Cyber defense definition
Cyber defense refers to the practices, strategies, and technologies companies and individuals use to protect their systems from cyber threats. These threats come in many forms — from unauthorized access to a company’s network to social engineering attacks. Cyber defense can be proactive (focusing on prevention) or reactive (focusing on quick reaction when the threat has occurred).
See also: cyber resiliency
Cyber defense measures
- Firewalls protect a network by controlling the incoming and outgoing traffic based on an organization’s security policies.
- Intrusion detection systems (IDS) monitor networks for malicious activities or policy violations.
- Anti-virus and anti-malware software tools detect, prevent, and remove malicious software.
- Virtual private networks (VPNs) encrypt internet traffic and hide users’ IP addresses for more online privacy and security.
- Regular software updates protect software against known vulnerabilities.
- Secure configurations ensure servers, workstations, and network devices use the right security settings.
- Incident response planning is preparing for and practicing how to respond when a cyber incident occurs.
- Educating employees about the risks and methods to recognize and prevent threats like phishing emails.
- Multi-factor authentication protects user accounts by requiring multiple verification forms to prove identity and grant access to an account or system.
- Data backups help recover information in case of data loss or a ransomware attack.
Proactive vs. reactive cyber defense
- Proactive cyber defense focuses on anticipating potential threats before hackers exploit them. It involves various practices, such as threat hunting, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and security awareness training.
- Reactive cyber defense focuses on quickly responding and managing threats after they’ve occurred. It involves things like incident response, forensics, and post-incident analysis.