Cyber Security Vs Cyber Defense: Know the Difference?

The news media publishes stories daily regarding online hacks breaching banking information, personal and professional data, and identity theft. Now, more than ever, Americans should take the time to shore up their cyber defense systems to achieve a state of optimal cyber security.

What is the difference between cyber security and cyber defense? Simply put, the differences are that Cyber Defense is the strategy employed to protect systems and the information and data they contain. With Cyber Security being focused on how the strategy is implemented. You cannot separate Cyber Security from Cyber Defense. Both are necessary components of safeguarding information from hackers and other kinds of breaches.

You might think that having the best antivirus and anti-malware software you can buy installed on your computer keep your online data safe. And while they are an active part of any defense strategy, they are not all you need to do to protect yourself and your information.

In the rest of this article, we will identify and discuss the difference between cyber security and cyber defense. Also, we will also go over the successful implementation of a strategy to safeguard your online data.

What is Cyber security and Cyber Defense?

Cyber security and cyber defense strategies work together to help individuals and businesses assess and enhance their capacity for detecting, preventing, and responding to cyber-attacks.

So what exactly are cyber security and cyber defense, and how do they work together to keep your online data safe? To begin, let’s clarify a few terms.

  • Cyber: related to or involved with computers[1] or computer networks;
  • Defense: the act or action of resisting or defending from a threat[2] or attack;
  • Security: the quality or state of being free from dangers[3] or threats.

With that in mind, cyber security is the state of being free from dangers or threats to your computer systems or online data and information.

Cyber defense is the action necessary to fend against an attack against your computer systems or online data.

Diving a little deeper, advanced encryption management software company Fornetix puts it like this[4]:

“Cyber Security speaks to solutions that make you free from danger or threat. Cyber Defense speaks to solutions that actively resist attack.”

How Do Cyber security and Cyber Defense Work Together?

At their core, cyber security and cyber defense are inseparable. Cyber defense is a strategy deployed by individuals, companies, organizations, and governments to protect computer systems and online data from attack.

A successful cyber defense program implements tools like antivirus, and if successful, the result is having a state of cyber security.

So basically, cyber defense is the action, and cyber security is the result.

Cyber security and Cyber Defense Concerning Information Security and Governmental Organizations

To avoid any confusion, we want to discuss the difference between cyber security and information security briefly. And, we want to quickly address the topic of cyber defense in a governmental setting.

Cyber security vs. Information Security

As cyber security rating company BitSight pointed out[5], cyber security focuses on confidential data stored in electronic form on computers, computer networks, mobile devices, and online.

On the other hand, information security is a broader term covering all data to include both digital data and information physically stored at home and in offices.

Whether you are working with digital information or physical documents, your concerns will be the same: the confidentiality, integrity, and the availability of your data. (Security industry experts refer to this as the “CIA”).

Cyber Defense in a Governmental Setting

The topic of cyber defense is confusing and complicated, and many people have different definitions of the term.

For example, some organizations use the term cyber defense when discussing national strategies aimed at the digital protection of critical infrastructure like electric grids. Likewise, the term describes efforts to protect military operations and the cyber data that accompanies national defense.

Multinational cyber security and antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab recently discussed[6] the development of cyber defense frameworks initiated by the United Kingdom, France, NATO, and the European Union.

3 Cyber Defense Strategies You Can Use Today

Cyber security should be considered a vital part of any individual or organization’s ongoing risk management operations. Developing a proactive cyber defense strategy is key to the attainment of that aim.

We will now discuss eight different methods or systems to incorporate into your cyber defense strategy, be it at home or in the office.

1. Antivirus Software

Hackers and cyber-criminals plague the internet today, making it necessary to have the best antivirus software package you can afford installed on your PC, laptop, or Mac.

Antivirus software serves to monitor, protect, and take action to disable and remove malicious software infecting your computer or device from viruses, worms, and malware.

These terms are frequently used interchangeably, so let’s quickly cover their meaning:

  • Virus: Computer viruses are a piece of code that can replicate itself. Viruses harm devices by corrupting your operating system or destroying data,
  • Worm: Worms are computer programs capable of replicating themselves so that they can spread to other computers through the internet or network systems. Worms are a kind of malware that takes advantage of security failures on devices to gain initial access.
  • Malware: Malware, also called malicious software, is a rather broad term used to refer to adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, Trojan horses, viruses, and worms. Malware collects sensitive information, disrupts normal device operations, gains access to private computer systems, and shows unwanted advertising.

