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Understanding the Importance of Information Security

Importance of Cyber Security

Why is information security important?

Everybody has information about them stored somewhere. That’s true whether you’re an individual or an organization. While it’s ok if some of that information is shared, the majority of it should be kept secret and only accessible to people that are trusted. The purpose of information security is to only give authorized people access to the information and to secure the information from the attempts of others to capture it. This underlines the importance of information security.

Imagine what could happen if someone stole personal information from you because you didn’t realize why is information security important for individuals as well as for organizations. Whoever stole your information could:

  • Open a new bank account in your name to carry out illegal activity from it.
  • Purchase a mobile telephone and open an account in your name. 
  • Get access to your bank account and take out all your money.
  • Startup a new company in your name, run up a high amount of debt, then disappear, leaving you liable.

They could also sell your personal information to many other criminals, each of which could then take the actions above and more. Identity theft like this is one of the most common cybercrimes today. If you didn’t understand the need for information security for individuals before, then by now, you should be starting to realize just how important it is. 

The rise of cybercrime and the importance of information security 

The importance of information security has never been as great as it is today. Cybercrime has grown exponentially in recent years. What started as a small number of individuals working alone trying to hack into systems has now expanded into a global industry. Some nation-states allegedly sponsor cybercrime as a way to steal sensitive commercial information, subvert democratic processes, and disrupt normal operations. Organized groups of cybercriminals exploit weaknesses, particularly in organizations that underestimated the importance of information security, using ransomware to get large payments from organizations. Others work alone but learn from a network of other cybercriminals to steal information, which they then sell onto others. 

The tools to commit cybercrime are now readily available on the dark web. For just a few dollars, you can buy the components to launch an attack on someone’s data. You can also get information on vulnerabilities in applications and infrastructure and how to exploit them. Cybercriminals fully understand the need for information security, but they also understand how to get around and through the protections that people and organizations put in place. 

Underestimating the importance of information security

Organizations that don’t fully understand the need for information security are running at a very high risk of disruption. The impact can range from a small amount of disruption to a few people all the way to the organization going out of business. Here are some of the most common events that highlight the importance of information security:

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack: This happens when an organization’s website is bombarded by a very high volume of messages, making it unavailable to genuine users. This causes significant disruption that can last for a long time, leading to lost business and disgruntled customers.  DDoS attacks are very common but can be mitigated by good design of website hosting. Organizations that rely on websites for their business need to fully understand the importance of information security for this type of attack.

Ransomware attack: This is also a common form of attack. A virus is typically delivered in a phishing email, either in an attachment or a ‘click here’ request in the body of the email. If a user opens the attachment or clicks on the link, then the virus infects the central servers. From there, it infects all of the devices on the network. These display a screen saying that the device is locked and will only be unlocked when payment is made to a bitcoin account. There have been instances where organizations have paid the ransom, but the unlocking has not been done, meaning that all devices had to be wiped and rebuilt from scratch. This illustrates how ignoring the need for information security can be very costly.

Man in the middle (MitM) attack: In this attempt to bypass information security, a hacker puts themselves between the communications of a client and a server so that they can steal the data. One form of this is session hijacking. In this type of MitM attack, an attacker hijacks a session between a trusted client and a network server. The attacking computer substitutes its IP address for the trusted client while the server continues the session, believing it is communicating with the client. This type of attack usually starts with the hacker getting access to the server, often exploiting vulnerabilities in administration passwords and open ports. This illustrates the importance of information security and how it should be applied to all types of technology used in an organization. 


The importance of information security has never been as great as it is today. Your systems are under constant daily attack from thousands of hackers using automated tools to find vulnerabilities. Protections that were good enough a few years ago is no longer sufficient and may even be useless. The future of yourself and your organization is at risk unless you fully understand the need for information security in today’s digital environments and take action to secure your data and information.

WIll Sue of Gerent
Data Loss Prevention
Ransomware Attacks on Banks

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