Top 7 Information Security Threats


About everybody has had the stomach-churning terror of being hacked at some time in their lives. And, ideally, it’s nothing more than a fleeting worry. Still, with the lurking information security threats waiting for us to make a mistake, it’s a near-miracle if you haven’t been impacted by even a single cyber-attack or data leak.

Breach of information protection can be expensive in a variety of ways. Aside from the apparent financial and legal ramifications of security violations, there’s also the reputational danger, as it erodes consumer interest in your company.

Although we face a variety of security threats on a regular basis, we’ll look at seven of the most important, in no specific order, to see what they are and how to protect ourselves. Let’s get this party underway right away!

How to Identify and Protect Your Organization Against Information Security Threats

Threats to the organization’s information security will come from both the outside and the inside. And, given that cybercrime is expected to cost companies $6 trillion a year by 2021, this underscores the importance of hardening your protection against all attack vectors.

Here are seven ways to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to hack you:

Build Your Defenses Against Malware Attacks

Malware is any malware or code that is intended to carry out malicious actions on a computer or network. Based on the distinct characteristics or features of each form, this type of security hazard can be divided into different groups.

Malware comes in a variety of forms, including:

  • Viruses and worms are malicious programmes that tend to be legitimate,
  • Trojans are malicious programmes that track and collect information on user behaviour without their knowledge, and
  • Spyware are programmes that monitor and collect information on user activity without their knowledge.

Proposed Method(s) for Mitigating These Types of Information Security Threats:

Although anti-malware solutions do a good job, there isn’t a single perfect approach that can be applied to deter malware-based attacks. Here’s a rundown of some other resources that could be useful:

  • Consider deploying a reputable endpoint protection solution (such as antivirus, antimalware, and so on) for all network endpoint devices, particularly because malware has a proclivity for infecting the entire network.
  • When it comes to information security risks, the value of applying programme fixes and patches on a daily basis cannot be overstated.
  • Train your employees on how to distinguish between genuine and suspicious emails and websites. Employees will be educated and trained to avoid security risks and increase their knowledge of online threats through regular and obligatory cyber awareness workshops.

Safeguard Against Eavesdroppers Listening in via MITM Attacks

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack happens when a malicious agent intercepts contact between two parties (such as two computers or a device and a network appliance) in order to eavesdrop or tamper with the data. To make it look as if the attacker is the intended target, the attacker spoofs their mail.

The intruder will sniff network packets without disturbing traffic flow between the two ends by using packet forwarding and techniques like Ettercap. Consider the following illustration:

Proposed Method(s) for Mitigating These Types of Information Security Threats:

This attacks can be avoided in a number of ways. The following is a list of some of the approaches you may use to keep those information security risks at bay.

  • When using the internet, communicate via HTTPS (encrypted channels) wherever possible. Encryption scrambles the files in an unreadable format, and even if an MITM attack succeeds, the encrypted data is useless to an attacker without a decryption key.
  • HTTP Strict Transport Security, which only makes HTTPS links, eliminates unreliable redirects. If a link was made to an unsecured HTTP site before being forwarded to secure HTTPS, attackers will often hijack a link using tools like sslstrip. Using HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), this complexity is removed, and only HTTPS links are created between the client and the server.
  • Clicking on posts, uploading attachments, or installing apps from unknown sources should be avoided. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks can also be aided by phishing emails and malware. Avoid clicking on links in emails and think twice before installing attachments, particularly if the email looks odd and the message header hasn’t been checked.
  • Additionally, check to see if any programme you download has been signed with a code signing certificate before installing it. It’s a method of determining if a programme is genuine and hasn’t been tampered with by an attacker.
  • To stop spoofing attacks, use anti-ARP spoofing software and always surf over a stable, trustworthy link. In the case of smaller networks, deploying anti-ARP spoofing methods or adding only static ARP entries to the cache will help minimise the possibility of spoofing. If you would communicate over an unreliable network, such as public Wi-Fi, make sure to use a virtual private network (VPN).

To Avoid Becoming a Suspicious Victim of a Drive-By Download Attack, Follow These Measures.

Consider the following scenario: you’re browsing the web on a lazy Sunday afternoon and, without clicking on any links or installing any applications, you unwittingly infect your phone or computer with malware.

Do you believe it’s impossible? Unfortunately, this is the case. Drive-by instals take advantage of flaws in the operating system, browsers, or applications, which is why patching and updating is so important. Malicious code transmitted by infected websites may be used to spread malware.

Proposed Method(s) for Mitigating These Types of Information Security Threats:

Although it may be difficult to protect against security attacks that aren’t caused by a victim’s behaviour and may go unnoticed if well-crafted, there are some steps we should take to ensure that these forms of information protection threats don’t succeed:

  • Keep the applications and programmes up to date with the new patches to avoid security flaws that could allow malicious drive-by-download code to infiltrate.
  • Antivirus and antimalware software can be used to search the device on a daily basis. It’s also a good idea to disable JavaScript in the PDF document settings.
  • While even reputable websites can be hacked, the risk of drive-by attacks spreading across suspect sites is much greater, so avoid visiting pages you don’t trust. Domain filtering solutions such as OpenDNS or Websense Web Filter may be used to blacklist websites with potentially offensive content. However, if you get infected, you can do a complete OS reinstall.

Teach Your Employees to Not Take the Bait in Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a kind of social engineering assault that saw a 667 percent rise in March 2020. Most of us also sent suspicious emails asking us to open attachments or click on links. Humans’ gullibility is exploited by cognitive engineering, which uses adept social skills to win their confidence and get them to share classified knowledge.

Some types of sensitive data include:

  • Personally identifiable information (PII),
  • financial or health data,
  • proprietary information, or
  • organisational information that can be used to breach confidentiality and obtain access to the corporate network, either directly or indirectly.

