8 Dangerous Cyber Security Threats You Should Learn to Protect Your Business

Introduction:

With the rapid expansion of technological advancement, the concern for mischievous cyber security threats has been increased at an alarming rate. Every business entity considers cyber security threats as a big deal for preserving business information & assets.

Digitalization continuously influences business owners to pursue new & challenging digital business initiatives that are associated with technology-related risky endeavors. Consequently, cyber security danger prevails in every organization & all cyber threats aren’t directly under the control of IT concerns.

Recognizing the intensity of the problem, all business organization is trying to implement effective steps for safeguarding their information & data security.

Before highlighting details, let’s first find what is a cyberattack?

As per IBM, ”Cyber attacks are malicious attempts to steal, alter, expose, disable or destroy information through unauthorized access to computer systems”.

Typically, a successful cyberattack causes huge damages for your business, such as financial loss stems from the theft of banking information or payment card details, theft of money, stealing of corporate information, creates non-functionality on online transaction process or loss of business. Cyber attack also entails havoc on business reputation which destroys customer trust & loyalty for business, profit & sales both dropped significantly. Cyber security threat even brings legal consequences for the organization due to the breach of the data protection & privacy laws.

A survey conducted in 2020 reveals that cyber attacks have been rated as the fifth top-rated security concern for the public & private sectors. Moreover, World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report explains that the rate of cyber threat detection is as less as 0.05 percent in the U.S. Covid-19 pandemic also increases the likelihood of cybercrime due to the existence of insecure remote working & how to protect your business.

Considering the severity of cybercrime across the world, in this article, we’ll be going to discuss 8 dangerous cyber security threats & share preventive methods on how we handle all those terrible threats.

Related Readings:
https://www.embroker.com/blog/cyber-attack-statistics/

https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/impact-cyber-attack-your-business

Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a type of fraudulent cyber attack often used to steal user data, including logging credentials and banking details & credit card numbers. Phishing is a deceitful act by which an attacker sends suspicious communications by email, instant message, or text message. They disguised their identity by posing as a legitimate user to persuade individuals to click into a malicious link so that malicious software can be installed in the victim’s machine & they can steal all types of sensitive information.

The damaging effect of phishing attacks is so enormous that they wreak havoc on productivity, business reputation & loss of data.

The embarrassing disclosure of public information by phishing attack cause irreparable loss for brand identity & trust. It will take a long time for the organization to regain its brand loyalty.

This type of malware attack escalates major data loss, such as critical information like account credentials or financial information which resulted in a massive monetary loss for the organization.

You can detect phishing attacks by being quite careful & prudent. Few preventive steps have been given below:

  • To avoid any hoax check any inconsistencies in email addresses, links & domain names.
  • Skip any suspicious attachments
  • Check the email information containing bad grammar & spelling errors
  • Be aware of emails that asking account credentials, payment information, or other sensitive data.
  • Avoid any tempting offer like winning a bulk amount of money by participating in a game that is a fraudulent tactic.
  • To resist any suspicious attack, always keep updated your devices & applications on them.
  • Monitor your online accounts regularly that any information a modified without your permission.
  • If you feel that your personal information is being compromised through a phishing attack, then immediately calls your local law enforcement authority.

Related Readings:
 https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/security/email-security/what-is-phishing.html#~how-phishing-works
https://www.imperva.com/learn/application-security/phishing-attack-scam/

Viruses and Worms

A computer virus is quite similar to a flu virus which is aimed to spread from system to system & has the capacity to replicate itself. A computer virus moves in a form of a program or file.

 

The range of destruction of these types of the virus actually varied. Some may cause a mild dismantling effect while others may demolish your hardware, software, & files. This malicious code remains dormant until someone consciously or unconsciously activates it, spreading the infection without the valid approval of the user or system administration.

 

Most commonly, people spread computer viruses most unknowingly by sending emails with viruses as attachments or sharing infecting files. It can also disseminate through social media scam links & internet file downloads.

 

A computer worm is a self-sufficient type of malware that can proliferate & activate without human assistance. The fundamental difference between a virus & a worm is that virus is usually propagated by their host while worm has a self-replicating power that spread independently once they have breached the system.

 

Normally computer worms transmit by exploiting operating system vulnerabilities. Worms create similar destruction like viruses, few are given below:

 

  • Corrupt & delete files
  • Stealing of confidential information
  • Consume bandwidth
  • Overloaded networks
  • Spread malware like spyware or ransomware
  • Deplete hard drive space
  • Install a backdoor

In order to prevent all types of harmful malware like viruses & worms which escalate information security attacks, all businesses need to follow below standard steps:

 

  • Install quality anti-virus & animal ware software
  • Educate employees don’t download any suspicious email attachments.
  • Keep all software updated on all computers & devices
  • Avoid downloading free software from untrusted websites.
  • Regular scan computer & other devices
  • Keep backup of all computer files.
  • Install SSL certificate
  • Keep turn on the firewall in your machine
  • Stop clicking on ads from unfamiliar websites while using P2p file-sharing services.

