Little do people realize but Cyber Security is actually quite different from the more generic term, “IT Security”.
The National Security Agency (NSA) uses two terms to define cyber security. Information assurance is a measure that protects and defends the integrity, availability and confidentiality of information and information systems. Information systems security protects information systems from unauthorized access and prevents unauthorized changes or modifications to information that is stored, moved or processed. Businesses, Department of Defense and other governmental agencies require cyber security measures that will ensure that confidential information remains intact without interference from unauthorized sources. ISO/IEC 27032 defines cyberspace security as the preservation of confidential information in cyberspace. Cyberspace is defined as the interaction of people, software and services on the Internet.
The word cyber began as an ancient Greek word that meant either a pilot, rudder operator or other person guiding a boat. In ancient Greece, the word developed into a term referring to central governmental control. In the twentieth century, Norbert Wiener employed the word cybernetics from the ancient Greek word cyber to describe robots with brains that control mechanisms. William Gibson wanted to use a word in his science fiction novels about the electronic future to refer to the place where online interactions occurred. Gibson’s 1984 novel “Neuromancer” popularized the term cyberspace from the word cyber that Weiner had used earlier in the century.
Some early Internet users were avid readers of Gibson’s science fiction novels. They adopted the term cyberspace as an alternate term for using the Internet. Meanwhile, federal government security professionals adopted information security or infosec as another term for information systems security. The military added another interpretation to the terminology adopted by civilian government professionals. Military mindset encompassed the thought processes of defending the terrain known as cyberspace. The military adopted the term cyber security and later shortened the term to cyber.
Cyber security revolves around the three core areas of confidentiality, integrity and authentication. Confidentiality protects information from unauthorized access by others. Integrity prevents information from alteration by unauthorized users. Authentication is the process of recognizing the identity of information users. There are two other terms associated with cyber security. Non-repudiation means that each person sending a message must be identified as the original message sender. Availability refers to an information system that is operational and functional at any time. Cyber security relies upon preventative measures used to protect information from attacks. Cyber security strategies include identity, incident and risk management to study and resolve potential viruses, malicious code and other information threatening issues.
Three cyber security strategies are prevalent in today’s cyber security environment that will lead to cyber security success. First, building a preventive defense system based upon the needed security level of an organization is essential to combating intrusions and cyber security attacks. Second, resilience or the ability to withstand attacks and failures is necessary as a preventive measure against the intrusions that will happen in cyberspace. Third, an offensive mindset will locate vulnerabilities in an organization’s defense system. A credible cyber defense should also include offensive capabilities to build a deterrence system that will prevent intruders from launching a cyber attack against an organization.
The cyber security industry moved from a defensive to offensive strategy of attack after security professionals examined cyber security from a preventive perspective and technological solutions to the problem emerged. An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) (eg. Snort) was developed to provide security professionals with a proactive capability. Another offensive strategy uses counter terror techniques to find hacker cells, infiltrate and physically limit these hacker attacks.
Cyber security training differs quite a bit from traditional IT security training as well. True cyber security training (see TrainACE’s Advanced Security Cyber Security Training) classes include offensive skill sets like hacking mobile devices, exploit creation and python scripting your own tools to expose vulnerabilities. Traditional IT security classes include certifications like the Security+ and the CISSP, which are designed for defense, only.