Cybersecurity 101



The word “cybersecurity” is a fusion of two words: “cyber,” derived from the Greek word “kybernetes,” meaning “steersman” or “governor,” and “security,” which we all know as keeping things safe. Essentially, cybersecurity is the practice of keeping our digital world safe and secure. The word “cybersecurity” may sound like a recent addition to our lexicon, but its roots trace back to the early days of computing when the term “cybernetics” emerged in the 1940s.

Fast forward to the present, and we find ourselves in a globally interconnected world where the digital landscape has evolved significantly over the last decade. As networks expanded, so did the threats. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cyber attacks cost a staggering 8 trillion USD globally in 2023, with projections soaring to 9.5 trillion USD this year. The rise of AI technology is expected to fuel this surge even further, emphasizing the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures.

Does Every Device Need an Internet Connection?

In this interconnected age, where even our refrigerators can be part of the internet of things (IoT), a critical question emerges: Does every device truly need an internet connection? The answer is not as straightforward as it might seem. While connectivity brings convenience, it also exposes every device to potential hacking. The vulnerability of smart devices and the IoT, lacking robust security measures, raises concerns about the safety of personal and corporate information.

Costs and Implications 

Who bears the cost of cyber attacks? According to IBM’s 2023 Cost of Data Breach report, it’s the customers. Companies pass on incident costs to consumers, manifesting as increased service and subscription prices. The implications are profound for manufacturers of interconnected devices and products. Building secure, resilient systems is not just a technological challenge but a financial one. Manufacturers must balance innovation with the cost of implementing cutting-edge cybersecurity measures. Ultimately, however, product design, innovation and branding offer little value if these products cannot also be protected against access and misuse by third parties.

The Evolving Landscape of Cyber Attacks

1. The Rising Tide of Data Breaches

Data breaches have become a pervasive threat, with the average global cost reaching 4.45 million USD in 2023. The U.S., in particular, witnessed severe incidents, affecting millions of individuals. These breaches underline the pressing need for heightened cybersecurity measures as attackers leverage advanced technologies to compromise sensitive information.

2. The Escalation of Ransomware

Ransomware, evolving over its 30-year history, saw a 55% increase in cases in 2023. Factors contributing to this surge include more sophisticated techniques and the anonymity afforded by cryptocurrencies. Ransomware attacks no longer target individual systems but can cripple entire networks, leading to financial, operational, and reputational damage.

3. Mastering Minds: The Art of Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks, especially phishing, exploit human psychology, targeting the weakest link in cybersecurity – individuals. The transition to remote work has heightened these risks, with personal devices becoming potential gateways to unauthorized access. And that’s why your IT department has asked you to step up the 2FA authentication process in the recent years. 

4. Weak Links: How Supply-Chain Attacks Topple Business Security

Supply chain attacks are on the rise in 2024, targeting vulnerable points in the supply chain to gain access to more secure systems. The recent attack on MOVEit underscores the need for robust cybersecurity throughout the entire supply chain. Their managed file transfer service, used by many organizations to securely transfer sensitive files, was targeted by hackers. By exploiting a zero-day vulnerability, hackers were able to inject SQL commands and gained access to the databases of MOVEit customers.

5. Deepfakes and the Emergence of AI Cybersecurity Threats

As AI technology advances, deepfakes pose a significant threat, as seen in the 2023 Slovakian election, where fake audio recordings of a politician created by an AI tool went viral just 48hrs before the election. The potential impact on elections and the efficiency of criminal activities, as highlighted by Google Cloud’s Cybersecurity Forecast, necessitate a proactive approach to AI cybersecurity.

6. Introduction to IoT Concerns

Manufacturers, racing to capitalize on the IoT market, may prioritize functionality over security, leaving devices vulnerable to exploitation. There is a looming risk of manufacturers going bankrupt, potentially leading to the withdrawal of devices from the market or the inability to provide essential security updates. Furthermore, first-generation IoT devices often lack automatic update capabilities, requiring manual intervention. 

Common Tactics

Phishing: Cybercriminals impersonate legitimate entities to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. Phishing remains one of the most prevalent email threats, exploiting human error rather than system vulnerabilities.

Ransomware: Malicious software encrypts files or systems, demanding ransom payments for their release. This type of attack has evolved to target entire networks, causing widespread disruption and financial loss.

DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial of Service attacks overwhelm online services by flooding them with traffic from multiple sources. These attacks disrupt normal operations, leading to service downtime and potential financial losses.

Malware: Malicious software, including viruses, worms, and Trojans, infiltrates systems to steal data, disrupt operations, or gain unauthorized access.

Data Extortion: Cybercriminals steal sensitive data and threaten to release it unless ransom payments are made. Unlike ransomware, data extortion involves actual theft of data, posing significant privacy and financial risks.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (MitM): Hackers intercept and possibly alter communication between two parties, leading to potential data theft or manipulation.

How you can protect yourself

By implementing these proactive measures, individuals can effectively strengthen their resilience against cyber attacks and protect their digital assets in today’s interconnected world:

Utilize Strong Authentication Protocols:

  • Use password managers to generate and store complex, long passwords
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for added security layers

Consider a VPN:

  • Employ Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for secure connections, especially on public Wi-Fi networks
  • VPNs provide encryption, safeguarding against potential Man-in-the-Middle attacks and data interception

Regularly Update Software and Applications:

  • Keep software and applications up-to-date with the latest patches to address known vulnerabilities

Vigilance and Awareness:

  • Educate yourself about common scam tactics, such as phishing emails, and remain vigilant when encountering suspicious communications
  • Recognize signs of phishing scams, including unknown links, typos, and grammatical errors, to avoid falling victim to malicious schemes.


In today’s digital age, safeguarding against cyber threats is a shared responsibility. Even though companies have increased their budget to combat these threats, individuals still play a crucial role in bolstering their own defenses through proactive measures. Adopting strong authentication protocols, such as two-factor authentication, and utilizing VPNs for secure connections on public Wi-Fi networks are essential steps. Regular software updates are paramount in addressing vulnerabilities, while staying vigilant against phishing scams helps prevent falling victim to cyber attacks. Additionally, reporting any suspicious online activities promptly can aid in early detection and mitigation efforts, minimizing the potential damage caused by breaches.

Navigating the complexities of cybersecurity requires innovative solutions for manufacturers and suppliers. With HydraVision leading the charge, Dissecto brings a unique blend of diagnostic simplicity and advanced security solutions, fortifying embedded systems against modern threats.