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The Case for Cybersecurity Training

May 30, 2017

security standing outside of a brick wall guarding a laptop

Cybersecurity is the process of identifying, responding, and stopping security breaches and other cyber incidents. Though cybercrimes can be both minor and major, there is always a negative effect on a business, individual, government, or community.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), nation-states or hackers organize one of the most common types of cybersecurity threats. This type of crime can have serious ramifications from a national security standpoint. Other cybersecurity risks include service interruptions, such as transportation, power, and other utilities. When a data breach occurs, it can cause networks to become compromised and leak information about both employees and customers. On a smaller scale, individual devices such as computers or mobile phones are also vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches. This can result in compromised personal information.

Because technology and innovation move at a rapid pace, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the latest threats. That’s where cybersecurity experts come in. Cybersecurity training allows IT professionals to safeguard companies, individuals, and more.

Defining Cyberattacks

In general, the goal of cyberattacks is to steal information such as credit card numbers, medical history, and other sensitive data. They might also aim to disable services or sabotage specific companies. The DHS notes that cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated all the time, with the capability to “disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of essential services.”

As technology advances, the severity of cyberattacks will only increase: “As information technology becomes increasingly integrated with physical infrastructure operations, there is increased risk for wide scale or high-consequence events that could cause harm or disrupt the services upon which our economy and the daily lives of millions of Americans depend,” according to the DHS.

There are several technical categories into which cyberattacks fall.

  • Targeted attacks are focused on specific organizations or individuals. They aim to gain access to “private, technical, and institutional information, and other intellectual assets for the purpose of vandalism or monetary gain,” the NEC Corporation says.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are implemented continuously, repeatedly aiming for the same target in the hopes of gaining access. APTs might be carried out through public servers or what NEC calls “social engineering” such as email attacks or phishing scams.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are geared at disrupting services. A subset of this category, Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), are DoS attacks launched from a distributed environment, NEC explains.

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Cyberattack Examples

The following are some of the most recent examples of large-scale cyberattacks. Cases like these emphasize the importance of cybersecurity training.

  • Anthem (2015): Anthem is one of America’s leading health insurance companies. Hackers were able to access 80 million patient records, gaining information such as birthdays, home addresses, email content, and even Social Security numbers, according to Business Insider. The company’s CEO was also affected by the attack. While Anthem maintained that credit card and medical information was safe, there were still serious ramifications for both the organization and its customers.
  • Wendy’s (2016): This popular fast food chain experienced a payment-card hack that targeted around 18 percent of its locations in the United States. By using malware and other software, hackers were able to access names and financial information from more than 1,000 restaurants. This had a negative effect on the company as well as consumers, with stock shares dropping almost 3 percent immediately following the incident.
  • Snapchat (2016): In a somewhat unique case, Snapchat’s data was stolen through tactics that were far from highly technical. “The attacker pretended to be Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel and tricked an employee into emailing over the information,” according to The Washington Post. The attack exposed the information of around 700 current and former employees, including salary information.
  • Arby’s (2017): In another fast food hack, Arby’s was targeted by malware on cash registers at its restaurants. The attack caused information from more than 335,000 credit and debit cards to be compromised. “The malware allowed attackers to remotely steal data from each credit card as it was swiped at the cash register,” USA Today says. This is the same method used in previous attacks such as the ones experienced by Target and Home Depot.

Why Cybersecurity Training Matters

Because of the present threat of cyberattacks, security training is paramount for professionals both in information technology and general business roles. Organizations across industries and sectors are prioritizing training and protocols to protect their information. To help their employees and internal teams be aware of the various steps they can take to protect their information, it is common for employees who have a cybersecurity background to be tasked with managing training opportunities.

Especially since cyberattacks are on the rise, cybersecurity professionals play a vital role in protecting businesses, government agencies, and more. They reduce the risk of cybercrime and “help lessen the chance [of a company] to become victim of an intrusion attempt that targets one of the weakest links in the cybersecurity chain: end users themselves,” Enterprise AppsTech says.

The bottom line is that having trained cybersecurity experts is one of the most important components of running a successful business. That is why, in many cases, organizations seek out professionals with a technical background for management roles. “Nowadays, managers are required to be technologists in addition to business leaders, with the ability to address security concerns as well as manage somewhat complex technologies,” Enterprise AppsTech notes. They might be responsible for identifying areas of vulnerability, performing audits, and outlining long-term security goals. Earning an IT degree that blends business and tech skills is a smart way to stand out from the competition.

Technology Education at King University

The online bachelor’s degree in information technology from King University is designed for professionals who are looking to advance their career. Students in the information technology program have the opportunity to choose from one of the following tracks:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Network management
  • Information systems

Through specialized coursework in relevant fields like cybersecurity, graduates are ready to face the challenges of modern tech careers. Coursework for this degree program can be completed in as little as 16 months. Learn more about King University’s IT program today and discover how it can help you enhance your knowledge and qualify for the job you want.