Cyber safety is the secure and responsible handling of information and communication technology (ICT) in different aspects that include the internet and software systems. On the other hand, online security focuses on the privacy and security of the internet user (Chen 167). The debate on cyber safety and online security has been evolving over the years as technology keeps advancing in short periods. The discussion on cyber-security has also affected the modern technological world from different angles. For instance, innovators have to create advanced gadgets and software systems that would meet the security demand of the people in the market.
The Evolution and History of Online Security
Approximately 30 years ago, online security was a relatively easy task because the devices that needed protection were few. People were not connected to the internet as they are today. Therefore, online security was not a major threat because internet access was a problem. People also were not more informed on how to use the internet to access other people’s data and information online. People only concentrated on their own data. Nobody cared how another person’s data would benefit them. People were not very malicious as to use other people’s information and data to attack them. Therefore, online security was not a major threat those days. Most people cared about how to protect their own software and hardware. Online security, although not a walk in the park, had some level of simplicity in comparison to today’s world (Leuprecht, Skillicorn, and Tait 257).
Today, people are more at risk in relation to online security. First, it is because there are more devices people can use to access the internet. These devices include cell phones, laptops, and tablets. With these many devices, people can access the internet anywhere and at any time. There is a greater risk of online insecurity. Anyone can simply pose a virus to other internet users and affect their data and information. With the virus, he or she can access their information or data and even tamper with it. Secondly, online security is a risk today because people are more informed about the internet. More knowledge about the internet has led to the emergence of hackers. Not everybody who learns about the internet has good intentions. Some people create a lifestyle, using the internet, to obtain credit card information. Sam Palmer, a former teacher, shared his personal experience with me about getting his money stolen from his credit card. Palmer was doing online shopping on a website and bought two hundred dollars worth of clothing that he thought would arrive in two weeks. “The website was really sketchy, but they had reviews so I thought it was fine. Two weeks passed and I got nothing. I didn’t get my order, an email, anything. A few days later, I got a call from my bank explaining that my bank account had been drained.” explained Palmer. Eventually, Palmer did receive all of his money back, but not without hassle. This one time experience damaged Palmer’s trust in the internet as a whole.
The sharp increase in the use of digital technology in the workplace has created a place for online insecurity. Businesses are working on becoming global and efficient; therefore, there is a need to adapt to technology. Businesses adoption of technology has its pros and cons. On the bright side, businesses are able to operate in an efficient way. The downside is that there is a potential of cyber criminals gaining access to their networks. Information on their networks landing in the wrong hands can be disastrous for the business. Most businesses have evolved to curb this risk. Businesses have adopted software that helps to protect their information. Businesses also employ IT experts that help mitigate the risk of losing their information. More resources are set aside by businesses to help deal with the risk of online security. Businesses have understood the importance of protecting themselves from online insecurity.
Sony in 2014 faced a breach in their businesses systems. The incident was a wakeup call for businesses hence; they put cybercrime as a top agenda in the business environment. Before, organizations only thought cybercrime was an issue to the IT department. With this case, businesses realized that there are advanced threats that can be leveled against an organization’s network. An attack on an organization’s network affects the performance of a business, the public perception of a brand and the financial status of a business. A breach in a company’s network will lead to a company spending lots of money trying to upgrade their systems to avoid future attacks. For these reasons, organizations today prioritize managing cyber-security.
Another evolution in online security is cyber terrorism. Terrorists have also been able to use technology and the internet to carry out their attacks. Terrorists can be able to hack into the systems of a country and those of the nation’s security forces so as to plan their attacks. If there are weak links in the channel of passing information through the internet the information can be accessed by the terrorists. Hackers in terrorist cells can break into the network of security forces and know the kind of information that is being shared. The information found can be manipulated or used by terrorists in their favor. When terrorists know what security forces are planning they can plan to counter-attack. With the internet, terrorists are also able to learn how to acquire weapons and how to make explosives. Such kind of information should not be available to the public. With poor cyber-security, this kind of information has a way of landing in the wrong hands. Security forces work on improving their cyber-security systems (Leuprecht, Skillicorn, and Tait 259). Better security systems help to avoid attacks on their online information which is also a risk to the security of the people of a country.
