Most Common Cyber Security Threats and Ways to Prevent Them

by Hardeep Singh

To tackle any sort of problem, you have to understand it first, only then can you find a solution. This rule applies in every sphere of life, and as such, so does it apply in IT Business industry too. In tech business, your organization can encounter many problems. One of these problems and a major one at that, is cyber security threats. Now, just going by what has been mentioned at the start, to specify on those lines, to prevent a cyber-attack on your organization’s systems, you have to first understand what cyber-security threats or a cyber-attack actually is. Basically cyber security threats and cyber-attacks are two different things, but are very closely linked.

First we shall talk about what a cyber-attack is, it is an intentional malicious attempt by an individual or a group of individuals to breach the computer security of an organization’s system.

Next, let’s review the definition of cyber security threats – this term implies the RISK of experiencing a cyber-attack.

Now what is the magnitude of this risk? According to the Cisco Annual Cyber-security Report of 2018, the number of cyber-attacks had increased by almost four times within a span of less than two years. This clearly indicates that the risk increases multi-folds in just a matter of time. The threat of cyber attacks is growing at this pace because cyber-criminals are getting more sophisticated and developing new, more complex methods to breach cyber-security with each day. The attackers’ motives may be many. It can be espionage/ stalking, information-stealing, or financial gains from the targeted individual or organization.

To quote John Chambers, former CEO of the IT giant Cisco:

“There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked”

So, how can you manage your risk of cyber security threats is a question that crops up here. Can you prevent a cyber-attack before or while it happens?

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of computer security threats and cyber-attacks, analyze their negative effects, and how we can prevent network security threats or tackle them efficiently and effectively and protect your online business with different methods or types of security measures:

DDoS Attack

A DDoS attack or Distributed Denial of Service is a kind of cyber attack where cybercriminals would flood your network with more traffic than it is able to handle, resulting to the network’s website to crash and simultaneously stop functioning as a result of this . The “distributed” implies that an attack is launched from a large number of devices and aimed at a particular target in a coordinated manner.

There are several types of DDoS Cyber-Attacks, main ones for Instance:

Botnets – Systems which fall under hacker control and get infected with malware. Cybercriminals use these bots to carry out the attacks. Large botnets can also include several millions devices and are able to launch a ravaging attack.

UDP Flood – it’s kind of an attack where the attacker overwhelms the ports with the IP packets containing UDP datagrams. The system as a result is overwhelmed and becomes unresponsive as more and more UDP packets are received and go answered.

Ping Flood – it is a type of attack in which the attacker crashes the victim’s computer by overwhelming it with ICMP meaning Internet Control Message Protocol requests. As a result, the target becomes overwhelmed and isn’t accessible anymore to normal traffic. Although this attack is less common now as it has been addressed on most networks.

TCP SYN Flood – an attack that aims to make the server unavailable for visitors by consuming all available server resources. The connection queue fills up leading the device to stop responding to legitimate users or responds too slowly so much so that forces target systems to time out.

HTTP Flood – it is an attack designed to bombard the targeted server with multiple HTTP requests at a same time.

Solution: It is best to use a Firewall to decrease the threat of these attacks.

Credential Re-use

A credential reuse attack is when an attacker obtains valid credentials for a system and tries to use these stolen credentials to compromise another system or systems. The attackers generally use bots for automation and scale and operates by assuming that the majority of users re-use their usernames and passwords across various multiple services. According to a research, about 0.1% of breached credentials attempted on another service can be successful.

Solution: Make sure you use different info/ credentials/ passwords across different systems or accounts to avoid becoming the victim of this threat.

Malware Attack

Malware are the most common form of system virus which are carried through unknown software into the targeted device. Various types of malicious software include ransomwares, viruses, worms, and spyware. The usual way of malware breaching into a network is through a specific vulnerability in the system, usually, a user is lured to click on a malicious link or email attachment which in turn installs the malware.

When the malware gets into the system, it can install additional harmful programs and block access to important network components.

Solution: The best way to deal with it or prevent it is to have an effective and reputed antivirus installed on the system.

Phishing

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack. Such attacks psychologically lure or manipulate the target to perform actions desirable to the attacker. This involves sending fraudulent communications which seem to come from a reliable source, usually through email. This cyber-attack aims to steal sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, login information, private data or insist users to install some software on their device that turns out to be a malware.

Phishing is one of the most common forms of cyber-attack, mainly because it’s easy to carry out and surprisingly effective.

Solution: One of the best ways to recognize a phishing attack is to examine hypertext links. Check if the destination URL link equals what is said in the email. Also, avoid clicking on links that have strange characters in them or are abbreviated. HTTPS (SSL) also provides protection against the phishing attacks.

Drive-by Attacks

Drive-by attacks in recent years are considered to be a top method for criminals spreading malware online to unsuspecting users. This attack involves cybercriminals looking for insecure websites of companies online and plant malicious script into the HTTP code in one of their pages. This script then installs malware directly onto the computer of someone who visits the site– it can be be a virus, remote-access tool, spyware , trojan horse etc.

Solution: Install protective software and don’t click on suspicious links from people you don’t know. Also, educate your employees that they shouldn’t visit shady sites, and shouldn’t download suspicious files or click on suspicious links.

Closing Thoughts

In the article we reviewed the most common types of cyber-attacks and security threats which the hackers use to compromise information systems. As it is apparent from the list, hackers have abundance of powerful options for damaging an organization’s system, and its business. Leaking sensitive information can significantly damage your company and the trust of your loyal customers. In some cases, a cyber-attack can mean the destruction of your business. Synergy IT Solution provides best managed cyber security services help you optimize your cyber risk operations and compliance.

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