Cybersecurity threats abound on the Internet. They can strike in numerous ways at any time. Your best option is to be prepared by securing your system’s infrastructure. It is therefore important to have a good understanding of what these threats are, how they can manifest themselves, and how you can combat them. It is essential to stay in the know because the more informed you are the easier it will be to avert potential cybersecurity risks.
Keep in mind that threats are always evolving as hackers devise more sophisticated ways of penetrating your security system. That’s why you need to find a good information security company to run regular penetration tests to identify any vulnerability in your security system that your team may not be aware of. Having said that, let’s now look at 10 common examples of cybersecurity threats that can hurt your business.
Ransomware is the biggest security concern in today’s digital environment. Incidents of ransomware have been on the increase in the past few years. In this type of attack, a malicious computer program injected into your network or end-point locks you out of the system until you pay a huge ransomware, mostly in untraceable Bitcoin. You cannot gain access to any data stored in your computer until you pay the ransom.
The ransomware program furthermore encrypts every file in your system and threatens to wipe out all your data if you don’t pay up within a few hours or days. It is important to ensure that your entire network and computers are protected against ransomware attacks lest you lose all your important business files and documents. Having a separate cloud backup will also be of significant help.
2. Phishing Schemes
Phishing schemes are ranked high among cybersecurity threats because of their high prevalence and ease of infiltration. Most people have fallen victim to phishing schemes by hackers with the intention of stealing personal and financial data. The schemes are engineered in a way to make you click on a seemingly harmless link that leads to another cleverly cloaked malicious URL. Your employees should be well trained to avoid clicking on suspicious links, downloading email attachments from unknown sources, and other methods employed by perpetrators of phishing schemes.
3. Social Engineering
Social engineering is not a new phenomenon. Criminals have been employing social engineering tactics to steal information for years. However, with the meteoritic rise of social media users, online crime and fraud have significantly increased in the recent times.
In a social engineering scam, a criminal simply gets all the information required to access your system or sensitive information by interacting with you online via email or through a social media platform. An employee who is not properly informed on social engineering tactics may expose sensitive information that hackers can use to infiltrate the company’s social media profiles, email accounts, and in some cases bank accounts too.
4. SQL Injection
SQL is a structured programming language used in communicating with databases. Servers that store sensitive data for websites rely on SQL to manage information in their databases. An SQL injection attacks targets such as servers by injecting a malicious code to make the server give out information it is not supposed to. An SQL injection attack can be a major problem if the server stores important customer data such as credit card numbers, password and username credentials, and other information that can be used for malicious intentions.
5. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
This is similar to an SQL injection but rather than target data stored on a vulnerable website, the attacker targets website users directly. Just like an SQL injection, an XSS attack involves the injection of malicious code in a website but in this case, the target is the site’s users rather than the site itself. The code injected in an XSS attack runs on your browser after you have visited the compromised website.
6. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
This is another sophisticated online threat that can severely hurt your business. In this type of attack, everything looks normal in your entire system until you enter sensitive credentials. The malware then changes the server that is receiving the credentials without your knowledge. It is like a silent spy residing in your system waiting for you to enter critical data. The reason why this type of threat is quite dangerous is the fact that you won’t even know when things go wrong until it is too late.
7. Viruses and Malware
Viruses and malware are often used by attackers to steal information or corrupt your system files. Malware is effective because it can be used to gain access in one user’s computer then spread across the entire network of computers in an office or business place. Once malware and viruses enter, they can cause all sorts of damage such as taking control of the computer and closely monitoring common actions like keystrokes to reveal your passwords. Malware can even send confidential data from your computer to the attacker’s machine without your knowledge.
8. Denial-of-Service (DoS)
A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack occurs when an attacker floods your website with more traffic than it can handle, overload the server, and make it impossible for the site to serve its content to visitors. A DoS can also happen for any other reason that overloads a website with a huge amount of traffic from people seeking to access information. However, attackers can flood the website with a huge amount of traffic just to shut it down and interrupt your normal business operations.
9. Point of Sale Intrusions
POS intrusions can happen to restaurants, stores, and other physical retailers. The first step of such attacks is to inject and install malware into a POS device. The injected malware then collects magnetic strip information from credit cards as they are processed. The hacker then uses the data to steal from financial accounts of the affected users.
10. Miscellaneous Errors
These are attacks that result from human error by employees who, as Verizon calls it, “screw up sometimes.” They are incidents where the security of an information asset is compromised due to an unintentional action such as an employee sending an email to the wrong recipient or posting confidential information about the company on a public web server. Such miscellaneous errors can result in a data breach.
Cybercrime has become a big business in today’s world where almost everything runs on the Internet. As cybercriminals continue to use sophisticated methods, incidents of cybercrime are expected to escalate. It is therefore important to exercise constant vigilance to keep your organization safe from cyber-attacks. Staying safe also involves staying updated on current and emerging threats and finding better ways to prevent them.