Related Readings:
https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-malware-what-is-a-computer-virus.html

Drive-by Download Attacks

A drive-by download is a type of cyber attack which influences the condition of the unintentional download of malicious code into a computer or mobile device without the explicit approval of the user.

The drive-by attack is so vicious because anybody can be the victim of it without having deliberate involvement. This attack can occur every user visits any legitimate website.

Cybercriminals often use exploit kits which are known as malicious software to cause the automatic download. The hackers developed exploit kits to reveal loopholes in a device, web-based app, or web browser.

These operational vulnerabilities are exploited to activate the automatic download process & conduct the attack.

Usually, cybercriminals often easily conduct a drive-by download attack if you don’t update your software operating system, plugins, browsers, desktop apps, mobile apps, etc.

The ultimate goal of the drive-by download attack is to infect devices systems & networks, steal confidential information, delete or destroy the data, acquired data sold to competitors or cause financial fraud.

Here, we are suggesting few precautionary methods to handle the drive-by download attack:

  • Install mobile applications only from trusted & approved application stores
  • Don’t facilitate the admin access to the user to their computers.
  • Keep close eyes on BLADE which is known as Block All Drive-by Download Exploits. This is a growing technology that prevents drive-by download attacks so that it cannot exploit window’s vulnerabilities.
  • Install NoScript on your Firefox browser. It is a free & open-source add-on which only approves trusted websites that you choose to run JavaScript, Java & Flash.
  • Install web-filtering software which will prevent people to visit unsafe sites that may be the exposure of drive-by download attacks.

    Related Readings:
    https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/definition/drive-by-download

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that utilizes encryption to hold a hostage of victims’ information at ransom. Cybercriminals use ransomware as extortion software by locking access to your computer system.

 

They intimidate the victim that they will not release access until receive any ransom fee. Due to this malware attack, the victim is unable to access their files, databases & applications since their critical data is encrypted. Cybercriminals often aim to spread ransomware across a network, database & fileservers, so that the function of an entire organization is disrupted.

 

Typically ransomware circulates through phishing emails, infected malicious software apps, spam, infected external storage devices & compromised websites.

 

Either small or large, a business that became the victim of a ransomware attack can experience huge financial loss in terms of productivity & data loss. Not only that, if the victim is unable to pay the ransom amount within the deadline then hackers may expose important customer data in public. Due to this privacy breach, an organization might face legal consequences & loss of brand trust.

As ransomware attack has become an increasing security threat for the business, so you need to follow some vigilant steps to prevent it.

 

Few technical measures are as below:

  • Keep your devices are up-to-date with patches for defending against all types’ cyber attacks.
  • Update operating systems always like Windows Home Version.
  • Install antivirus software on all devices.
  • Take a proper backup of all files & materials. Deploy contingency plan if ransomware attack takes place.
  • Use professional antivirus software.
Botnets

A botnet is a combination of Internet-connected devices, including PCs, servers, mobile devices & IoT devices that are contaminated with this malware & controlled remotely by a single attacking party which is known as “bot-harder”. Another name of the botnet is “robort network”. 

 

The controller of a botnet can run the commands of these compromised computers through communication channels made by standards-based network protocols, such as IRC & Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

 

Most commonly hackers are looking for a security vulnerability in a network so that they can expose the entire system unknowingly with a malware infection. They spread the malware through emails or other online messages.

 

Once the botnet takes control of each computer, they can below admin-level access to monitor:

  • Collecting the user’s data
  • Reading, analyzing & writing system data
  • Monitoring the user’s activities
  • Exchanging files & other data.
  • Installing & operating any applications
  • Looking for vulnerabilities in other devices.

Cybercriminals develop botnets mainly to gain some illicit objectives. Through botnet, the attackers mainly perform identity theft, confidential information theft, cryptocurrency scams, or selling accesses to other criminals. 

 

To stop this emerging security threat, we’re offering some suggestions for you:

  • Train users not to engage in any suspicious activity that traps them a risk of bot infections or other malware contamination. They should be careful downloading attachments or links, opening emails or messages from untrusted sources.
  • The Central IT team should monitor the performance of the network to identify any irregular behavior.
  • Regular update your operating system & all software applications.
  • Install antimalware software to protect your devices.