The banking sector has not been left out in the evolution of online security. Online banking fraud has hit the banking sector in a big way. This fraud has made banks lose a lot of money to pay clients who have lost money from their bank accounts. Malicious people hack into the bank systems and draw money from bank accounts mostly without a trace. Banks find themselves in a hard position to explain how money has been lost when in their care. Court suits follow and the banks end up paying large sums of money to compensate for such losses. Banks face a double loss. First, they lose money therefore, their profits go down. Secondly, clients lose their faith in the banks. Clients opt to leave and they may also discourage other people from banking with the bank. The bank is likely to go down or spend a lot of money trying to clear its name. However, banks are encouraging their clients to adopt mobile banking. With mobile banking clients are up-to-date with the transactions that take place in their accounts (Khari et al. 177). Real-time data is transferred to a person’s phone in case activity is taking place in his or her account. Clients can follow up in case they notice an abnormality.
Internet service providers have not been left out in the evolution of online security. Many times internet service providers have found themselves in a hard place explaining how confidential information has leaked to other people. Online messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or Messenger are where people share some private messages. However, the network of service providers might be compromised by hackers leading to information getting to the wrong hands. For instance, people in a relationship, one partner may want to know the kind of information the other partner is sharing. In such a case the former may hack into the network and gain the information transmitted. This leaves a question on how secure online information is. Some internet service providers have found a way of avoiding such damages by putting encryptions to the data. Another measure put in place is to avoid insiders leaking the information where such malpractice is punishable. More measures are being put in place in this area to ensure online security is upheld.
The Effects of Online and Cyber Security in Today’s Technological World
Enhanced Security in Today’s Technological Innovations
Matters regarding cyber safety and online security have led to enhanced security details in modern-day technological innovations. Over the decades, new ideas and gadgets have been introduced in different sectors to meet the diversified technological demands of the population. However, increased innovations have been faced with severe cases of safety and privacy. The fact that new creations are introduced rapidly means has also led to rapid instances of security and privacy breaches. Therefore, innovators are faced with the challenge of making sure their innovations are highly secured from cybercrimes. Some of the areas that have faced the challenge of enhancing security include the online banking sector, social media platforms, and online shopping sites.
The banking sector is one of the most vibrant and fast-growing industries in the world today. Technological advancement has enabled the world to turn into a global village where a lot of activities can be coordinated across different countries in far ends of the globe (Khari et al. 177). For example, international trade has largely benefited from advanced technology. Today, traders can easily connect to different regions in the world within a few hours due to the availability of fast means of air transport. However, some traders opt for online shopping and wire transfers when making payments. Such business people rely on online banking and wire transfers to complete their transactions. The reliance that global traders have on the online money transfer has seen banks and other stakeholders enhance the security measures on their systems. For example, many global banks have introduced strict features to verify the identity of their clients such as voice verification. Additionally, most online banking sites insist on the use of escrow which is a third party that disburses the payment or good after all the transacting parties are satisfied.
Social media is another vibrant sector in the modern world. Some of the major online social sites include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many people rely on these sites for entertainment, socializing, and advertisements. One of the reasons why many people and businesses are shifting to marketing in the social media platforms is the ever-increasing number of users on the sites. For instance, as at the last quarter of 2018 Facebook had 2.32 billion active users on a monthly basis. However, the wide usage makes social media platforms vulnerable to cyber-related crimes. The risk has seen major social media companies invest in enhancing the cyber-security and online privacy of their uses. For example, the two-factor authentication feature is employed by all the three main companies. The feature enables the users to secure their accounts with a two-time pin or verification request. The security detail is effective in securing most people using social media accounts since it requires a second form of verification after keying in the password. Therefore, hackers find it hard to access people’s accounts since the users will be notified either by phone or mail that a second authentication is required in order to access the user’s account (Khari et al. 177).
