Cyber security is a necessity in this age of digitalization. The boundary between our digital lives and the real ones is becoming vague. From our social affairs to banking needs, everything has become digital.
As a result, there has been a spike in cybercrimes. 3.1 billion spam emails are sent every day. This shows it has become a necessity to protect your organization’s data from its enemies known as cyberthreats.
In this post, we’ll be covering cyber security threats in detail ranging from what it is to how you can protect your organization from it. Here’s what we will be covering:
- What is a cyber security threat?
- 10 most common types of cyber security threats and attacks
- How do I protect myself from cybersecurity threats?
What is a Cyber Threat?
According to CISA:
A cyber threat to a control system refers to a person who attempts unauthorized access to a control system device and/or network using a data communication pathway.
In simple words, a cyberthreat is a malicious attempt to steal your digital data. This can include anything from your banking details and personal projects to your organization's sensitive data.
The goal of most hackers is to gain access to personal and financial information for their benefit, which they can either use for identity theft themselves or sell to the highest criminal bidder.
What Are the Sources of Cyber-Attacks and Threats
Most cyber-attacks come from:
- Individual hackers – They exploit web users to make money via blackmailing or selling data on the black market.
- Black hat hacker groups – They are organized groups that hack organizational systems for economic benefit.
- Dark web hackers – These are the worst form of hackers. people hire them when they either want to make someone's life miserable or bring down an organization.
- Military intelligence and secret services – Done by hostile countries to compromise the national secrets of the targeted nation
All in all, the source of these attacks can be a total stranger who only wants your money or your rival company to damage or steal your data.
Why Protect Yourself From Cyber-Attacks and Threats
Cyber-attacks can do all sorts of harm to you and your business, namely:
- Spy on your device or organizational system
- Get access to your social media or business sites
- Steal your photos or private information
- Blackmail you or your organization for money or illegal actions
- Steal your or your company’s PII dataset and use it for identity theft
- Damage or corrupt your company data
Hence, it is crucial to take your digital security seriously and protect yourself from these attacks.
10 Most Common Cyber Security Threats And Attacks
Cyber security threats are of multiple types, each with a different mode of action.
For example, a hacker may use spyware to monitor your organization’s activities and steal the data or he can use phishing to lead you towards a website that looks similar to an official website and gain access to your banking or credit card details.
To help you further understand how these threats work, we have compiled the 10 common examples of cyber security threats with their mechanism of action.
As the name suggests, Spyware is a program that hackers use to spy. Every letter you type, every site you visit, every password you put in, they can get it all.
Hackers use different strategies to install this malware into your systems. They may combine it with another software you use daily or apply social engineering skills to install it on your computer.
Ransome is a type of malware that the hacker manipulates the users to install on their devices.
The cybercriminal collects sensitive information through this application and then uses it to blackmail the owner for money.
Another such threat is scareware, where the criminal makes you think that your machine has become infected and convinces you to purchase a fake security application.
Social Engineering Attacks
Unlike other programs, social engineering attacks use human psychology to trap its victims. Attackers may gain your personal information through various sources and then use it to generate emails and links.
Ultimately, these emails and links lead you to other threats such as phishing, downloading spyware programs, trojans, etc.
The most common form of a social engineering attack is phishing.
Phishing is a cyberattack mostly through emails, to gather sensitive information from targeted individuals.
For example, a link may lead the user toward a website that looks similar to the original one and then sends the data they enter to the attacker. It could also result in the downloading of malware into the system.
Also known as the DOS attack, the denial-of-service attack uses special software to send thousands of requests to a website. The site tries to cope at first, but gradually, it becomes so jammed that it cannot provide service to its usual customers or viewers.
Another type of DoS is a distributed DoS. In DDoS, the attacker uses multiple computers to generate an even stronger attack.
A DoS or DDoS is usually done to give hackers time to install malware onto the device.
The most lethal form of DoS attack is a botnet or a zombie system, which can take down millions of computers at once and are very difficult to trace.
In an injection attack, the attacker injects a malware code into a program or a device to carry out remote commands or modify data.
There are different types of injection attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, HTML injection, etc.
