Common Cyber Security Threats and How to Secure Your Business Against Them

June 13, 2018 | Views: 1872

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The Internet has brought with it so many great things that we now cannot imagine life without it. Imagine not being able to shop or trade stocks online. Imagine not being able to find out what your former classmates are up to through Instagram or Facebook, or not being able to watch product reviews on YouTube before settling on something. How did we ever survive before the Internet age? If you have a business, you probably know how important your IT network is to the success of your business. You have invested a lot in its design and development, and you strive to make sure that your clients’ information is protected from any malicious people. However, cyber attackers are getting smarter by the day and you, therefore, have to always be up to date on the tactics they use so that you can secure your website.

Interesting Cyber Security Statistics

As stated above, cyber attackers are getting smarter by the day. The way in which cyber attacks are carried out has therefore changed significantly. Unlike in the past when most attacks were file-based, wireless techniques are now taking over, and more and more cyber attacks now involve the use of wireless techniques. This makes them harder to detect and prevent if you do not have the right tools. A recent study shows that more than 75% of successful cyber attacks involve the use of wireless techniques. In 2016, 20% of cyber attacks involved the use of wireless techniques, but in 2018, this is expected to go up to 33%. What this means is that the available security products might not be equipped to deal with this new way in which cyber attacks are being carried out.

Because of the evolving way in which cyber attacks are carried out, antivirus solutions alone cannot keep your business safe from cyber threats. Most businesses are either replacing antivirus solutions with other solutions or supplementing them with other security products. About 70% of organizations do not believe that their antivirus programs are sufficient to keep them safe from the new wave of cyber attacks.

The changes in the way cyber attacks are being executed and the rate at which they are increasing means that businesses will have to spend a lot more to minimize the risk of cyber attacks. The more advanced security products are, the more expensive and demanding they are in terms of management. Only about 33% of organizations believe they can afford to protect themselves against cyber attacks. By the end of 2018, global spending on cybersecurity is expected to be to the tune of $96 billion.

Common Internet Security Threats

Below are the common types of internet security threats and tips on how you can secure your business against them.

1. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

As the name suggests, these threats are persistent and can go undetected for a long time. A lot of sensitive information can end up in the hands of malicious people, and who knows what they can use that information for? They can get information on your business operations, your clients’ information, and so much more than they can basically use to bring down your business.

There are many APT protection solutions on the market. You can use them to secure your business IT network against APTs. However, it’s important to note that most of these solutions focus on protecting your IT networks against these types of threats, but these attacks can also come through applications. This leaves many businesses exposed. The best thing to do is to be cautious about what you download from the internet, including emails. Additionally, you should only use certified and secured products from the vendors. You cannot compare the cost of the right product to the cost of this kind of attack. Be wise.

2. Phishing Threats

This is where a website misleads Internet users into thinking that it is a known, trustworthy site with the intent of stealing their information or even money. Most Internet users cannot tell the difference between the imposter site and the original site, so they end up falling for this and sometimes even lose their money in the process. Apart from stealing company and client information, phishing techniques can also be used to insert bots and malware into an organization’s networks. Organizations have been struggling to deal with this threat for a long time, as cyber attackers are always devising new ways of misleading Internet users. It is like a bacteria that becomes resistant to an antibiotic over time.

You can prevent this by training your employees on the red flags to look out for to avoid falling for phishing attacks. However, some cyber attackers are so good that even the most well trained employees cannot recognize a phishing threat. Remote browser isolation is also an effective way of minimizing the chances of a phishing attack. Other precautionary measures to take include installing phishing detection tools and using updated firewalls to ensure the security of your servers.

3. Denial of Service (DOS)

Many online businesses have suffered great losses because of denial-of-service attacks. In this type of attack, the attacker attempts to flood a site with requests in order to cause it to overload. This makes the site unavailable to people who are trying to access it. If you discover this in good time, you can stop the attack by blocking the source of the requests. However, there is a more advanced form of this attack, known as distributed denial of service (DDOS), in which the requests come from different sources. This is hard to stop because there is no way to know which requests are from the attacker and which ones are from your genuine site visitors. There are tools that you can use to detect this type of attack and classify the traffic coming to your website so that you can block the attacker’s requests without affecting your genuine site visitors. If you have an ecommerce site, a DOS attack can cost you a lot, and if it happens repeatedly, your customers can end up frustrated and therefore take their business elsewhere.

4. Mobile Malware

There are many variants of this attack, including keyloggers, spyware, adware, ransomware, and Trojans, among others. While mobile malware mostly comes from third parties, it can also come through apps. Attackers target corporate devices because they know that this is an area of weakness for most organizations. Their IT networks can be well secured and managed, but they do not pay that much attention when it comes to corporate devices. You should advise your employees not to connect to unknown Wi-Fi networks, as this increases the risk of this threat. Additionally, ensure that all devices in your organization have an antivirus program that is frequently updated to protect them from mobile malware. You would be surprised to learn how much information can be accessed through mobile malware.

5. Spoofing Attacks

An attacker can disguise themselves as someone from your organization and send out communication to your clients, business partners, or anyone else in your business network. This way, they can get information such as a client’s account number and use this to access their bank details, passwords, and much more. Apart from getting information, the attacker can also embed malware such as spyware and Trojans. You can prevent this by investing in tools to help you detect any spoofing attempts and stop the attacker before they get too far.

6. IoT Botnets

IoT devices are another weak point for many organizations. This is because most of the time, they do not have embedded security features that can protect them from malware attacks. Many organizations are enthusiastic about the Internet of Things, but it is important to be cautious because you can easily expose your business to all sorts of threats without even knowing it. Even as you embrace the Internet of Things and all its wonders, be sure to look into ways of ensuring that you do not compromise your business security.

Conclusion

The attacks explained above are just some of the threats that businesses have to deal with. It is good to see that businesses are doing all they can to ensure that they and their clients are safe from cyber threats. However, it is important to stay ahead of the evolving cyber threats. You should not wait to be hit by a certain type of threat to do something about it. Many businesses have had to close down because they could not recover from a cyber attack, financially or otherwise. Your clients may completely lose faith in your organization if they feel like you cannot keep their information safe. Prevention is better than a cure. Check for any weak points in your IT systems that you may have overlooked, and take action before it is too late. Always be on the lookout for new technologies in the market, and find out how they can benefit your business. You cannot keep doing what you have been doing for the last five years when it is clear that things are changing and attackers are getting smarter.

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1 Comment
  1. Great article. Could have added few others like remote code execution or sql injection but anyhow there are a lot and can’t be covered in a single article….

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