You may not realize it, but cyber security threats are all around you. Several types of threats always pose a risk to your sensitive data. Besides, cybercriminals are always looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities in your system, whether you’re a small business or a corporate organization.
You may create and implement cyber security policies and practices to help protect against cyber attacks. However, being aware of the cyber threats you face can help you take the proper steps to safeguard against them. To help you with this, below are some of the most common cyber security threats you can often encounter.
Malware refers to any software designed to damage or disrupt your computer systems. Malware can come in different forms, including viruses, worms, ransomware, and trojans. Other types include adware, spyware, cryptoware, and fileless malware.
Viruses and worms are the most common types of malware. Their design ideally is to replicate themselves and spread from one computer to another. Their common characteristic is how they spread to multiple devices in the same network. A crucial difference between the two is that viruses require a host file and a human execution to activate and spread. In contrast, worms are self-reliant and propagate themselves across your network. They don’t need a host file or a trigger action.
Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate software and can easily access a system. Most cyber security experts recommend reading extensively on how to know if you have a trojan virus. The reason is that trojan horses can be in your system for an extended period before you notice them.
Malware like ransomware encrypts your files and often demands you pay a ransom to get a decryption key. The point is each malware has its specific characteristics and knowing how each infects your system and how it spreads is vital. Some common ways malware can spread are email attachments, website downloads, and using infected external hard drives. Cybercriminals can also use malware to execute other cyber-attacks.
Having robust anti-virus software can help protect against most malware attacks. It’s also best if your team practices and maintains good cyber security hygiene.
You may be a phishing attack target if you receive an email or message that appears to be from a legitimate source. Such emails can claim to be from your bank, a government agency, or even a member of your team. Phishing attacks often use persuasive language and create a sense of urgency. This can trick you into revealing sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link.
Once you click the link, the attacker may direct you to fake websites designed to steal your login credentials or other sensitive information. It’s, therefore, vital to be cautious when you receive such emails or messages. This is especially so if the sender isn’t in your contact list.
A cyber security rule of thumb is not to click on links unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. If you are unsure, you can independently verify the authenticity of the communication before taking any action. One verification step is to inform your system administrator, who can help authenticate such emails.
Structured Query Language Injection Attack
A structured query language (SQL) injection attack involves injecting malicious code into your database through your website’s input fields. This attack usually aims to access or modify sensitive data in the database. The target can include information like login credentials or financial information.
SQL injection attacks can be particularly damaging as they allow the attacker to quickly access and manipulate a large amount of your data.
Distributed Denial Of Service Attacks
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack involves flooding your website or network with traffic to make it unavailable to you or your online visitors. Cybercriminals use a network of compromised computers, often known as a ‘botnet.’ The attacker sends a large traffic volume to your network or website, causing significant disruptions. The volume increase can slow down your servers or even shut them down.
Cyber attackers can use your network’s downtime to launch other attacks like session hijacking. DDoS attacks can be difficult to defend against as it has few warning signs. Besides that, you also have fewer ways to stop it once it starts. However, being aware of the potential for DDoS attacks can let you implement robust measures to protect your network from this and other associated attacks.
Cybersecurity experts recommend using an intrusion prevention system (IPS) to help give you real-time traffic updates in your network. You can also have servers in different data centers to allow you to switch if one is under a DDoS attack. A regular traffic analysis can also help identify and eliminate any malicious traffic.
Other cyber security attacks you may encounter often include password attacks and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. Like DDoS, MITM attacks can be challenging to detect as they involve intercepting legitimate information. Using data encryption software can help protect against MITM attacks. On the other hand, using multifactor authentication and strong password policies can help protect against password attacks.
It’s important to be aware of these and other cyber security threats and take steps to protect your data and network. Your cyber security measures must include strong passwords, installing anti-virus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention exercises.