Cyber Attacks and Cyber Security
Data communication –transmission of data between two separate entities through an electromagnetic medium – emerged before the birth of computer itself. In the late 19th century Telegraph was the first fully-functioning digital communication system.
Then with limited exceptions, the earliest computers were connected between the users using terminals laid typically in the same building or place.
Later, Wide Area Network (WAN) emerged during the 1950s and in following years Internet became an integral part of our lives and also changed it drastically.
How much Internet do you actually see?
In 1969, Internet was first booted up with just four computers. Today, the estimation is that more than five million terabytes of Data forms the total Internet and out of this five million, only 200 get indexed by web search.
That means only 0.004% of the total Internet is what we see and is accessible on 4.5 billion indexed websites.
What about the rest of 99.996%?
This enormous part of Internet is called the Deep Web. The deep web mostly consists of simple, regular but privately owned places on Internet like emails; social media profile history, subscription site gateways and other personal data storage sites like the cloud, Google docs and application data etc.
The deep web is often misinterpreted with Dark Web. The Dark web is the deepest part of the deep web and consists mostly of heavily encrypted sites which are extremely hard to access. They can only be accessed with the likes of TOR which makes all conduct and interactions untraceable and anonymous and hence is used for the most malefic trades and business and all the illegal and terrorist activities as we can fathom. According to the thousands of global surveys, this is the inception place of all the cyber-attack happens worldwide.
What is Cyber Security?
In today’s world of extreme dependency on the Internet, everyday facts of life are constantly being integrated digitally with every passing second. And at the same rate cyber-attack and data leak reports are emerging around the world. The hackers or the cyber criminals are using their knowledge and skills to exploit our privacy and data. Cyber security which is the state or process of protecting and recovering networks, devices and programs from any type of cyber-attacks is done by ethical hacker or security researcher who protects the society against these attacks.
Facts associated with Cyber Attacks!
- According to a survey, 30,000 websites are being hacked daily.
- With every passing second, 75 records get stolen globally.
- Almost 64% of all the companies in the world have faced cyber-attack at least once.
- It’s believed that 94% of all malware is spread through
- In every 39 seconds, there’s a new attack somewhere on the web.
- The most malicious email attachment extensions are (.zip) or (.jar).
- It’s believed that more than $3 million gets invested every year to fix data breach.
- China is one of the largest sources of all worldwide DoS attacks.
- Mobile apps are believed to be the chariot of 80% of all mobile frauds happens globally.
- In 2016, Uber reported a data breach involving records of 57 million global riders.
- Friend finder’s website lost 412 million user accounts after an attack in 2016.
- More than 24,000 malicious mobile apps get blocked daily on the Internet.
Biggest cyber-attacks in the history of Internet
- In 1999, world’s first major computer virus, Melissa, made people realize that their data isn’t always safe. David L. Smith, a New Jersey programmer disguised his virus as a simple Microsoft word program and sent it to countless random recipients. Soon the virus got spread around and within no time a full 20 percent of the world’s computers were compromised and big companies like Intel and Microsoft were forced to temporarily shut down all its services.
- Jonathan James is most reverberated name in the hacker’s hall of fame. In 1999, at the age of 15, penetrated US Department of Defence, intercepted thousands of classified emails and various military computers. Later, he went too far into stealing a piece of NASA’s one of the advanced software which was worth of $1.7 million.
- In Feb 2000, 15 year old Michael Calce, a.k.a. Mafia boy, brought down Dell, eBay, CNN, Amazon and the biggest website at that time Yahoo! He used a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack to their websites.
- The biggest military hack of all time was carried out by Gary McKinnon in 2002 when he hacked into US military and NASA and deleted critical files which forced US government to shutdown Military District of Washington network. He also posted a notice on military’s website – ‘Your security is crap’.
- According to authorities in 2008, a 58-year-old Greek mathematician stole highly advanced weapon technologies from the Dassault Group which cost the company $360 million in damages. His true identity got never revealed but this hack goes by the name of ASTRA which is a Sanskrit word for ‘weapon’.
- In 2011, 100 million customer records were stolen from Sony Play Station by various anonymous hackers which cost Sony a massive $171 million and great deal of bad publicity.
- In 2012, LinkedIn user accounts and passwords were leaked by the same hacker who earlier hacked MySpace’s data. He was found to be offering the email addresses and passwords of around 165 million LinkedIn users in exchange of just 5 Bit-coins.
- In 2018, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone was ‘hacked’ and was sent a WhatsApp message from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to possess a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of one of the world’s richest men.
Three Advanced Technologies in the field of cyber security
1. Quantum Computing
Today we use computers that store information on bits language which is 1 and 0. The researchers are believed to be just one step away from next generation’s dominion work force named as Quantum Computer. Quantum computing relies on qubits (quantum bits) instead of bits and hence can be superimposed, entangled or manipulated while storing data.
In 2019, Google AI announced that they had performed a quantum computation, in partnership with NASA, which is infeasible on any regular classical computer.
Later, 53 entangled qubits were used by researchers to solve a problem in just 200 seconds that would have taken 10,000 years on a classical supercomputer.
But the technology is believed to raise certain concerns for cyber security. According to experts, the encryption practices used these days would need a complete renovation and modification if quantum computers get surfaced. Besides that, there’re good chances that the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) systems that are currently used worldwide would get collapsed due to the risk by quantum computers.
But still it’s a matter of debate if the emergence of quantum computers will prove a breakthrough in the field of cyber security or it would lead us back to the cave age.
2. 5G Technology
5G technology is the most anticipated advancement which is believed to be equipped with lucrative benefits including high-bandwidth, low latencies, network slicing and high data speeds, and is now slowing spreading its legs around the world.
Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack, which works with an intentional overflow of web traffic on the targeted website, are expected to skyrocket once the 5G technology gets fully functioned due to its extremely high-speed can impact devices and IoT’s cyber security.
3. Hardware authentication
Intel is moving in the direction with the new Authenticate solutions to combine a variety of hardware-enhanced factors to validate a user’s identity.
Intel has dedicated a portion of chipset to make a device part of authentication process. Good authentication requires 3 things of the user: what they know, such as a password; who they are, such as username; and what they have, such as a token.
Hardware authentication is crucial for the Internet of Things (IoTs) where networks works in the direction of ensuring that the one who is trying to gain access is the one who should have access.
The world is changed; the first computer devices were the size of an enormous conference room now they’re smaller than a biscuit. There was a time when floppy disks were able to store all our data and today even a 1 TB of hard disk feels like a little shorter than required.
The Internet, as we know it, is an endless space of data and communication and is available at our fingertip but who would judge if it’s a genuine finger or a malicious one. As long as there’re those who have things to keep safe there’ll always be those who want to get their hands on them and as long as there are those who would stop them there would always be the need to advance and rise high.
But the bottom line always remain same, there’s nothing more dangerous or powerful than a genius mind with a purpose. We all can just wish the mind is in the right direction.