Commonly Confused Security Topics

Having a PDPA certification and working in cybersecurity and security of information tests your skills and abilities, forcing you to continue studying and learning. It means a tremendous amount of work, especially when you need to abide by all the common principles of terminology and security that come with the area. Add to that the continuous change and innovation that occurs within information technology, and you have a complex set of parameters that you need to learn and understand about continuously.

Therefore, it is no surprise that there are some common misconceptions about specific topics related to information security, and confusing terminology in a professional environment does not leave a good impression. Sometimes people are going to confuse security issues because they are similar or sound the same as anything else.

Let’s look deeper into the topic and reveal some of the most frequently sought-after security subjects that people tend to get puzzled with, and hopefully dissipate some of the incorrect information out there.

Cyber-risks vs Cyberthreats

These two terms are usually used a lot. Maybe it is because they are sometimes used interchangeably throughout a discussion — after all, a threat and a risk have comparable meanings. But, there are some differences between the two when used in the context of cybersecurity. Let us look more closely at each definition.

How Are You Going to Define Cyber Threats?

If you have a PDPA certification, you’ll understand cyber threats as the “possibility of a malicious attempt to weaken or impede a computer network or system.” Another way of thinking about cyber threats is that they are the likelihood or possible occurrence of a malicious event like malware infection or hacking.

Common examples of cyber threats are:

  • social engineering
  • passwords and login details
  • system breaches
  • malware
  • zero-day exploits

How Could You Define Cyber-risks?

Cyber-risk is an indicator of how vulnerable an organization is to all threats to IT and digital systems. Cyber-risk management fosters cooperation between all departments of the organization, including IT and management.

What’s the Difference?

Think about it this way: the cyber threat is the likelihood of a cyber-attack occurring, while the cyber risk is a measure of the impact a cyber attack would have on an organization or company if it were to happen.

Cybersecurity vs. Network Security

The distinction between cybersecurity and network security is very simple. You could quickly think of network security as a subset of cybersecurity, but it doesn’t help if you try to explain the difference between the two precisely. Simply put, cybersecurity is primarily concerned with external threats to the organization, while network security is concerned with the internal functioning of the organization’s network infrastructure security terms.

What is Cybersecurity?

Merriam-Webster defines cybersecurity as “the measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) from unauthorized access or attack.” Usual cybersecurity responsibilities involve:

  • Monitoring and regulating traffic coming into and going out of the organization
  • Network security from the Internet, threats on the LAN and every external threat
  • Testing password security and handling audits on user permissions
  • Controlling antivirus and other merchandises that shield the network
  • Controlling access to the system from the Internet
  • Penetration testing of firewalls and routers

What is Network Security?

Cisco identifies network security as “any activity designed to protect the usability and integrity of your network and data. It includes both hardware and software technologies. Effective network security manages network access. It targets a wide range of threats and prevents them from entering or disseminating on your network.” Competencies needed include:

  • managing Internet access for users on the network
  • monitoring of Internet usage, creating usage reports for management
  • network maintenance and administration
  • firewall and router maintenance and configuration
  • keeping usernames and passwords for users, implementing user permissions
  • router and firewall maintenance and configuration

What is the Difference?

There are differences between network security and cybersecurity, yes, but there are also many areas where they overlap. Smaller organizations may have a small team that is responsible for both cybersecurity and network security within the organization so that the two areas are not separate. Instead, they share a lot of similarities, but they focus on different areas.

What is End-to-end Encryption?

End-to-end encryption is unreadable for everyone except the sender and receiver of the data or message. This data can not be read even by the server that hosts the char session. Whatsapp has implemented E2EE as a way to secure their chat feature, and a whitepaper outlining their rationale and implementation can be found here.

What is the Difference?

The data sent using Transport Layer Security is readable to both the sending and receiving parties, as well as to the hosting machine of the session (usually a web server or an application server). End-to-end encryption is unreadable for anyone but the parties who communicate with each other.


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