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The western world is filled with stories of dystopian worlds filled with cameras and trackers, where everything you say and do is seen and can be held against you.
The reality of things is that most of these security features exist, are hidden away under layers of complexity and that they are incredibly important to defend our systems against daily attacks.
This article will help you understand why, today, security and technology go hand in hand, and what technology is introduced to protect us.
Security in itself is the state of being protected or safe from harm. In a technological context, security refers to the protection of infrastructures from harm.
Particularly with the rise of the internet, and with everything connected, anyone in the world potentially has access to anything on the network.
While this provides great opportunities for everyone to talk together and meet, it also means that ill-intentioned people can do incredible damage to insecure setups.
Technology helps implement some protection to keep what ought to be private, private.
Let’s now look at some reasons why technology is relevant to the security space.
One reason why people might want to access your network or your infrastructure is that you have information that is relevant to them. Particularly in the context of a business rival, your trade secrets are yours to keep as they are what make up your business entirely.
If someone makes it inside, he could access that information and even delete it from your servers or structure so that he gets what he wants from you and you are set back trying to build it back up.
This risk also exists from hackers that just want to say, I made it, I hacked you, just to make sure you realize that I’ll delete your resources.
Data loss can also occur because of faulty devices or random accidents.
In any case, technology can help in various ways, first by setting up redundancy and making sure that if a part of your system fails, you have an accessible backup ready to go. Technology can also help ensure that your entire system is robust and secure from the very beginning, this should ensure that no harm is done.
An important aspect of today’s security is the prevention of malware. Hackers, for fun, money, or fame can try and execute malware on your systems.
This can be ransomware that forces you to pay a certain fee to access your data. These types of software paralyzed a lot of organizations, particularly less protected ones like hospitals and other public infrastructures. The goal here is simple: spread a virus across a network that encrypts all the data on the hard drives, since these organizations desperately need access to their data, they will pay a hefty amount to get the encryption key and gain back access to their data.
Malware exists in many forms but most have the same goal in mind, get something from the victim, either information, or money as both of these are difficult to track.
To protect us from malware and prevent data loss, technology implements a lot of systems which we’ll detail in this section of the article.
These systems focus on prevention, this means they will warn you and prevent any malware or hacker from entering your systems. This technology works by analyzing the data that is transitioning on the network. Particularly machine learning algorithms detect inputs that might look weird or that aren’t typical.
Such algorithms can then flag this request as suspicious, if the user continues such requests, the system can decide to block him or force him to identify so that he can be found if things turn sour.
In both cases, this type of system focuses on prevention, meaning that they can't do anything if a machine or system has already been infected by malware.
These types of systems also work by comparing the signature and requirements of an application or program to a database of known malware, to potentially prevent the installation of known malware.
This type of system focuses on the detection, this means that such systems are not capable of preventing the installation of malware on a device, they, however, can detect it and react to certain malware.
These systems act by looking at the requirements and actions of a program, if these stand out or are particularly demanding, imagine a program like a note-taking application asking for permissions to use your camera, microphone, and for authorization to write in system files. That sounds fishy and the intrusion detection system is likely to flag that program as suspicious.
Most defense systems don’t work on detection or prevention only but encapsulate both a prevention system and a detection one. The aim is to multiply the defenses and use redundancy for optimal protection.
A firewall is a common type of prevention system that isolates a part of the network. Packets of data that travel on the web are analyzed and only a certain type of packets are allowed to transit through the firewall.
This is most commonly used in the industry to prevent people from accessing an organization’s servers outside the workplace. Most of the time, this is done to make sure each request is traceable, most of the time, users have to register to use the service.
This is done so that any request the server receives can be traced back to an individual. Such systems ensure that if an attack occurs, IT managers can trace back the attack and understand where it came from and how it was conducted.
As everyone in the world is connected to one another, security is a prime concern to prevent the execution of malware and to restrict access to certain information. Technology offers several ways of providing security, most of which can be thought of in 2 categories, prevention and detection systems. By combining both of them, we can create robust architectures that correctly protect information and resources.