There are numerous antivirus software packages available today, both paid and free. TechRadar[7], Tom’s Guide[8], and PCMag[9] all published recent reviews of the best antivirus software packages available today.

We compiled our list of top antivirus software packages using those reviews along with information from other product review sites like a Consumer Reports[10].

We will discuss each software package below.

Kaspersky Total Security

Kaspersky offers three home product packages:[11] Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Internet Security, and Total Security.

All three packages include secure defense for Windows-based systems against viruses, ransomware, and more; performance-based protection that doesn’t slow you down; and a simple easy-to-use dashboard for up to three devices.

Both the Internet Security and Total Security packages add the ability to secure PCs, Macs, and mobile devices in any combination. They also add privacy features protecting against webcam hijacks, blocs phishing attempts, and launch an encrypted browser to protect your online money transactions on both PC and Mac systems.

The Total Security package can be used on up to five devices and adds child safety features to include a “bad content” blocker, GPS tracking, and more. It also adds password management and syncing for access on PC, Mac, and mobile devices, automated local backups, and file protection on PCs.

Kaspersky Total Security offers the most comprehensive coverage with a lot of useful features. And when you factor their perpetual discounts and the nominal difference in rates for each package, you should consider purchasing this package if you choose Kaspersky.

Kaspersky is our choice for the best antivirus software package for home users and small businesses for its variety of features and its easy-to-use dashboard.

Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender offers three home product packages[12]: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Internet Security, and Total Security. 

All three packages include protection against malware, spyware, and adware; and multi-layer ransomware protection for only one operating system at a time for up to three devices to include Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Both Internet Security and Total Security packages add parental control features. And, the Total Security package adds a device Optimizer, and the ability to secure devices using Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS in any combination.

Bitdefender Total Security offers the best coverage, and when you factor in their ongoing discounts and the nominal cost difference between each package, you should consider purchasing this package if you decide to select Bitdefender.

Bitdefender Business Solutions

Bitdefender also offers a variety of business solutions in addition to its home product packages. For example, they offer three business product packages: Bitdefender Premium Security, Small Office Security, and GravityZone Business Security.

Bitdefender Premium Security[13] comes with all the features of the Total Security package and adds unlimited VPN traffic, priority customer support, and complete e-threat protection for all operating systems. Additionally, Premium Security can be used on up to 10 devices.

Small Office Security[14] comes with all the features of the Total Security package and adds Next-gen security specially designed for businesses. Additionally, it adds complete protection for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Small Office Security also prevents hackers and malicious software intrusions from exploiting system vulnerabilities and has a cloud-based central control panel for operating across multiple devices. Additionally, Small Office Security can be used on up to 20 devices.

Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security[15] includes all the features of Small Office Security and supports Windows PCs, macOS computers, and physical or virtual machine platforms. It also provides file server protection, email security, patch management, full disk encryption, and security for Amazon Web Services. Additionally, GravityZone Business Security can be used on up to 100 devices.

Last but not least, Bitdefender offers a wide array[16] of business security packages, products, and add-ons suitable for companies, organizations, and managed service providers.

Bitdefender is the clear choice for businesses and organizations.

Norton 360 Standard

Norton offers four product packages[17]: Norton AntiVirus Plus, Norton 360 Standard, Norton 360 Deluxe, and Norton 360 with LifeLock Select.

All four packages include anti-spyware, antivirus, malware, and ransomware protection; online threat protection; cloud backup storage; a smart firewall; and a password manager. Additionally, all Norton Packages include their Virus Protection Promise, which provides the possibility of a refund based on the purchase price of your product if a Norton expert is unable to remove a virus from your device.

Norton AntiVirus Plus can be used on only one PC or Mac. Norton 360 Standard can be used on one PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 with LifeLock Select can both be used on up to five PCs, Macs, smartphones, or tablets.

When it comes to features, Norton 360 Standard increases the cloud backup storage from AntiVirus’ 2GB to 10GB. It also adds VPN service, PC SafeCam, and dark web monitoring.

Norton 360 Deluxe includes all those features and increases cloud storage to 50GB and adds parental controls.

