Cyberattacks Are on the Rise

Cybersecurity is the protection of networks, systems, programs, devices and data from digital attacks. Unauthorized access risks the integrity and accessibility of information. Much of our daily lives depend on computers or access to the internet: entertainment, communication, shopping, transportation, medicine and more. Large amounts of personal information are stored on personal computers, smartphones and tablets.

In this digitized world, attackers can gain access to information and utilize vulnerabilities in firmware, software and hardware. As a result, cyberattacks threaten not only our personal safety but also national and economic security. An online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management from Murray State University can help prepare you for a successful career in the fast-growing field of cybersecurity management. This master’s degree program can provide students with the foundation to work in various areas — such as finance, education and health care — while managing and securing data networks.

The Increasing Number of Cyberattacks

2021 has seen an abundance of cyberattacks against companies, organizations and U.S. agencies, and cybersecurity experts warn that these types of attacks will only increase. The World Economic Forum named cyberattacks the fifth top-rated risk in 2020, and it continues to grow.

One recent attack made global headlines when hackers targeted Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. The company shut down its pipeline to fend off the ransomware attack, and some governors declared a state of emergency in response to gasoline shortages and price gouging. JBS SA, the largest global meat producer, suffered another attack in the same month. The attack meant the beef plants that supply almost 25% of the meat supply in the United States to shut down. Colonial Pipeline paid a ransom of $5 million in Bitcoin and JBS shelled out $11 million.

In September 2021, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a notification regarding the use of ransomware in more than 400 assaults on international and U.S. companies. These attacks have prompted questions about how to prevent and guard against future attempts. Hackers can target and infiltrate businesses, organizations, governments and private entities. Here are some of the most common cyberattacks:

  • Typically, ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts a user’s information, making it impossible to access unless the user pays a ransom. The software has gotten more sophisticated and harder to unlock without paying the ransom. In addition to withholding information, hackers also threaten to leak sensitive data as a result of dwelling — when hackers spend an extended period of time lurking undetected in a computer system and gathering data. As more and more businesses pay large ransoms in response to ransomware attacks, the hackers grow more emboldened.
  • This is another form of malicious software where hackers can use a program or file to harm a computer system or compromise data.
  • Phishing is the most common attack for the average user. A phishing email attempts to gain personal information, steal credit card numbers and login information or install malware. Spear phishing is a phishing attack that targets a specific user, business or organization.

How You Can Help Combat Cyberattacks

If you’re interested in preventing increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks against the public and private sector, an online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management can give you the necessary skills to enter into any number of cybersecurity and technology roles. This degree program provides students with a foundation in mitigation controls and security challenges such as malicious software, network intrusion, detection and prevention, incident response, message authentication and public-key encryption. Students with or without previous IT or cybersecurity knowledge will learn sought-after skills in the program, including risk management, cybersecurity governance, business continuity, policy, planning and more.

Learn more about Murray State’s online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management program.

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