Hackers aren't just a fringe threat a small portion of the population has to deal with anymore. They're a very real problem that both countries and companies must defend themselves against. In order to fight hackers, it's vital to recognize why they're often so successful, so let's dive into the reasons why they currently have the upper hand and how to defend against hackers.
1. Society hasn't had time to adapt
Technology has always been a major driver of cultural change, but the world hasn't seen anything quite like the internet revolution. Not only has this development completely changed how just about every portion of society functions, it has also come onto the international scene at an alarmingly fast rate.
"The world hasn't seen anything quite like the internet revolution."
In just over 25 years, the internet went from something only a tiny portion of the population used to a tool that is relied upon by just about every industry and business the world over. While that's certainly enabled a lot of great benefits for people, it also means that companies and nations alike simply haven't had enough time to adequately defend against hackers.
In a recent interview posted by Yahoo! Finance, former CIA director David Petraeus juxtaposed the introduction of cyberattacks against the development of nuclear weapons. For the longest time, only Russia and the U.S. had access to these technologies. Although that led to a frightening cold war, it did allow for good in the form of slowly evolving policy changes. Society adapted to the idea of nuclear war, and nations were able to create defenses and strategies against it.
This simply cannot be said of cyberattacks, whether they be levied against entire countries or even singular businesses. There are people working in IT right now that can vividly remember a time where the idea of the average person having a personal computer at home was laughable. When this notion became a reality, companies were quick to throw their services online in order to make more money, and were met with hacking attempts that persist to this day.
Basically, one hacker can adapt to modern technology much faster than an entire company or society as a whole can.
2. Hackers only need to succeed once
On a similar note, it's important to realize that modern businesses must always be on the defensive. Unlike the enemies of yesterday, hackers have no country. They can attack from anywhere, at any time for any reason at all. What's more, failure is an option for them.
Outside of getting caught – which rarely happens – hackers really don't have much to lose if they happen to be unsuccessful. If a phishing campaign levied at a company fails or if a particular vulnerability is closed before he can exploit it, the criminal can simply shrug it off and move to the next target.
Sadly, companies simply don't have this luxury. An organization's cybersecurity team has to fight hackers constantly, looking for the weak spots and consistently closing them before they're discovered. All it takes is a single mistake and a hacker can run roughshod over a company's IT infrastructure. It's a frightening thought, and it's something modern companies have to deal with on a daily basis.
3. There aren't enough good guys
Clearly, the world needs cybersecurity experts that are willing to fight back against the criminals who would exploit weak defenses for personal profit. In fact, this need to succeed every time is the reason why these professionals are paid so handsomely. That said, the reality of the situation is that there simply aren't enough of these people to go around.
Both the private and governmental sectors are in dire need of cybersecurity talent. A study conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that unfilled jobs in this industry to hit 1.5 million by 2019. While that's certainly a scary prospect, considering the fact that it will enable more hacking, what this shortage means is that anyone interested in this area has a bright future ahead of them.
Cybersecurity is by no means an easy field, but it's incredibly rewarding, both financially and morally. IT professionals interested in a career in digital security should look at the plethora of courses offered by New Horizons Computer Learning Centers.