Why is it important?
It is the practice of protecting networks, programs, data, and systems from malicious attacks. We’ll cover many topics. We will start with why security matters in the first place. Cyber warfare will be covered, along with the types of threats that you can expect and how we can prevent them. We’ll also discuss the best offensive techniques and briefly examine the cybersecurity market. Why is security important and why should we care? Both consumers and businesses are at risk. Attacks can have devastating financial consequences. It is easy to see how modern-day smartphones and cell phones are interconnected. There are so many micro services that can be used in our day-to-day lives, such as our cars and appliances, and even our banking infrastructure. The Internet was not built with security in mind. It was initially designed to allow inventory checks, but has grown into something much more. There are many interesting loopholes that can be exploited and the technology is maturing, so there are more attacks.
This is my favorite representation for the internet. It’s made from Swiss cheese. All these attack vectors hackers can exploit are just a few of the many.
Here we can see the current landscape of network devices. In the early 1990s, there were only a few million connected devices. Fast forward to 2020. We are looking at 50 million network devices. There are 10 billion people on this planet. Five network devices per person. This means that the attack scope is enormous. The first known network attack was the Morris worm in 1988. Back then, there were only about 60,000 servers. 2017 In 2017, the WannaCry virus infected thousands of computers, causing millions of dollars in damage in just a few days.
BlueBourne was a malware attack that affected 5.3 billion devices in 2018. This is almost every device that was shipped with the Bluetooth protocol. These attacks will only get worse as we progress. We’ve seen many examples of these attacks. A few years ago, Equifax’s massive data breach caused problems for 143 million people. They are the ones who determine our credit scores. A lot of personal information was stolen.
Malicious apps track personal data constantly. Both Android and iOS smartphones are infected with sophisticated surveillance malwares. These hackers want to steal as much data and use it for identity theft. 60% of small businesses that are victim to a cyberattack go out of business in six months. In many cases, simple steps could have prevented the hack from happening. Identity theft can be caused by the leakage of bank credentials, social security numbers, or credit card information. These critical attacks can cause financial ruin for both individuals and businesses. It is expensive and time-consuming to fix these issues. These are valuable resources. The threat landscape changes rapidly and introduces new risks every day. Let’s look into the future. You are driving to work in an autonomous vehicle. You’re casually reading Harry Potter. It’s all amazing, right? Wrong. It’s true that hackers can remotely cause death to a Jeep on the highway. With unsuspecting passengers, at least a steering and brake are available to override malicious commands. Without these two, an autonomous vehicle would not be possible. Safety is paramount.
Let’s take an overview of the high-level architecture for autonomous cars. These redundancies are designed to provide backups. Each one of these sensors has potential exploits. Look at the amount of data an autonomous vehicle has ingested before it enters an intersection. There are pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles, and other objects. This is a lot processing that can be done in seconds. Hackers can use this to spoof data and cause panic. Fortnite hackers issued a warning to 250 million players this week. The payload was supposed to help you track and aim better but was actually malicious. It locked your computer and forced you to pay a ransom. What are these attacks telling us? It could be your bank services, your car, or even video games. An attack can be made on any service connected to the internet.
Why are there attacks?
Now that we’ve seen a few attacks, it is time to ask ourselves why there are so many attacks and why do they keep happening? These attacks are often financially motivated. Sometimes they are done for the fame and recognition. Other times they do it because they can. Hacking is far more enjoyable than building something, and you can think outside the box. Hackers come up with some very creative and entertaining threats. Hackers love to strike and run, especially when they are able to do so in large numbers. This is an example of a SMS premium message hack. They spoof your phone and demand $10 per message to a premium line. This simple hack can actually generate millions of dollars per year, so you can’t blame them. They are looking for easy money and often get contracted to work on high-value targets. You can’t get it for free if you’re really good. Another trend is the use of more sophisticated attacks by nation states, including the famous Stuxnet attack by the American Defense Forces and the Israeli Defense Forces. This leads us to cyber warfare, which is a growing concern.
Why is this important? The next world war will be a cyberwar first, and then a shoot.