Why Nations, Firms, and Other Entities Must be Prepared to Deal with Cyber Threats
The War for Control using Cyberspace as the Battleground
The next front in the war for control between nations, firms, and other entities has already emerged, and this is the emerging threats from cyber warfare as well as from cyberspace. Indeed, already the battle lines are drawn between the West and Russia and China as well as Iran as can be seen from the attempts by Russia to meddle in the Presidential Election of 2016 in the United States and the persistent attacks on Irans missile defenses by the US and Israel using cyber warfare techniques.
In addition, even corporate entities are feeling the heat as can be seen from the hacking of several financial and other institutions leading to leaks of confidential customer data as well as theft of intellectual property.
Further, even individuals are exposed, and indeed, they are more vulnerable given the fact that most home users do not have adequate protection against cyber threats. For instance, in recent months, there have been reports that the Kaspersky Anti Virus software is a malicious tool that can steal information and data stored on individual computers and given the fact that it is free to download and use, one can sense the urgency of the situation where the average person has to be very careful when dealing with cyber threats.
How to Protect Oneself against Cyber Threats?
So, how does one go about protecting ones personal data and information from hacking and other cyber threats? To start with, one must not give away confidential information to websites and entities on the internet without proper due diligence.
This can take the form of vetting the security credentials and protocols of the concerned websites so that the information is revealed and stored on such websites on a case to case or need to know basis.
In other words, only reveal personal information when it is necessary and in no circumstances, store credit card data and other financial information on websites and other entities without proper checks and verification. Moreover, it makes sense to invest in a premium antivirus and anti-hacking software even if it costs money and especially for those who work from home.
Remember, as far as cyber threats are concerned, you are on your own, and there is nothing much anybody can do if you fall prey to cyber hacking and other threats.
Apart from this, also remember that the current laws in many nations including India dealing with cyber threats are not that comprehensive meaning that even if you take recourse to the law, chances are that you might not find any respite or compensation given the laws as well as the lack of knowledge regarding cyber threats from the law enforcement agencies that can compound your problems in case you are the victim of a cyber attack.
Further, also remember that many developing countries such as India have been the subject of much hacking as can be seen from the repeated leaks of Aadhar numbers as well as other confidential information that even the government finds unable to protect from hackers.
Indeed, what is galling is that in many developing countries, the push towards digitization has not been accompanied by a corresponding development of the necessary infrastructure and the systems to protect individuals from hacking and hence, do not be carried away by the ease of digital payments or other digital transactional modes and be liberal with whom and what you share your personal information.
Moreover, even supposedly secure corporate entities have become the subject of hacking and intrusion, and hence, there is no guarantee that such entities are free from cyber warfare as well.
What is Being Done to Ward off the Cyber Threats
So, does this mean that all of us including governments, firms, and other entities are at the mercy of cybercriminals ought to steal and hack personal information? Having listed the downsides so far, we can now turn to the positive aspects wherein countries around the world are developing sophisticated mechanisms to deal with cyber threats as can be seen from the attempts by many corporates, the armed forces, and even online communities to keep the hackers at bay.
The point to be noted here is that we are at an evolutionary inflection point where our capabilities to deal with cyber threats are emerging and hence, we can be confident that in the same manner in which we collectively learned to deal with conventional threats, we would soon be able to counter cyber threats as well.
Indeed, the concomitant push by entities on the internet to offer personal data and identity threat protection is a welcome move towards making cyberspace more secure and protect individuals and corporates from hacking.
In addition, governments around the world are paying attention to the activities of cybercriminals using available social media and other forms of interactions to ensure that there are no breaches of personal information as well as hacking of data.
Above all, what is needed is vigilance against cyber threats and a comprehensive action plan to counter and prevent and indeed, preempt such threats in addition to having a contingency plan in case cyber hacking happens.
Indeed, many corporates have already started to incorporate cyber threats into their continuity of business plans as well as factor in such risks into their risk management plans.
Thus, it is the case that the fight against cyber threats is being fought on multiple channels and hence, to conclude, we might see some more progress in the coming years at a pace that can match the speeds of cyberspace.
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