because they could install malware on your system. Don’t call back because they could gain access to your phone number and confirm your identity. Just don’t engage. And do report and block. 

And never, ever, ever in a million years, give out your personal information in an email or over the phone. Don't do it unless you’ve verified the company thoroughly and the phone is the only way you can pay (although, nowadays, it seems unlikely). 

Because scams are so common, it’s extra important to be diligent and actively use cybersecurity strategies. You’ve heard of stop, drop, and roll… for scams — it’s ignore, report, block. Maybe not as catchy, but it gets the point across. 

How To Protect Your Internet of Things

The Internet of Things… a digital term or the next sci-fi B-movie you’ll wish you didn’t watch? The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all devices, networks, and technologies that have the ability to connect and communicate with one another. For example, your Mac connects with your iPhone to share data between them. That’s how both devices share photos…and know you double-texted your ex last Friday night. 

So many of our devices are connected across our personal Internet of Things, meaning if one is hacked, you’ll likely still be able to access data on the other device. This means all is not lost — or the hacker will gain entry into both devices. Which means all might be lost. But don’t panic, just consider consulting a cybersecurity professional. 

A cybersecurity professional understands the connections between your devices, so let them do the work for you. Don’t underestimate the importance of cybersecurity. 

How Can I Prevent Data Loss?

Not all cybersecurity issues come from the outside. Sometimes, devices and platforms fail. That’s why it’s a good idea to store your most precious documents, photos, and information in multiple places across multiple platforms. Specifically, an external hard drive. Or two. 

Hard drives exist outside the cloud and aren’t reliant on a device that can die at any moment. Are they foolproof? Guaranteed to last forever? No. All technology comes with a certain risk. But if you store documents on your computer, on a hard drive, and print them out, the chances of you losing precious data are much, much less. 

So, Wait, Why Is Cybersecurity Important? 

Remember your diary? The one with your cookie-stealing confession written in gel pen? Yeah, you don’t want your mom to read that. So why would you want cyber criminals hacking into your personal data?

Like it or not, all of our information lives online. Your whole life is online, at least to some extent. So protect it the way you would your physical life. Fortify your defenses with strong passwords, a second phone number, updated software, and more. You got this.


What is Cybersecurity and Why is It Important? | SNHU

Home Network Security | CISA

INFOSEC - Glossary | CSRC

Robocalls Finally Have the U.S. Government's Attention | TIME

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