Top 5 Cyber Security Threats
In the cybersecurity world, you have several terms, like security event, security threat and security incident, all of which describe different kinds of threats you may face while online.
A security threat is essentially a malicious act that was/is designed to either steal or corrupt data or to create havoc in an organisations network. A security event describes an occurrence which involves the data of a company or its network being exposed. An event which invariably results in the breach of a network or confidential data is referred to as a security incident.
As time progresses so does the many cybersecurity threats. As a result, it’s become increasingly more important that companies and end users become more vigilant in order to protect their networks and confidential data. However, in order to do that, they must at the very least, have a basic understand of the many security threats out there.
Below are 5 cyber security threats that you should know about:
1. Mobile Malware
Ever since mobile devices were connected to the internet, security experts have noticed an increased security risk in these devices. There are a long list of potential risks that any mobile owner may be at risk to, but most users tend to pay them little to no mind. Considering how important mobile phones are today, and how little attention is put in to securing these devices, we can only imagine how catastrophic any real mobile threat could actually be.
2. Zero-Day Threats
When an app is developed for the first time, it’s not without its issues. Every program has vulnerabilities or security holes, which cybercriminals look to exploit. When these hackers are able to find these security holes and exploit them, before the actual developer is able to fix it, this is what’s referred to as a zero-day threat. When the hacker is able to take full advantage of an apps deficiencies and start rolling out ransomware and other malicious codes, this is what’s called a zero-day exploit. Such exploits are capable of installing ransomware on your system, the moment you run the specific program.
3. Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are basically cybercriminals attempts to acquire sensitive information from you, such as your name, login credentials, credit card details, social security number and other information that they can use for their nefarious activities. Phishing attacks work by a hacker sending out a fake email that looks authentic, usually from a financial website, such as PayPal or your local bank.
The objective of the hacker is to get the victim to take the action recommended in the email, whether it be to click on the link, which takes them to a forged website, where they are asked to enter their personal information or install a particular program (malware) onto their system. Opening the attachment in the email, can also result in software being installed on the victim’s device. These malicious files are usually designed to harvest information directly from the victim’s computer, while spreading themselves, by sending out emails to friends and family on the victims contact list.
To avoid these kinds of scams, you need to train yourself not to download the attachments or click on any links in these hackers emails. Of course, you’ll need to learn how to properly identify them. Fortunately, most email accounts have spam filters, which are pretty effective at doing that.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed a rise in the usage of ransomware, and an increase in its threat level. One of the most alarming things about these kinds of malicious threats is their ability to lock an entire computer, unlocking it only after the victim has paid a ransom. This virus’s ability to hijack an entire system is what makes them such a big threat. One of the biggest ransomware threats in recent history, resulted in the infection of more than 250,000 computers, and earned the hacker in excess of $3 million. Any attack of that scale could very easily cripple an entire organisation and its network infrastructure.
5. Advanced Persistent Threats
Advanced persistent threats is another thing organisations should be aware and wary of. In the cybersecurity world, they are referred to as the long con. A cybercriminal will typically spend considerable amounts of time, casing and acquiring additional information on their target, long after they have successfully got into the system. Once they have finished sourcing information, they’ll commence with the stealing of their data. These types of attacks tend to be persistent, as the victim has no idea that their data is being downloading to another location – a process that could go on for years. Hackers of these types, are dedicated professionals, which means they usually work in groups when penetrating entire organisations and individuals.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk