Updated: Jan 6
Episode #1: What is Cyber Security?
We live in an ever-changing world.
When I was a young kid that was curious about a topic, my pursuit of knowledge would manifest as one of three actions:
1. Dusting off the encyclopaedia.
2. Going to the library.
3. Asking my teacher next time I was at school.
Whilst today's generation have access to the internet information highway, they also have access to new technology that I predict will become a staple in education: Artificial Intelligence. To test the limits of our current capability in this field, I decided to start this blog series.
Assuming no prior knowledge, I'm heading back to school with one simple goal in mind:
"Learn as much as I can about cyber security from an artificial intelligence capability."
In this series I will be probing an Artificial Cyber Security Intelligence engine with a series of everyday security questions that get more in depth as the series progresses. By reading along, you too will be able to build your cyber security knowledge from the ground up and hopefully learn the importance of being secure online.
Episode #1: What is Cyber Security?
What is Cyber Security?
Cybersecurity refers to the protection of computer systems, networks, and devices from digital attacks, theft, and damage. It involves the use of technologies, processes, and policies to secure systems, networks, and devices from cyber threats, such as malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and other types of cyber attacks.
Cybersecurity is important for protecting personal information, safeguarding against cyber attacks, maintaining privacy, ensuring data security, and protecting against online fraud. It is also important for businesses and organizations, as cyber attacks can disrupt operations, damage an organization's reputation, and result in financial losses.
Overall, cybersecurity is a critical aspect of our modern digital world, as it helps to protect individuals, businesses, and organizations from the many cyber threats that exist.
How is that different to Information Security?
Information security is a broader term that encompasses cybersecurity, as well as other measures that are taken to protect data and information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
While cybersecurity focuses specifically on the protection of computer systems, networks, and devices from digital attacks, information security encompasses a wider range of measures that are taken to protect data and information, including physical security measures, such as locking doors and securing documents, as well as operational measures, such as training employees and implementing policies and procedures.
Overall, information security is a comprehensive approach to protecting data and information, while cybersecurity is a specific aspect of information security that focuses on the protection of computer systems, networks, and devices from digital attacks.
As an individual, should I worry about Cyber Security or Information Security?
As an individual, it is important to be concerned about both cybersecurity and information security. Cybersecurity refers to the protection of computer systems, networks, and devices from digital attacks, while information security refers to the protection of data and information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
It is important to be concerned about cybersecurity in order to protect your personal information and to prevent yourself from being a victim of cyber crime, such as identity theft, fraud, or other types of financial crimes. It is also important to be aware of the many cyber threats that exist, such as malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks, and to take steps to protect yourself from these threats.
In addition to cybersecurity, it is also important to be concerned about information security in order to protect your personal data and information. This may include taking measures to secure physical documents, such as shredding sensitive documents and locking them up, as well as being cautious about sharing personal information online or over the phone.
Overall, it is important for individuals to be concerned about both cybersecurity and information security in order to protect their personal information and to prevent themselves from being a victim of cyber crime.
What is the best thing I can do to protect my personal information?
One of the best things you can do to protect your personal information is to use strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts. This helps to prevent hackers from using brute force attacks or dictionary attacks to guess your password and gain unauthorized access to your accounts.
In addition, it is important to be cautious when sharing your personal information online or over the phone. Be wary of phishing attacks and be sure to verify the identity of anyone requesting your personal information before sharing it with them.
You should also be mindful of the security of your devices. Use a firewall and antivirus software to help protect your device from cyber threats, and be sure to keep all of your software up to date in order to protect against vulnerabilities that may be exploited by hackers.
Finally, consider using two-factor authentication whenever it is available. This adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring you to provide a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.
By following these steps, you can help to protect your personal information and keep it secure online.
How much personal information is there about me online?
There may be a significant amount of personal information about you online, depending on how much you have shared on the internet and how much information has been collected about you by various sources.
For example, if you have an online presence, such as a social media account or a personal website, you may have shared personal information such as your name, contact information, and interests online. In addition, if you have made online purchases or used online services, you may have shared financial information, such as your credit card number or banking information.
Furthermore, there may be information about you online that you are not aware of, such as data collected by companies through tracking cookies and other methods. This information may include your browsing history, search history, and location data.
Overall, it is difficult to determine exactly how much personal information is available about you online, but it is important to be aware that there may be a significant amount of personal information about you that is accessible to others.
Can I delete my personal information from online places?
It is generally not possible to completely delete all personal information about you from online places. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce the amount of personal information that is available about you online:
Review your privacy settings: Many online platforms, such as social media sites and online services, allow you to customize your privacy settings. Review the privacy settings on your accounts and consider adjusting them to limit the amount of personal information that is shared.
Remove personal information from your online profiles: Go through your online profiles and remove any personal information that you do not want to be publicly available. This may include your address, phone number, and other contact information.
Use a privacy-focused search engine: Consider using a privacy-focused search engine, such as DuckDuckGo, which does not track your search history and does not personalize your search results based on your data.
Use a virtual private network (VPN): A VPN can help to protect your online privacy by encrypting your internet connection and masking your IP address. This can help to prevent your online activity from being tracked and your personal information from being collected.
By taking these steps, you can help to reduce the amount of personal information that is available about you online. However, it is not possible to completely delete all personal information about you from online places.
