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Cyber defense

Cyber defense

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.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security