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Are Cybersecurity Regulations Effective Against Hackers?

Security in the digital world is just as important as physical security. Yet, even the most advanced governments in the world are relatively unprepared to fight cybercrime. The reason is that there are numerous challenges to implementing cybersecurity regulations.

In this article, we explore these challenges, examine how these regulations have proven effective against hackers, and discuss what individuals can do to improve online security. Since web applications are an integral part of the digital ecosystem, we also spotlight the role of web developers in identifying and combating these threats. 

Challenges Facing Cybersecurity Regulations

Cybersecurity legislation is not directly effective against hackers and rarely deters criminal activity. The difficulty in enacting and implementing cybersecurity laws ranges from the evolving nature of technology to privacy concerns and business considerations. 

The indirect consequence of requiring companies to employ cybersecurity measures theoretically makes it more difficult for hackers to execute security breaches. Here are obstacles still affecting the effectiveness of cybersecurity regulations:

  • Technology is rapidly evolving to help spawn new vulnerabilities and threats. This can make regulations ineffective and create many loopholes because the laws may not adequately address these new vulnerabilities.
  • The nature of cyberattacks means that they can originate from anywhere. Thus, regulations can be ineffective without international collaboration and cooperation.
  • Compliance with cybersecurity regulations can be financially difficult and burdensome for some institutions. For emphasis, consider that the global cybersecurity market is expected to exceed $300 billion this year, and the average security budget of small businesses is $500. Unsurprisingly, 46% of cybersecurity breaches are suffered by companies with less than a thousand employees.
  • Cybersecurity laws can intersect with regional data privacy laws, leading to human rights discussions and considerations. The need for balance between both interests is essential. 
  • Regulators and security agencies are at a resource and skill disadvantage when dealing with hackers and hacking cases. This is evidenced in the case of Albert Gonzalez and the FBI.
  • Companies hide cybersecurity breaches to protect their reputations, creating a reporting void. On the other hand, individuals are unsure of what to do next after falling victim to cyber-attacks. For context, 56% of Americans don’t know the next steps after a cybersecurity incident.
  • Only 23% of security leaders monitor partners and vendors for cybersecurity risks. This may facilitate a gap in adherence to cybersecurity regulations.

How to Identify Cyber Threats

We have established that cybersecurity regulations cannot be 100% effective and why this is so. However, the absence of total effectiveness puts the onus on individuals to contribute to their cyber health. Here are some ways that companies and individuals alike can identify cyber threats:

Risk assessment. Risk assessment is a major corporate term that refers to the process of understanding company assets and identifying potential vulnerabilities of said assets. Individuals can employ the same concept on a smaller scale. However, companies are not even known for their commitment to risk assessment. 

For context, only 55% of companies run internal cyber security assessments, and only 38% claim to have improved their security infrastructure following a breach. In fact, according to the Statista report, it isn’t uncommon for companies and their employees to be running out-of-date browsers.

Using endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools. These tools protect devices by alerting users to malicious content and software intrusion. They also detect malicious software that has already penetrated and eliminate it accordingly. The most popular example of such a tool is the antivirus. They make use of signature-based detection and behavioral analysis to perform their functions.

Organizations should purchase reliable antivirus software for Chromebooks, Macbooks, or other devices as enterprise solutions to provide security for individual employees.

Using network monitoring tools. Network monitoring tools, like a firewall, can help to sift through data traffic and identify potential intrusions in real-time. As a result of their monitoring, they can also identify abnormal activity that could indicate cyber threats.

Receiving education on threat intelligence. Subscribe to and join news and cybersecurity forums. Organizations and individuals can learn about the latest cybersecurity strategies, vulnerabilities, and cyber threats through those avenues.

How Individuals Can Contribute to Online Security 

Legislation won’t solve cybercrimes, and criminals will continue exploring these loopholes. However, individuals and those creating the online environment have a role to play. For instance, web developers and engineers tasked with designing and creating the online environment can play a part in cybersecurity. 

  • Secure authentication. Implementing multi-factor authentication helps protect user accounts better, which is particularly poignant given that only 29% of companies admitted to employing multi-factor authentication.
  • Data encryption. Individuals can employ data encryption to cover user data and traffic in traffic and at rest. This includes using secure communication protocols like the HTTPS protocol and TLS encryption.
  • Software updates. Web developers need to commit to identifying vulnerabilities and providing updates to patch them regularly. Given that, 17% of cyber attacks targeted web applications, and 98% of web applications were found to be vulnerable. 
  • User education. The majority of data breaches occur as a result of human error. For instance, many individuals admit to poor password practices and hygiene. Therefore, web developers can incorporate guidance tips to educate web users on practices that negatively impact their cyber hygiene. Individuals with a basic understanding of web development can also contribute to cyber hygiene by learning the ropes of the field. 
  • Input validation. Necessary validation can help tackle cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity regulations try to keep us safe. Unfortunately, the rapid development of technology, politics, and the nature of cyber crimes affect their effectiveness. As such, organizations and individuals have to play their part in creating a secure online environment. This article represents one of our many contributions to the cybersecurity cause. 

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