Cyber security vs. information security: A comparative insight

Cybersecurity and information security are often associated with each other and have often been used interchangeably. When searching for information security, it is not uncommon to find articles on cybersecurity. But unlike popular understanding, both of these terms have different connotations.

What does cyber security mean?

Cybersecurity is defined as the act of protecting and securing devices like network systems, computers, and applications from unauthorized attacks of any kind. Because of the fast-paced digital transformation of companies across the globe, cybersecurity threats have escalated. It has reached beyond critical levels, putting sensitive data across organizations at risk. The complexities of geopolitics and the more scattered nature of attack methods have made corporations, and national governments consider cybersecurity a top priority.

Some of the attacks that come under the jurisdiction of cybersecurity are listed below for a better understanding.

  1. Malware: All kinds of malicious attacks on the internet, including spyware, viruses, worms, and ransomware, come under the umbrella term of malware. Malware software attacks the network through a breach of privacy that can happen any time a person clicks on a dangerous link or email attachment, leading to the installment of the virus on the device.
  2. Phishing: Phishing is the action of delivering fake messages that appear to come from a trusted source, typically by email. The purpose, mainly, is to steal or obtain sensitive data like credit card information or to infect the victim’s computer with malware.
  3. Man-in-the-middle attack: MitM attacks or man-in-the-middle attacks are also known as eavesdropping attacks. These happen when attackers or hackers position themselves between two-party transactions. Attackers use two primary points of entry for these attacks, and they are;
    1. Using malware to breach the device and install software to steal data.
    2. Attackers can put themselves between a device and the network when using exposed public Wi-Fi. The visitor unconsciously transmits all information to the attacker.
  4. SQL injection: It happens when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server that utilizes SQL, making the server divulge information it would otherwise hide. This attack can take place simply by typing malicious code into a search bar on a susceptible website.
  5. Denial of service attack: Also known as the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), this attack overloads systems, servers, or networks. As a consequence, the server is unable to respond to valid queries. This attack is also carried out via numerous hacked devices.
  6. Zero-day exploit: A zero-day exploit occurs after a network vulnerability has been publicly disclosed but before a patch or remedy has been applied. During this time, attackers will focus on the openly revealed information.

Some examples of cybersecurity incidents include breach of access, password sniffing, system infiltration, and instant messaging abuse. Now that we’ve understood what entails a cyber attack let us understand what comes under information security.

What does information security mean?

Commonly known as Infosec, information security is a system of authorized processes and tools employed to protect information carried through or outside an organization. The purpose is to protect and maintain the privacy of sensitive information such as client account information, financial information, and intellectual property – irrespective of its format. Unlike cybersecurity – information security pans across all information assets – including physical reports and documents.

In a nutshell, information security is the prevention of unauthorized access or manipulation of data while it is being stored or transferred, or used by an organization.

What is the difference between cyber security and information security?

Cybersecurity aims to secure data, storage sources, devices, and other assets in cyberspace against assaults. On the other hand, information security is designed to safeguard data from any type of danger, whether analog or digital.

Cybercrime, cyberfraud, and law enforcement are all common topics in cybersecurity. In contrast, information security concerns unauthorized access, disclosure alteration, and interruption. Therefore, it can be said that cybersecurity is a subset of information security.

Is there a common ground between cybersecurity and information security?

Proving fundamental to security in the digital age, both cybersecurity and information security have common ground that links them together even though a chain of differences sets them apart. We’ve listed these commonalities below. A physical security component is present for both cyber security and information security.

If you have a warehouse full of sensitive paper records, you’ll need to put some physical protection in place to keep anyone from looking through them. As more data becomes digital, more powerful IT security measures are required to secure it. While you cannot install a real padlock on a desktop computer, you may install a padlock on the server room door. To put it another way, whether your data is held physically or digitally, you must ensure that you have the appropriate physical controls in place to prevent unauthorized access.

Value of the data above differences

If you work in information security, your major worry is preventing unauthorized access to your company’s data. If you work in cybersecurity, your main issue is preventing unlawful electronic access to your company’s sensitive data. The relevance of the data in both circumstances is, therefore, critical.

Whether you work in information security or cybersecurity, you need to identify what data is most important to your company so you can focus on implementing the appropriate cyber risk management and monitoring systems. In some cases, an information security expert will assist a cybersecurity expert in prioritizing data protection, after which the cybersecurity expert will choose the best course of action for data protection.

Final word

Cyber security is a subset of information security, meaning that all cybersecurity measures are also information security measures, but there are other types of information protection. Understanding the differences between these two and utilizing the appropriate tools to prevent security breaches can significantly lower your company’s risk profile.

Scrut Automation is an innovative and radically simple governance, risk, and compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.

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