By now, most people are familiar with the need for internet security on both a business and personal level. Understanding that something is necessary, however, and understanding what it is and what it does are two different things. Here is an overview of cybersecurity. What it is, how it works and some of the tools that facilitate it.

 

What is it?

Cybersecurity works much the same way any other type of security works and uses tools based on many of the same concepts security companies do in the physical world. This includes identity verification to ensure the party or parties attempting to gain access are duly authorized to do so and securing information when it travels from one point to another.

You might think of this as being similar to when money needs to be transported from one location to another. It is much more vulnerable while in transit. The same is true of information. Here are some of the security measures that cybersecurity employs to protect all of your digital information.

Encryption: Encryption takes all of your files and encodes them in such a way that only someone with a key can decrypt them. Encryption is a very advanced form of the game many children might play where they substitute certain letters for other letters in the alphabet, such as 3 letters forward or 3 letters backward in the alphabet.

VPN: A virtual private network creates a type of secure “tunnel” through which information can travel that keeps it safe from prying eyes, hackers and cyber thieves. Most often, even information traveling through a VPN is still encrypted, but a VPN serves to heighten the security of even encrypted files.

Multi-factor Authentication: Multi-factor authentication is a way of identifying users to ensure they are authorized to access information or make financial transactions. The three basic pillars of multi-factor authentication are something you have (such as a cell phone number or email account), something you know (such as security questions that only you would know the answer to) and something you are (accessed by biometric scanning, such as fingerprint, retinal or facial scanning). Multi-factor authentication helps to ensure that even if cybercriminals gain access to login credentials or personal information through social engineering or phishing, they still can’t use it to access your information or accounts.