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What is cyber security? A beginner's guide

What is cyber security? A beginner's guide

Are you curious to discover what cyber security is and how it affects you every day?

Find out the importance of cyber security in our speedy two minute guide.

In the modern world, where technology plays an essential role in our everyday lives, you’ve likely heard of cyber security.

However, you may not know how to define what cyber security is, why it’s important and what forms it can take.

Keep reading our quick guide as we scratch the surface on the basics of cyber security and set the foundations for further reading on this huge subject matter!

Don’t forget to check out CyberStart’s Intern base challenge walkthrough at the end of this blog!

What is cyber security?

Today’s digital technology has countless benefits that allow us to see friends across the globe, work from home, or play fun cyber security games like CyberStart!

However, the services we access and the data we store on digitally connected infrastructures can become compromised. The internet acts as a digital pathway, allowing cyber criminals to gain entry to the systems connected to it.

Cyber security works to prevent cyber attacks from being carried out. It’s difficult to prevent every cyber attack, especially as they constantly become more sophisticated. Therefore, it’s also essential to know how to detect cyber attacks as they occur and fight back against them.

The internet acts as a digital pathway, allowing cyber criminals to gain entry to the systems connected to it.

Why is cyber security important?

Nowadays, most people use digital technology in some form, while many businesses depend on them every day. Digital infrastructures that are vulnerable to cyber attacks include anything that can connect to the internet, such as:

  • Computers
  • Servers
  • Networks
  • Websites
  • WiFi routers
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Printers

By hacking into these systems, cyber criminals could stop them from functioning or access and exploit vulnerable information stored within. Whether it’s passwords, bank details, or medical records, the increase of private data being stored digitally makes it much more accessible to cyber criminals.

Cyber security is so important because if we don’t prevent cyber attacks, cyber criminals could steal our money or identities, shut down essential services and cause chaos around the globe!

Check out the Hacks and Attacks section of the CyberStart blog and learn more about some major real-world cyber attacks!

Defensive vs offensive cyber security

Cyber security spans two main areas: defensive and offensive.

  • Defensive cyber security aims to put security measures in place to prevent cyber criminals from accessing digital systems. Defensive cyber security anticipates potential vulnerabilities and aims to fix them before a cyber criminal can take advantage.
  • Offensive cyber security is the more proactive form of cyber security, where systems are attacked and security risks are usually documented. The tools and techniques used by an offensive cyber security team are often the same as what a malicious hacker would use. However, unlike cyber criminals, offensive cyber security uses these techniques to seek out risks. Vulnerabilities found can then be mitigated before a real cyber criminal can take advantage of them.

Check out our other guides to learn more about topics like steganography, programming and DDoS attacks!

Learning cyber security with CyberStart

Now that you know what cyber security is, let’s take a sneak-peek at one of CyberStart’s new Intern base challenges below to discover the world of cyber security through games.

The challenges in Intern base are all free and unlocked for anyone to try without the need for a full CyberStart licence. By completing even one challenge, you have what it takes to grow your cyber security skills and play all of CyberStart game.

Intern L01 C02 - Mixed Up Messages

The ‘Mixed Up Messages’ challenge in Intern base tells you that a group of hackers are communicating through cryptic messages on a social media site. The hackers might be hiding important information in the message below, and it’s up to us to find out what it says.

Mixed Up Messages challenge

How to find the secret message

You won’t need any special tools or programs to unscramble the secret message, just an observant eye and some problem-solving skills. Once you’ve found the secret message, post your unscrambled version into the insert flag box and press enter to complete the challenge.

Did you figure out the secret message from the picture above? Register or sign in to your CyberStart account right now for free, and access Intern base to complete the challenge!

All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!

CyberStart America

What is it?

A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.

Who's it for?

13-18 year old high school students in the US only.

Awesome! How can I find out more?

Cyber FastTrack

What is it?

The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.

Who's it for?

College students in the US only.

Great! How can I find out more?

CyberStart Canada

What is it?

A free programme teaching cyber security to high school students in Canada through CyberStart's immersive learning platform.

Who's it for?

Students between the ages of 13-18 nationwide.

Nice! How can I find out more?