Protection in Cyberspace: Cybersecurity Risks and Regulations
Cybersecurity adoption has become a priority for countries and companies worldwide. Regulations, guidelines, and template policies are issued to ensure the protection of data and minimize the effects of cyberattacks. Since cyber threats are increasing, the lack of security in cyberspace heightens the risk of fraud, ransomware, misrepresentation, and exploitation. Therefore, companies and nations alike must understand the risks associated with cyberspace along with the methods of avoiding and mitigating its detrimental effects.
In this article, the basics of cybersecurity and regulations issued in Bahrain will be explained.
Cybersecurity and Cyberattacks
In a nutshell, cybersecurity is protection against cyberattacks or threats that may potentially change, destroy, or exploit sensitive information. The widespread issue of ransomware, through which money is extorted or business is halted, requires robust solutions that integrate cybersecurity and avoid the potential for cyber threats.
While cybersecurity is a trending topic today, the field of cybersecurity originated in 1987, when anti-virus software was the only barrier between users and the loss of their data. In 2020, an increase in cyberattacks was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the pandemic, where 450 email addresses and passwords were leaked online, leading scammers to fairly easy methods of exploitation and fraud. During that stage, anti-virus software had little significance whereas avoiding fraudulent emails and awareness were the key. Since cyberattacks are ever-evolving, and technology is advancing, it is an endless cycle of potential threats and reinforcing new security methods.
Avoiding and Mitigating Risks
For the time being, there are a variety of effective cybersecurity solutions available to avoid and mitigate cyber risk. The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) issued regulations, guidelines, and programs that can be utilized by individuals, companies, and governmental entities.
The Baseline Cyber Security Controls (Baseline Controls) must be mandatorily complied with by private and public entities alike, specifically within Critical National Infrastructure sectors (CNI). CNI’s include Gas, Electricity & Oil (GEO), Financial Services, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Health Services, Government Services, Critical Industry, and Transportation. Since the Baseline Controls have comprehensive and effective provisions, the NCSC encourages all companies to adopt its provisions regardless of the sector.
Moreover, the NCSC provides policy templates for cybersecurity policies integrating global best practices. The NCSC advised taking into account the company’s cyber risk assessment when adopting the policy templates. Essential templates regarding data backup, email security, incident response, encryption, and risk management, to name a few, are available on the NCSC website.
The Cyber Trust Program is designed to raise awareness among employees and enhance risk protection from cyberattacks. There are four levels of maturity in the program, (i) Practitioner Level, (ii) Progressive Level, (iii) Professional Level, and (iv) Expert Level. Each aims to improve and evaluate the levels of cybersecurity in order to strengthen companies of all sizes
On a national level, the National Cybersecurity Risk Management Framework was issued to unify the government’s risk management methodology to integrate a center for internet security in its practices. Bahrain has also adopted the Cloud-First Policy which pushes for the adoption of cloud-based services when undertaking all ICT procurements.
The first step to strengthening protection in cyberspace is the continuous awareness of the ever-evolving cyber risks and adopting reliable and effective tools publicly available. In a rapidly evolving landscape, prioritizing cybersecurity is no longer an option – it is a necessity.