Norton 360 with LifeLock Select increases cloud storage to 100GB, adds a privacy monitor, LifeLock Identity Alert, U.S.-based identity restoration services, stolen wallet protection, credit monitoring, social security number alerts, ID verification monitoring, and data breach notifications.

Norton 360 with Lifelock Select offers the most comprehensive coverage with a panoply of bells and whistles. However, its purchase price is substantially higher than that of the other packages.

For that reason, we recommend Norton 360 Standard for individuals with only one device and Norton 360 Deluxe for people with multiple devices and interested in parental control features.

Total Security offers the most comprehensive coverage with a lot of useful features. And when you factor their perpetual discounts and the nominal difference in rates for each package, you should consider purchasing this package if you choose Kaspersky.

Norton is a solid choice for home users and small businesses for its long-standing reputation and variety of features. Additionally, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select is our choice for individuals and companies interested in monitoring their credit, social security number, and ID verification monitoring.

2. Detection and Monitoring

There are a variety of companies offering comprehensive website security solutions. These companies provide a range of multi-step systems providing detection, protection, and monitoring protocols.

Content management platforms (CMS) such as WordPress[18], Joomla![19], and Magento[20] are the most vulnerable websites to security breaches due to their interactive Web 2.0 architecture.

Out of those three systems, WordPress remains the most vulnerable by a significant margin. A recent study[21] found that out of 8,000 infected websites, 74 percent were built using WordPress.

Sucuri[22] and SiteLock[23] are industry-standard security and performance platforms. Both companies provide security options that include web application firewall (WAF) systems, real-time virus and malware monitoring, and incidence response (virus and malware removal).

Additionally, both systems provide website performance and speed optimization using a variety of caching options and a cloud-based content delivery network (CDN).

Both Sucuri and SiteLock provide free WordPress plugins. However, SiteLock’s plugin[24] has not been updated in over three years and may not be compatible with recent versions of WordPress.

Intended to support your current security program, Sucuri’s plugin[25] security features include blacklist monitoring, file integrity monitoring, and remote malware scanning. It also features post-hack security actions, remote malware scanning, security activity auditing, and security notifications.

Website design and administration portal CollectiveRay[26] reviewed each system, giving Sucuri a slight edge with an overall five-star rating to SiteLocks four-star rank.

Sucuri Pros and Cons

Sucuri’s pros include its exemplary reputation, core integrity checks, cloud-based DNS protection to take the brunt of website attacks, and zero-day exploit protection.

Additionally, a basic account with Sucuri offers website acceleration, SSL support, DDoS protection, and blacklist monitoring and, if necessary, removal.

The only real downside to Sucuri is its price, which is slightly more than that of other security solutions companies to include SiteLock.

SiteLock Pros and Cons

SiteLock’s pros include vulnerability patching using core code changes, and true code static application security testing (SAST).

The main negative to SiteLock is the lack of features available with its basic pricing plan. For example, SiteLock’s basic plan only provides automatic threat detection and malware removal. All other services to include CMS patching, database scanning and cleaning, SSL support, and blacklist removal require a premium account.

3. Encryption Management Hardware and Services

With hacks and cyber-crime on the rise, encryption management hardware and services are increasingly important to individuals and companies interested in protecting content, intellectual property, digital payments, and more.

Encryption management is a complex field requiring the services of experts. NCipher is one of the leading companies[27] in the field, offering datacards and nShield hardware security modules (HSMs) that provide secure solutions for creating digital signatures, encrypting data, and generating encryption and signing keys for clients. 

NCipher’s HSMs are constructed to provide the best hardened and tamper-resistant environments used for encryption, HSM key management, key generation and protection, and secure cryptographic processing. NCipher’s nShield modules support a variety of deployment configurations and use three FIPS 140-2 certified form factors.

NCipher also provides cryptographic solutions necessary for securing emerging technologies such as blockchain, cloud servers, digital payment, IoT, and more. They also help companies meet compliance mandates with proven technology that global businesses and organizations rely on today to protect all their sensitive data. 

In Conclusion

As we discussed above, there are a variety of different strategies and security packages you can use to secure your online data and information. Protecting yourself from hacks and other forms of data breaches can be daunting.

What products and services you decide to use will depend on your particular goals and budget.  However, there is no reason to feel overwhelmed. We have provided a variety of solutions and links to available products and services to meet all your personal and business needs.

Take a deep breath, review the options we listed above, and get back to enjoying your online experience.


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