These attacks can help the attacker bypass authentications, disclose confidential information, and distribute malicious code.
At times, when the injection of malware code fails, the attacker may use brute force attacks or password attacks to gain access.
The hacker uses a program (network sniffers) as an interface between a device and the network or the Internet.
As a result, the data sent towards the target website or computer first reaches the hacker, is sniffed, and then forwarded to the target site or device.
This way, the attacker steals data without ever being noticed.
Attack on IoT Devices
IoT is a network of physical internet-connected devices such as security sensors, cameras, smoke alarms, and microphones.
Attackers usually attack the IoT devices by penetrating the Wi-Fi router. They ultimately compromise the home and business networks resulting in severe data breaches.
Supply Chain Attacks
In supply chain attacks, attackers infect apps used by multiple companies or individuals.
For example, if a person manages to hack a social site, he can access the personal data of millions of people.
Similarly, if a hacker manages to hack a bank's software, he can use that as an entry point to access other banks connected with that application. Furthermore, the hacker may modify the software with each update to fulfil his needs.
Emotet is a modular banking trojan that serves as a downloader or dropper of additional banking trojans.
It can take over an entire business in no time and takes millions of dollars to get removed depending upon the network.
Furthermore, It uses special servers to receive updates from the attacked network or device. The hacker can then use this to modify and upgrade their attacks with software updates.
Advanced Persistent Threats
Advanced Persistent Threat or APT is a generalized term used to describe high-profile cybersecurity attacks against large organizations to mine highly-sensitive data.
APTs use multiple methods to exploit known vulnerabilities present in a network. These methods include using social engineering, network irruption, and malware for a multi-dimensional approach.
Using this method, the attackers monitor the network for a long period and keep mining the wanted information until needed.
How Do I Protect Myself From Cyber Security Threats?
You can protect yourself and your company from these malicious threats by taking these measures:
Use a Security Software and Firewall
A firewall is your first and the biggest safeguard against cyber threats. It restricts access of your system to unknown websites, emails, and software by filtering data based on security rules.
Similarly, a security software system such as an antivirus or a malware detector is also an essential program for your arsenal against cyber threats. As long as you keep your system security software up and running, very few cyber-attacks can access your precious data.
Staying Updated and Patch Management
Ideally, every software you use needs to be updated regularly. These updates often contain important vulnerability patches and other security enhancement features.
In terms of cyber security, it’s patch management, which is the process of adding small pieces of codes, termed as patches, to upgrade the software against cyber threats.
85% of cyber attacks have been stopped via patching. What’s there to lose?!
Hire an expert
An expert will help you identify data and information processing activities and risks. You can use this information to build a cyber security strategy.
A security expert can do periodic security reviews to keep your network safe from potential threats. They can also help you create an effective incidence response plan, which helps in recovering from a high-level attack by enabling to prepare for future incidents.
The best way to protect yourself from cyber attacks is to surf smartly. Here’s what you should do:
- Use an updated web browser
- Always use HTTPS when sending sensitive data
- Do not visit doubtful sites
- Download software only from trusted sites
- Open links and emails from trusted sources only
- Use strong passwords that contain special characters and both capital and small letters
User Roles and Access Settings
Ensure that your organization has an access control system in place.
An access control system entails ways to control how a company’s sensitive data is accessed.
Start by making sure that the user roles and access control is established and the settings are set up correctly. Only specific people should access the most sensitive information for whom it’s necessary to perform their job duties.
Head over to User Role Setup and Management in HTML into PDF Rendering Tools to learn more information on User roles and Access settings
Backup Your Data
For worst-case scenarios, you should always keep a backup of your sensitive data. This will help you in recovering faster from a complete system or network reset.
Last but not least, encrypt your data at rest and during transmission
We hope, by now, you would have learned quite a lot about cyber security threats. Malware such as spyware and other cyberattacks can penetrate your machines and steal your information. To counter these attacks, we should know how to protect ourselves from these threats and build effective security strategies.
If you deal a lot in documents, then you should get your hands on Inkit Render, an HTML to PDF API that comes with access roles, which allow you to customize access rights for every user, providing extra security and preventing data leakage. Head over to this link to get in touch with us.