Cybersecurity is critical to governments, businesses, organizations, and individuals. Browse Investopedia’s expert-written library to learn more.
Guide to Cybersecurity
What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires two separate forms of identification in order to access something. The first factor is typically a password while the second can be a code sent to the user’s phone or tablet or biometrics using their fingerprint, face, or retina 2FA combines two of the following: something you know (password), something you are (your fingerprint, face, or retina), and something you have (a phone or tablet).Learn More: What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity describes the collective measures to protect internet-connected devices, networks, and data, from unauthorized access and criminal use. Cybersecurity seeks to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data over its entire life cycle. Cybersecurity protects both software and hardware. It can be used to protect everything from personal information to complex government systems.Learn More: Cybersecurity
Are cyber attacks going up?
According to the 2022 Global Cyber Threat Report by SonicWall, a cybersecurity company, governments around the world saw a 1,885% increase in cyber attacks in 2021. The Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell in the U.S. also expressed concern over the state of cybersecurity. In February 2020, Powell stated that cybersecurity is the greatest risk facing the financial system.Learn More: Cyberattacks and the Risk of Bank Failures
What is Aaron’s Law?
Aaron’s Law is a bill introduced to the U.S. Congress in 2014 Representative Zoe Lofgren of California. The bill was named after Aaron Swartz, an early internet innovator and activist who committed suicide while facing a potential 35-year prison sentence for illegally downloading millions of academic articles that were only available via a subscription service. The bill did not pass, but is still used in legal discussions about internet privacy.Learn More: Aaron’s Law
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a piece of legislation passed in April 2016 that requires websites to disclose to its visitors living in the European Union how it collects and uses visitors’ personal data. The GDPR must be heeded by all sites that attract European visitors, even if they don't specifically market goods or services to EU residents. The GDPR requires websites to ask its visitors to “accept cookies”, i.e. allow their personal information to be collected and used by the site’s owner.
Encryption is the process of translating data using an algorithm that makes the original information unreadable to unauthorized users. Encrypted data can only be accessed, or decrypted, by those with the correct key or cipher. Decryption helps keep private information, personal messages, and financial information secure.
The Dark Web refers to online content that isn’t indexed by traditional search engines. These websites aren’t accessible to the general public and instead can only be accessed using specific web browsers such as the Tor browser.
Ransomware is a tactic used by hackers to hijack a user’s computer system. In a ransomware attack, a user’s computer system is held hostage until they pay the hacker a ransom to unlock their computer and return their data to them. The hacker often demands payment in cryptocurrency to protect their anonymity.
Cloud computing delivers and stores different types of information on the internet rather than keeping files on a proprietary hard drive or local storage device. There are three main types of cloud computing, including: software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
Laws & Regulations
SonicWall. "2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report." https://www.sonicwall.com/2022-cyber-threat-report/
Federal Reserve. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/testimony/powell20200211a.htm