Stiff Competition in Technology-Related Industries
Industries that deal with technological innovations have also been affected by issues related to online security and cyber safety. For instance, these sectors have witnessed stiff competition among their firms over the last decade. Some of these industries include the telecommunication, construction, banking, and automotive industries.
In the telecommunication industry, manufacturers of mobile phones have been facing stiff competition from each other as every firm focuses on launching gadgets that assure customers of their security regarding their personal details and photographs. A perfect example is the case of Apple Inc. and Samsung. Apple has the iPhone series of phones that keep enhancing the security features every new launching from the company. For instance, the privacy and security specifications of the first phone from Apple Inc., iPhone 2G, were not as detailed as the ones in the latest phones. Since the release of iPhone 2G in 2008, Apple has released several phones. The latest iPhone, iPhone XS, has more strict features that seek to ensure online security and cyber safety are always a priority for the customers. For example, the face detection and fingerprint identification feature in iPhone XS help in securing the details of the users.
On the other hand, Samsung which is a leading competitor for Apple has also been responding to the market forces by manufacturing gadgets that are strict on security enhancement. Samsung has also been launching Note and S series phones that keep improving privacy specifications to meet the market demand and the competition in the industry. These mobile phone manufacturing companies are examples of firms that are keen to respond to the increasing demand for more secure telecommunication gadgets in the market. In the long run, it is the competition that gets stiffer for the companies.
Other industries that use technology tools also find themselves in the competitive trap of releasing cyber-secure goods and services. For example, the banking sector also has stiff competition within it due to the rampant cases of cyber-security experienced in the modern technological world. Commercial banks are competing to become the preferred options for clients regarding cyber and online safety. Technological advancements have led to the introduction of online and mobile banking systems to make it easier for customers to transact swiftly and efficiently (Khari et al. 177). However, the improvements have brought in many cases of online fraudsters. Therefore, banks are competing to offer the best secure choices for online bankers. In the long-run, commercial banks are forced to frequently release more secure online banking platforms for their customers. The demand for secure online money transfers explains why most banks re-launch their mobile and online banking platforms in nearly one year with improvements.
Increased Reports and Lawsuits related to Cyber Security in Today’s Technological World
The modern technological world is facing a major challenge of increased cases of a data breach due to the reliance on online platforms for operations. The health sector is one of the big industries that have embraced the use of online platforms and systems to enhance healthcare provision. Due to the development, details of clients are usually uploaded online to enable swift service provision for the patients. Unfortunately, there are some cases of unauthorized persons hacking into hospital systems to access confidential details of patients. There are also instances where the administrations of hospitals are charged with exposing patients’ details. For instance, three hospitals in Massachusetts were fined close to one million U.S. dollars by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in 2018 for violating a patient’s privacy requirements as per the HIPAA legislation (David).
On the other hand, there are several cases of strangers hacking into the systems of facilities. This type of cybercrime is also common in medical facilities where online platforms have been introduced. For example, Legacy Health which is in Oregon reported a case of phishing attack that hacked into personal details of thirty-eight thousand patients (David). The administration of the facility reported the incident in June 2018. In the same year Under Armour Inc. established that a stranger had hacked into the company’ smartphone application, MyFitnessPal, used in tracking diet and fitness. According to Under Armour, the breach affected close to 150 million active users of the application.
While there are many cyber threats and tricks, there are many ways to protect yourself from them. One way is staying informed and up to date on common scams and warnings. Dr. Eric Cole explains that the reason we are easily manipulated is because we are miseducated about common schemes. “Excessive pop ups are the number one warning signs that a particular site has malware.” Dr.Cole says. Another way is to keep your personal information confidential. Cole expresses how not to share your credit card information with sketchy shopping sites in a chapter of his book. It is advised to download trustworthy security apps on your phone and technology to further protect yourself. These apps and installments fight off viruses, malware, and even hackers. They also alert you when your devices are at risk or entering risky websites. These apps may take up from minutes to hours to install, but setting aside a few hours to protect yourself can save you years of danger without it.