As individuals and businesses become more and more dependent on technology, their data and systems are exposed to a variety of security vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity threats are a reality for every company, since even as security professionals continually develop newer security measures to defend data and systems, cybercriminals are finding ways around them.
Cyberattacks involve cybercriminals hacking into computer systems to steal, destroy, or alter data. There could be several motives behind the attacks – sometimes they’re looking for ransom, sometimes they want to access personal and private data. Sometimes they simply want to cause havoc! Cybersecurity attacks can happen to small and medium businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate giants. More often than not, an attack will disrupt your daily operations and cause panic.
To better understand the types of cybersecurity threats out there, we’ve put together a list of the most common ones and the impact they could have on your business.
Here is a list of Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats
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Malware, one of the most common types of cyber threats, refers to malicious software that is installed or activated when you click a compromised link or attachment. The software can block access to sensitive data, it can act as spyware or ransomware, or it could simply disrupt your business operations. Malware comes in a wide range of formats, but a few of the most common types are macro viruses, file infectors, Trojans, polymorphic viruses, system or boot-record infectors, stealth viruses, worms, logic bombs, droppers, and ransomware.
In a phishing attack, you would receive an email from what seems like a trusted source — a bank, business, or even a friend or colleague. The email may contain an external link or an attachment that automatically downloads malware once it’s clicked. The main goal behind phishing attacks is getting access to personal information like bank account details or credit card information. Because the source seems familiar and trusted, people often get tricked into sharing their sensitive information.
Think of a criminal kidnapping someone you love and demanding ransom for their safe release. This is the essence of a ransomware attack, but it’s your data that is held hostage rather than someone you love. One of the most common types of cybersecurity threats, a ransomware attack involves malicious software being installed, which encrypts and blocks a business’ access to its own data. The data is held ransom, with the hacker requiring payment to provide a decryption key and restore access. Without access to their apps and data, business operations become disrupted, and many companies end up paying exorbitant amounts in the hopes that they’ll be able to get up and running quickly. But these are cybercriminals that the businesses are dealing with, and they can’t always be trusted to hand over the data once payment has gone through.
- Zero-Day Exploit
New vulnerabilities in software come to light every single day. Often, they’re patched in no time, with developers working quickly to ensure that the systems are secure. But every now and then cybercriminals will take advantage of the opportunity as soon as it’s discovered. This is known as a zero-day exploit. Zero-day exploits are carried out so swiftly that the attack happens even before a security fix can be found.
- DNS Tunneling
In a Domain Name System (DNS) tunneling cyberattack, a hacker transfers data from your systems using DNS queries and responses. It will usually start with malware being installed on your system, and once the cybercriminal has remote access, they will send sensitive information to themselves through a client-server protocol by exploiting the DNS protocol. Since DNS is basically what lets your systems access the internet, it’s very rarely blocked, making DNS an effective way of transferring illicit information without breaching your firewall security.
- Password Attack
Password attacks rank among the top 10 cybersecurity threats because they’re so common, and often so effective. An attacker will look for a compromised or unencrypted password and gain access to your system. It can be done by brute-force password guessing, where a hacker systematically tries different combinations of passwords, often based on your personal information, to hack into your system. Another popular method is the dictionary attack, where a series of common passwords are tried to gain access to the system. This is what makes password security and multi-factor authentication essential for businesses.
- Drive-by Attack
A drive-by is a common type of cyberattack where hackers find insecure websites and plant malicious scripts on their pages. This will either install malware directly onto the page visitors’ systems or direct them to another site controlled by the attacker often through a pop-up window or email message.
- Man in the Middle
A Man in the Middle (MitM) cyberattack involves communication between a server and a user being hijacked or intercepted. This often happens when a person uses a public Wi-Fi network to access a server. Since public networks are more susceptible, cybercriminals can easily gain access to them and gain control of a system, sending information intended for the server to their own IP address instead and gaining access to sensitive information. The most common types of MitM attacks are session hijacking, IP spoofing, and replay.
- Eavesdropping Attack
Eavesdropping attacks are carried out by intercepting network traffic, giving cybercriminals access to sensitive information, such as credit card or login details. Eavesdropping attacks can be active or passive. Inactive eavesdropping, the attacker, often disguised as a friend or colleague, gets you to provide your sensitive information through probing, tampering, or scanning. In passive eavesdropping attacks, on the other hand, the attacker extracts information by monitoring communication on a network.
- Cross-Site Scripting Attack
Cross-Site Scripting, or XSS, attacks are carried out using third-party web resources. The attacker adds malicious script into a vulnerable website’s database and extracts visitors’ cookie information. This can then be used in session hijacking, allowing hackers to collect network information, log keystrokes, capture screenshots, or remote access and monitor victims’ systems.
Knowing the types of cyber security attacks out there is the first step to protecting yourself and your business. Now that you know the top 10 cybersecurity threats, you should be better equipped to keep your teams and systems updated and prepared. Contact Solid Systems today.