Cybersecurity threats are malicious actions carried out in cyberspace, otherwise defined as a virtual space where digital signals exist. These threats are launched by individuals, groups, or organizations attempting to access a company’s network and steal or corrupt confidential data and information.
Cybersecurity threats exist in companies of all sizes and warn against a looming cyber attack. Therefore, companies of all sizes need to protect themselves against cyber threats. That’s because cyberattacks cause severe financial and reputational damage, disrupt business operations, and hamper continuity.
There are various motives behind every type of cyber threat, including financial gain, espionage, and business disruption. A Verizon 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report records that 86% of all cybercrimes in 2020 were financially motivated, while only 10% were for espionage.
Sources Of Cybersecurity Threats
Depending on the motive, various entities initiate malicious attacks against individuals, organizations, or governments. Some of the most common culprits behind major cyber threats and attacks include nation-states, terrorists and other criminal organizations, industrial spies, hackers, hacktivists, agitated insiders, and competitors.
Typically, nation-states launch the most tragic cyber attacks motivated by espionage or to disrupt operations of rival nations. The rest push their interests, which, again, can be financial gain, espionage, or disruptions. A worrying trend is that these criminals can buy and sell their cyber threats over the “dark web” repeatedly.
Types Of Cybersecurity Threats
All cyber threats are driven by any of the three motives mentioned above. Here are the most common cyber threats you will encounter today.
Malware is the most abused cyberattack tool. It is software that is installed into a system when a user follows a malicious link or email attachment. Malware can take over a system, corrupt data, gather confidential information, deny access to some components of a network, and install more disruptive software. Some examples include adware, emotet, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, worms, and viruses.
Phishing and Spear Phishing
Phishing threats are usually emails disguised to look like they come from legitimate sources. These emails trick unsuspecting victims into disclosing confidential information and credentials, such as passwords, user names, and financial information. Phishing emails may also contain attachments that may install malware on your device when you click on them.
With spear phishing, attackers go a notch higher and impersonate people a victim knows and trusts to launch a highly targeted and sophisticated phishing attack.
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDOS)
DDoS attacks attempt to overwhelm a company’s website by launching numerous requests to access the site. As a result, your servers cannot fulfill legitimate customer requests, consequently resulting in downtime and loss of business.
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks
MitM attacks are launched to gain access to an organization’s customer or business data. Thus, it involves an attacker intercepting a two-way communication deemed to be secure. They can change the message or filter and steal valuable data.
Structured Query Language (SQL) Injection
Attackers inject a malicious SQL code into a database server, making it perform unauthorized functions, such as changing and deleting data on the database.
IoT Device Attacks
Because many IoT devices do not have security features, they are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Sadly, the device’s geographical distribution, convenience, and increased connectivity only increase these risks.
With more companies shifting to cloud-based storage and cybercriminals have not been left behind. Cloud-based threats are posed by incomplete data deletion, unsecure cloud apps, and cloud misconfigurations.
These attacks can constitute automated attacks that involve attackers generating countless user IDs and passwords until one is successful. Alternatively, they use social engineering to access passwords that allow them to access a wealth of information.
As more solutions to these threats are discovered, cybercriminals are also busy launching more complex and sophisticated threats. Some of these emerging cyber threats include Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), zero-day threats, and data explosion threats.
Best Practises To Protect Yourself Against Cybersecurity Threats
Now that you know the different kinds of cyber threats, their sources, and the motives behind these threats, it is time to look into the solutions.
You can start protecting yourself against cyber threats by practicing password hygiene, which involves creating solid passwords and avoiding using one password on multiple accounts. Then purchase anti-virus software, keep your devices updated, and be cautious of phishing scams.
Timely system patching is a crucial step towards secure business systems and networks. You must also train employees on the best security practices, comply with your industry’s data regulations, back up your data, and ensure regular updates to your network, systems, and software.
Cybersecurity is a journey, and it does not end with identifying threats and their solutions. Instead, you must be vigilant to identify threats and ensure you are protecting your systems, networks, devices, and data always without leaving anything to chance.