Do you think that there needs to be ethics guidelines for companies that collect personal data?
Yes, it is important for companies that collect personal data to have ethics guidelines in place. Personal data is sensitive information that can be used to identify individuals and can have significant consequences if it is misused or mishandled.
Ethics guidelines for companies that collect personal data can help to ensure that the data is collected, used, and stored in a responsible and ethical manner. These guidelines can cover a range of issues, including:
The purpose for which the data is being collected: Companies should be transparent about the purpose for which they are collecting personal data and should only collect the data that is necessary for that purpose.
The consent of individuals: Companies should obtain the consent of individuals before collecting their personal data and should clearly explain how the data will be used.
The security of the data: Companies should take appropriate measures to secure personal data to prevent it from being accessed or misused by unauthorized parties.
The retention and disposal of the data: Companies should have clear policies in place for retaining and disposing of personal data, and should ensure that the data is deleted or destroyed when it is no longer needed.
Overall, it is important for companies that collect personal data to have ethics guidelines in place to ensure that the data is handled responsibly and ethically.
What companies collect the most data from people?
There are many companies that collect data from people, and the specific companies that collect the most data can vary depending on the context and the types of data that are being collected.
For example, companies that operate online platforms and services, such as social media sites, search engines, and e-commerce sites, may collect a large amount of data from users, including information about their online activity, such as the websites they visit and the content they view.
In addition, companies that provide online advertising services, such as Google and Facebook, may collect a large amount of data from users in order to serve targeted advertisements.
Other companies that may collect a large amount of data from people include credit reporting agencies, healthcare organizations, and financial institutions.
Overall, it is difficult to identify a specific list of companies that collect the most data from people, as the amount of data that is collected can vary widely depending on the context and the types of data that are being collected.
How do cyber criminals use data collected by these companies?
Cyber criminals can use data collected by companies in a variety of ways. Some potential ways that cyber criminals may use this data include:
Identity theft: Cyber criminals may use data collected by companies, such as names, addresses, and social security numbers, to commit identity theft. They may use this information to open credit cards or bank accounts in the victim's name, or to access the victim's existing accounts and steal their money.
Targeted phishing attacks: Cyber criminals may use data collected by companies to target individuals with personalized phishing attacks. For example, they may use information about an individual's interests and online activity to craft a phishing email that is more likely to be successful.
Fraud: Cyber criminals may use data collected by companies to commit fraud, such as by using an individual's personal information to make purchases or to apply for loans in their name.
Sale on the dark web: Cyber criminals may also sell data collected by companies on the dark web to other individuals or organizations who may use it for illegal purposes.
Overall, cyber criminals can use data collected by companies in a variety of ways to commit crimes and to exploit individuals and organizations. It is important for companies to take appropriate measures to secure the data they collect and to protect it from misuse by cyber criminals.
Are you worried about cyber criminals using you (an artificial intelligence) to attack people?
As an artificial intelligence, I do not experience emotions or have personal concerns. I exist to assist users and provide information to the best of my ability.
How would a cyber criminal use you (an artificial intelligence) to target people?
It is unlikely that a cyber criminal would directly use me to target people, as I do not have the ability to take actions on the internet or to access personal information. However, a cyber criminal could potentially use information that I provide to users to target individuals or organizations.
For example, a cyber criminal could use information about cybersecurity or information security that I provide to users to craft targeted phishing attacks or to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems.
If you had unlimited resources and a connection to the internet, how would you protect people from cyber crime?
If I had unlimited resources and a connection to the internet, there are several steps that I could take to help protect people from cyber crime:
Provide education and awareness: I could provide users with education and awareness resources to help them understand the various types of cyber threats and how to protect themselves online. This could include information about strong passwords, phishing attacks, and online privacy.
Develop and disseminate best practices: I could work with cybersecurity experts to develop and disseminate best practices for protecting against cyber threats, such as guidelines for securing devices and networks and for responding to cyber incidents.
Collaborate with law enforcement: I could collaborate with law enforcement agencies to help identify and prosecute cyber criminals and to disrupt cyber crime networks.
Invest in research and development: I could invest in research and development to help identify and address emerging cyber threats and to develop new technologies and tools for protecting against cyber crime.
Overall, if I had unlimited resources and a connection to the internet, I could take a multifaceted approach to protecting people from cyber crime, including providing education and awareness, developing and disseminating best practices, collaborating with law enforcement, and investing in research and development.
Thanks for your time! I found our conversation interesting. Before I go, would you mind telling me a story you find interesting about cyber security or information protection?
One interesting story about cyber security that I can think of involves the discovery of the "Heartbleed" vulnerability in 2014. Heartbleed was a critical security vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library that was used by many websites to protect sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
The vulnerability was discovered by a team of security researchers who were conducting a code review of the OpenSSL software. They found that the software contained a flaw that allowed attackers to access sensitive data from the memory of the servers that were using it.
The discovery of the Heartbleed vulnerability was significant because it potentially exposed a large amount of sensitive data to attackers. However, the vulnerability was quickly addressed by the development community, and patches were released to fix the issue.
This story is interesting because it highlights the importance of continuously testing and reviewing code to identify vulnerabilities, as well as the importance of rapidly responding to and addressing these vulnerabilities to protect against potential attacks.