The term "cyberspace" refers to the virtual computer world, specifically an electronic medium used to facilitate online communication. Cyberspace is typically a large computer network of many global computer subnetworks that use the TCP/IP protocol to facilitate communication and data exchange activities.
The central feature of cyberspace is an interactive and virtual environment for a wide range of participants. In the common IT lexicon, "cyberspace" refers to any system with a large user base or even a well-designed interface. Users can use cyberspace to share information, interact, swap ideas, play games, participate in discussions or social forums, conduct business, and create intuitive media, among other things.
The word "cyberspace" was first used by William Gibson in his 1984 book Neuromancer. In later years, Gibson criticised the term, calling it "evocative and essentially meaningless." Nonetheless, the term is still widely used to describe any Internet-connected facility or feature. The term is used to describe various virtual interfaces that create digital realities.
In many ways, cyberspace is defined by human societies. One way to define cyberspace is the use of the global Internet for a variety of purposes ranging from commerce to entertainment. We see cyberspace existing wherever stakeholders set up virtual meeting spaces. You could say that wherever the Internet is used, a cyberspace is created. The widespread use of desktop computers and smartphones to connect to the Internet indicates that cyberspace is expanding in a practical (if somewhat theoretical) sense.
Online gaming platforms marketed as massive online player ecosystems are another prime example of cyberspace. These large communities, when playing together, create their own cyberspace worlds that exist only in the digital realm and not in the physical world, which is sometimes referred to as the "meatspace."
To truly understand what cyberspace is and what it means, consider what happens when thousands of people who might have previously gathered in physical rooms to play a game do so instead by each looking into a device from remote locations. In a sense, gaming operators are bringing interior design to cyberspace by dressing up the interface to make it more appealing.
Indeed, gaming, as well as streaming video, demonstrate what our societies have largely chosen to do with cyberspace as a whole. Many IT specialists and experts, such as F. Randall Farmer and Chip Morningstar, believe that cyberspace is more popular as a medium for social interaction than for technical execution and implementation. This clarifies how societies chose to create cyberspace.
The practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, as well as data from malicious attacks is known as cyber security. It is also known as information technology or electronic data security. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, from business to mobile computing, and it can be divided into a few broad categories.
Network security: It is the practice of defending a computer network against intruders, whether they are targeted attackers or opportunistic malware.
Application security: It keeps track of the security of software and devices. A compromised application may allow access to the data it is supposed to protect. Security begins with design, long before a programme or device is deployed.
Operational security: It includes the processes and decisions for handling and protecting data assets. This includes both the permissions granted to users when connecting to a network and the procedures governing where and how data can be stored or shared.
Disaster recovery and business continuity: It defines how a company responds to a cyber-security incident or any other event that results in the loss of operations or data. Disaster recovery procedures define how an organisation rebuilds its operations and information after a disaster to carry regular operations. Business continuity is the plan that an organisation uses when it is unable to operate due to a lack of resources.
End-user education: It addresses the most unpredictable aspect of cyber security: people. By failing to follow good security practices, anyone can introduce a virus into an otherwise secure system. Teaching users to delete suspicious email attachments, not to plug in unidentified USB drives, and a variety of other important lessons is critical for any organisation's security.
The severity of the cyber threat
Data breaches are becoming more frequent each year, and the global cyber threat is evolving quickly. A RiskBased Security report claims that in the first nine months of 2019, data breaches exposed an astounding 7.9 billion records. This figure is more than twice (112% more) as many records were revealed during the same time period in 2018 than this year. The most vulnerable sectors included government, retail, and medical services, with the majority of incidents being committed by malicious criminals. Some of these industries are more attractive to cybercriminals even though they collect medical and financial data, but all businesses that are using networks are vulnerable to customer data theft, corporate espionage, as well as customer attacks.