Configure anti-botnet tools that find & block bot viruses. 

Related Readings:

https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/cyberpedia/what-is-botnet\

Exploit Kits

Exploit kits or exploits packs are automated program that employed by cyber attackers to exploit security vulnerabilities in systems or applications. Cybercriminals use this hacking toolkit to launch secret attacks while users are browsing the web with the aim being to download & spread some type of malware.

 

They normally target popular software like Abodeflash, Microsoft Silverlight Java. Exploit kits are familiar with other names as well, such as crimeware kit, infection kit, malware toolkit & DIY attack kit.

 

Through exploit kits, cybercriminals deceive users by running ads on various networks, which influence the user to go malicious pages that end up using known security vulnerabilities for IE browsers.

 

When vulnerabilities are revealed, attackers exploit them by injecting malware into the user’s machine.

 

To prevent this harmful malware, few measures can be taken to protect against any potential adversity:

 

  • Keep your all browser plug-in up-to-date
  • Use the web-filtering solution for protection
  • Install antimalware software & antiphishing tools for stopping exploit kits from penetrating the network.

Related Readings:
https://www.comparitech.com/blog/information-security/exploit-kits/

Trojan

Trojan (also known as Trojan horse) is a common type of malware code that acts as a legitimate program or file but it can trick you into loading & executing the malware on your device. Hackers develop Trojan to steal, damage, disrupt & in general cause massive havoc on your data or network.

 

Once the Trojan malware is downloaded & executed, cybercriminals take the control of the full network, lock out the user with ransomware attacks, or perform other cyber attacks that are in the mind of hackers. 

 

Infect, Trojan virus spread by utilizing the security vulnerabilities of the system & insufficient security knowledge of the user. Usually, Trojan malware contains in an email attachment, the file, application, or program which appears to come from a trusted source.

 

Due to a lack of proper knowledge, the user often opens the email attachment for download as they are lured by the concept that it came from a valid source. Once the malicious content is installed in the computer, it spread to other files in the device & gradually damages the computer.

 

Normally, the Trojan virus contaminates a computer from the inside which resembles the ancient Greek Trojan horse. Moreover, the design of the Trojan virus determines the scale of damage it occurs to the victim’s network.

 

Some common destruction by Trojan virus attack are given below:

  • Delete the data from the system
  • Modify the targeted database
  • Replicate the data to steal & sell those in the marketplace or to competitors.
  • Block user access to data
  • Suspend the activities of the target computer or network.

To defend against the Trojan malware attack, below few preventive steps can be taken:

 

  • Train & educate employees with sufficient security knowledge.
  • Execute regular scanning to detect harmful sites with malicious content.
  • Regular update operating system & other software applications so that attacker fails to identify any security loopholes.
  • Use strong & complex password for accounts security.
  • Before downloading any email attachment, scan it properly.
  • Take back-up of every file in the device.
  • Use firewall to protect unwanted malicious content.

Related Readings:
https://avataracloud.com/what-are-trojan-viruses-and-how-do-these-threats-work/

MITM

A man in the middle (MITM) attack is a type of cyber attack when a perpetrator establishes a position, himself in a dialogue between a user & application, allowing them to intercept any conversation. Through the MITM attack, the cybercriminal acts like a passive listener in your conversation, silently capturing your secrets. In another way, the attacker can be an active listener who transferring the contents of your conversation or impersonating the person/application you think you’re talking to. Even a MITM attacker can change the contents of the message without the permission of the user.

 

The goals for MITM attack are many, such as stealing personal information, user credentials, bank account details & credit card numbers. This collected information can be used for many nefarious purposes, such as unauthorized bank transfer, identity theft, or an illegal password change.

 

The basic security measures you can implement in your network to avoid any MITM attack:

 

  • Since Wi-fi networks are the most vulnerable point for MITM attacks, so build your password with strong & unique characters.
  • Install virtual private network (VPN) for transferring & exchanging valuable data.
  • Try to update regular your web browser to secure your personal information.

Related Readings:
https://www.imperva.com/learn/application-security/man-in-the-middle-attack-mitm/

Takeaway

After discussing this long discussion, it became clear that having core knowledge & wisdom about cyber security threats are just fundamental & essentials. The rapid growth of technology has made it quite uncomplicated to acquire any personal or business information. Cyber attackers can employ any ulterior techniques to steal important data & disrupt the entire function of any targeted network. So, unequivocally, it’s crucial to deploy necessary security arrangements as a contingency plan to confront those cyber attacks. You can participate in cyber security crash courses that are available online to upgrade your skills & expertise.