Computer Science
concepts of cybersecurity

The world today revolves around computers and uses digital technologies as storage for different types of data. We have data moving all around us almost all the time either from the internet or other means of data transfers, thus the need to secure the data and make sure it gets to its intended user exactly the way it was sent without any modification arises.

This is where cybersecurity comes in as digital information needs to be protected against malicious activity. 

Cybersecurity can be defined as the art of securing data or digital information on networks and computers from attacks, unauthorized access and potentially any form of malicious activity. 

In this article, we will discuss cybersecurity and the basic concepts of cyber security. Cybersecurity is an essential part of software development as both individuals and different sizes of organizations depend on online data transfer and cloud data storage.


Now that you have a little understanding as to what cybersecurity entails, we would explore cybersecurity basics to help us get a solid grasp on different cybersecurity concepts and how to secure digital information better. Cyber security is not limited to big organizations as recently there has been an increase in cyber threats targeted at individuals and small organizations.

This makes us realize that the need for cyber security is not restricted to just companies but should be practised by virtually anyone using a computer or electronic device connected to the internet or a network. 

Here are a few important cyber security basics every internet user should know to ensure their device is properly secured against cyber threats.

  • Device Protection

Device protection involves identification of the device or devices on a network, securing them with the appropriate anti-viruses, and necessary updates of firmware as more security features are added and bugs are fixed with software updates.

  • Online Protection

Online protection includes using unique passwords for different sites, adding secure passwords for routers or network connectors and the use of VPNs. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is used to create a virtual address for the internet user and hide the user’s true location by encryption.

  • Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybersecurity awareness involves all members of an organization and individual computer users as the practice reduces the risk of cyber-attacks. For example, links in email messages shouldn’t be clicked as harmful software can be downloaded giving unauthorized access to cybercriminals.

  • Backups

Backup is an integral part of cyber security that involves storing data either offline (remote storage) or online (cloud storage). Cloud storage is mostly used over remote storage as data stored online can be accessed by anyone with internet and authorization, while remote storage is only accessed from one location.

  • Data Organization

Data organization involves classifying the data on devices or networks into categories that would ensure the easy location of files when needed for use. The data should be organized in a way that only allows members of an organization to access and modify files on the network.

  • Using Secure Connections

Only secure connections should be used while accessing sensitive information as secure connections protect the data being sent from or to the web server and prevent the interception of sensitive information. If a connection is secure, it usually has the “https” prefix.


Cybersecurity fundamentals refer to the basic practice and principles that govern the protection of digital assets from diverse cyber threats. Cybersecurity fundamentals cover the prevention, detection and response to cyber threats and cyber-attacks. Here are some Cyber security fundamentals to note:

  1. Device Identification:  An essential part of any secure network is device identification. It involves knowing all the assets in the organizational network ranging from mobile devices to computers, servers and even printers and network hardware like routers and what operating system they all run on.
  2. Risk Assessment and Management:  Risk Assessment covers the identification of potential risks and vulnerabilities to digital information and the assessment of the scale of potential impact. A proper risk assessment structure sorts the identified risks by priority.
  3. Security Protocols:  This involves enforcing security policies to protect digital assets. It includes access control, which could be full access, partial access and no access according to the organizational plans for data protection and password encryption.
  4. Threat Management:  Threat management is the process of assessing threats to an organizational management network and involves penetration testing, vulnerability management and patch management.
  5. Incident Response: This involves the setting up of a response to reduce the consequences in the event of a data breach.

There are several other cybersecurity practices and learning them helps in protecting digital information from cyber threats and potential attacks. It is important however to note that cybersecurity is a constantly evolving world and security software must be reviewed and updated frequently to ensure maximum protection.


Cybersecurity concepts are assurances that should be implemented to safeguard personal or organizational data from unauthorized access, theft, or any form of cybercrime. A good cyber security framework is essential to any organizational structure and these concepts act as the foundation of good cyber security posture.

These cyber security concepts are also referred to as the 5 C’s of cybersecurity and are very necessary to adopt for both individuals and organizations to secure their data better. The following are the 5 C’s of cybersecurity:

  • Change

Change is an important concept in the world of cybersecurity as new technologies are being introduced every day and inadvertently new vulnerabilities are discovered with time. This calls for the need for members of the organization to stay vigilant and update their software frequently. 