If they can’t get the facts they need from a single source, they contact several sources, assembling and expanding on the information they’ve gathered to create a plausible and compelling narrative.

Proposed Method(s) for Mitigating These Types of Information Security Threats:

If you can use a spam filter to block questionable communications, the aim of social engineering attacks is to get users to communicate or behave in any way. The first thing we can do is be vigilant about information security risks and ensuring that our employees receive daily cyber awareness training so that security is constantly on their minds.

  • Prevent yourself from being duped into divulging some personal information. Keep your guard up, particularly when you’re online. Be cautious of the information you publish or share online, as well as the privacy settings on your social media site.
  • Be wary of unsolicited phone calls or strangers who contact you. People who email you to inquire about your organisation or pretend to be from your bank fall into this category.
  • Check, double-check, and triple-check. Before disclosing any personal material, get into the routine of checking and cross-verifying certificates and permission. Instead of using information supplied by the suspect party, use official contact information (such as the person’s phone number from the organization’s internal contact directory).

Avoid Getting Compromised If You’re Hit With a DDoS Attack

Have you ever visited a website and been greeted by a chatbot ready to assist you if you have any questions? The most of us have, but not all bots are made equal. A botnet, for example, is a set of interconnected computers (PCs, servers, IoT devices, and so on) infected with malware and operated by an attacker. The botnet army (also known as a zombie army) is a major threat to businesses of all sizes, and it can be used to deliver spam emails, conduct fraud operations, and launch DDoS attacks, among other things.

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack occurs when botnets bombard a target system (such as a web server) with more requests than it can handle, making the victim inoperable and unable to process any valid user requests.

Method(s) for Mitigating Certain Types of Information Security Threats that Have Been Proposed:

DDoS attacks will take a long time to identify when the aim is to saturate the target’s bandwidth or drain resources, rendering them inaccessible or unnecessarily sluggish for real customers. Let’s look at some of the options for dealing with this security threat:

  • Protect the network with a DDoS solution and hardware that constantly scans it for signs of an attack.
  • Your firewall and security software should be patched and modified.
  • Plan and decide the appropriate course of action ahead of time, laying out all of the actions to follow in the event of a DDoS threat.

Defend Against the Dangers of Advanced Persistent Threat Attacks

Advanced persistent threats (APTs) place a premium on stealth in order to avoid detection after breaking into a network. These threats are long-term and aimed at high-value targets (such as states, intellectual property, national security, and so on), with espionage or data stealing as the primary motive rather than immediate financial benefit.

The aim of these information security attacks, which are often perpetrated by nation-state actors, is to maintain ongoing access and travel laterally within the network to gain a foothold and attempt data exfiltration.

Proposed Method(s) for Mitigating These Types of Information Security Threats:

APTs are well-funded, play the long game, and focus on zero-day attacks to avoid detection by security solutions installed on the network. Mitigation remains difficult as a result of these factors, but the steps below highlight a few clear steps we can take in the right direction:

  • Increase the vigilance of the perimeter defences. The most of the time, as we talk about network defence, we’re talking about protecting the perimeter. However, with APTs, we must closely track traffic flow within our internal networks. We need to deploy firewalls, UTMs, IDS/IPS, and other network protection devices and keep them installed correctly with sound guidelines, instal patches, and fix bugs, among other things, to accomplish network security objectives.
  • Both incoming and outgoing traffic should be monitored. It’s important to keep an eye on not just the traffic coming through the network, but also the traffic leaving it.
  • Updates should be made and compliance protocols should be followed. Whitelisting enabled programmes, defining least permissive protocols, limiting administrative rights, patching the OS, and so on are several other ways to deter attacks.

Prevent Insider Threats Within the Organization From Undermining Your Security

Anyone with access to the enterprise network and confidential data inside the company has the potential to exchange sensitive data with hostile agents. Insider risks include trusting staff, dissatisfied workers, and third-party vendors, among others.

Although workers with a grudge against the company can deliberately leak sensitive details, some are clearly victims of social engineering attacks. External suppliers can also face significant security concerns, which must be evaluated and handled before they are onboarded and granted access to the company network.

Proposed Method(s) for Mitigating These Types of Information Security Threats:

Despite having surveillance systems in place, businesses have tended to experience data theft and have become victims of insider attacks. There is no one approach that can eliminate security threats; rather, a set of safeguards should be applied to reduce the risk of a compromise.

  • Provide cyber security training and seminars on a regular basis. Employees can be trained to recognise and react faster to information security risks through regular, immersive cyber awareness activities, virtual phishing attacks, and other methods.
  • Until granting vendors access, evaluate their security capabilities. Before granting third parties access to the company network or exchanging sensitive data, it makes sense to perform a systematic, end-to-end vendor risk evaluation to consider and validate their security posture.
  • Restricted access to sensitive systems and increase awareness within the organisation.
  • Additional safeguards against insider attacks include using DLP solutions or cloud access protection brokers (CASBs) for companies who use cloud file storage, blocking USB ports, restricting access to all that need to know, temporary accounts for contract employees, multi-factor verification, and limited rights.

In conclusion

More than a few information security risks, such as malware, cryptojacking, lack of encryption, IoT bugs, and so on, have been left out due to the difficulty of covering any other risk out there. The timely renewal of SSL/TLS licences, on the other hand, is a standard careless procedure that can easily be corrected.

The estimated cost of credential mismanagement per company is more than $11 million, and expired digital certificates will introduce unintentional vulnerabilities into the network infrastructure. We have a greater chance of not only responding to cyber-attacks but also stopping them from entering our networks in the first place if we take constructive measures to protect against security threats.

Melina Richardson
Melina Richardson is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cybers Guards. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.