  • Compliance

With the increased rate of cyber-attacks, there are laid down regulations regarding cybersecurity both from industry and the government to mitigate the risk of cyber threats. Individuals and members of an organization should ensure to abide by the appropriate industry laws like data privacy laws, health care regulations, financial laws, etc.

  • Cost

The cost of cybersecurity practices must be put into consideration in organizations as implementing cheaper cybersecurity may be beneficial at first but in the long run harmful as the organization may lose a lot more than that in the event of a breach. Software and hardware should be purchased according to present and future organizational needs.

  • Coverage

Cybersecurity coverage involves the protection protocols and scale of protection that an organization has in place to prevent and respond to cyber threats. This includes but isn’t restricted to firewalls, antivirus software and regular scanning of devices for malware. Organizations should always prioritize the protection of data.

  • Continuity

Cybersecurity continuity refers to the ability of an organization to ensure the maintenance of normal business operations while facing a cyber threat. Continuity involves swift incident response, backup, restoration and/or disaster recovery plans.


Cyber threats can be defined as any event that has the potential to impact individual or organizational operations and assets through an information system using unauthorized access. Cyber threats are usually targeted with the intent of causing harm like identity or financial theft and damage. 

Here are a few types of cyber threats:

  • Malware 

Malware is used to refer to malicious software designed to obtain sensitive information, disrupt computer systems, or even take total control of the system. Malware usually enters a system or network when a user clicks on a dubious link often sent through email or click baits. Click baits are simply misleading and false content designed to attract users to click on them.

  • Phishing

Phishing is the act of tricking computer users into disclosing sensitive data such as personal or financial information and passwords, by posing as an organizational entity that can be trusted. Different types of phishing attacks utilize email, SMS texts or phone calls to impersonate a trusted organization and deceive users into disclosing information.

  • Ransomware

Ransomware which stands for ransom software is a type of malware that targets a system and blocks access to some or all features on a network until a ransom is paid. Ransomware usually involves data encryption on a target system and renders files inaccessible until the ransom is paid, and the files are decrypted.

  • SQL Injection

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language for storing and processing information on a database. SQL injection is a type of cyber-attack where malicious code is entered into a server that uses SQL. This results in the display of sensitive information stored in the database.

  • Man in the middle

In a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, hackers usually get access to a network and then use spyware (a type of malware used to spy on the target user’s actions) to get information from a system on the same network. They could also install malware on the targeted system to get the data that they need.


Information security often shortened as InfoSec deals with the protection of information and systems from unauthorized access and use. We can look at cyber security as a subset of information security as InfoSec is an umbrella term that refers to securing both physical and digital data while cyber security is a type of InfoSec that is concerned with securing devices connected to the internet.


  1. What are the basics of cybersecurity?

Answer: The basics of cybersecurity are the basic steps every internet user should consider while using the internet to avoid cyber threats. The basics of cybersecurity consist of device protection, online protection, cybersecurity awareness, backups, and data organization.

  1. How do I start understanding cybersecurity?

Answer: To understand cyber security one must note the basic concepts of cybersecurity and implement them anytime you use a computer.

  1. What are the 5 C’s of cybersecurity?

Answer: The 5 C’s of cybersecurity are the basic areas of cybersecurity to note while implementing cybersecurity they are Change, Compliance, Cost, Coverage and Continuity.

Key Points

  • Cybersecurity Basics: It is important for individuals and organizations to practice cybersecurity to protect their digital information. Key basics include device protection, online protection, cybersecurity awareness, backups, and data organization.
  • Cybersecurity Fundamentals: These include device identification, risk assessment and management, security protocols, threat management, and incident response. These fundamentals help protect digital assets and respond to cyber threats effectively.
  • Cybersecurity Concepts (5 C’s): The 5 C’s of cybersecurity are Change, Compliance, Cost, Coverage, and Continuity. These concepts form the foundation of a good cybersecurity posture and guide individuals and organizations in safeguarding their data.
  • Cyber Threats: Common types of cyber threats include malware, phishing, ransomware, SQL injection, and man-in-the-middle attacks. Understanding these threats is essential to identify and prevent potential harm to personal or organizational data.


  1. Cybersecurity should be practised only by big organizations. 

True or False

Answer: False

  1. Information security is not the same as cybersecurity.

True or False

Answer: True

  1. Which of these is not one of the 5 C’s of cybersecurity?
  1. Compliance
  2. Cost
  3. Change
  4. Cyberattacks

Answer: D

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