As our world becomes increasingly digital, cyber threats have become a growing concern for businesses of all sizes. Cybersecurity threats are malicious attempts to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system, network, or device. In this article, we will explore the various types of cybersecurity threats and how you can protect your company’s digital assets.
What is a Cybersecurity Threat?
A cybersecurity threat is any attempt to exploit a vulnerability in your company’s digital infrastructure. These threats can come in many forms and cause significant harm to your company, including data breaches, financial loss, and reputational damage.
8 Types of Cybersecurity Threats
- Malware: Malware is a type of software designed to harm or exploit a computer system. Common types of malware include:
- Trojan viruses: Malware that disguises itself as a legitimate program to trick users into downloading and installing it.
- Worms: Malware that spreads through networks by exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications.
- Wiper malware: Malware that is designed to erase data from a computer system.
- Spyware: Malware that is designed to spy on a user’s activities without their knowledge
- Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. Types of ransomware attacks include:
- Locker ransomware: A type of ransomware that locks the victim out of their computer system.
- Crypto-ransomware: A type of ransomware that encrypts the victim’s files and demands payment to decrypt them.
- Scareware: A type of ransomware that displays fake warnings and alerts to trick users into paying for a fake antivirus program.
- Emotet: Emotet is a type of malware that spreads through email attachments and links. Once installed, it can steal passwords and other sensitive information.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): A DDoS attack is when a network or website is overwhelmed with traffic from multiple sources, making it inaccessible to users. Common methods of DDoS attacks include:
- Botnets: A network of compromised devices that can be used to launch a DDoS attack.
- Smurf attacks: A type of DDoS attack that uses ICMP packets to flood a network with traffic.
- TCP SYN flood attacks: A type of DDoS attack that exploits the way in which TCP connections are established.
- Man in the Middle: A man-in-the-middle attack is when a hacker intercepts communications between two parties without their knowledge. Types of man-in-the-middle attacks include:
- Session hijacking: A type of man-in-the-middle attack that involves stealing a user’s session ID to gain access to their account.
- Replay attacks: A type of man-in-the-middle attack that involves intercepting and replaying network traffic to gain unauthorized access.
- IP spoofing: A type of man-in-the-middle attack that involves impersonating another device on a network.
- Social Engineering Attacks: Social engineering attacks are when hackers use psychological manipulation to trick individuals into giving up sensitive information. Types of social engineering attacks include:
- Phishing: A type of social engineering attack that involves sending fraudulent emails or messages to trick users into revealing sensitive information.
- Spearfishing: A type of phishing attack that is targeted at a specific individual or group.
- Malvertising: A type of social engineering attack that involves placing malicious ads on legitimate websites.
- Baiting: A type of social engineering attack that involves leaving a physical device, such as a USB drive, in a public place to trick users into plugging it into their computer.
- Honeytrap: A type of social engineering attack that involves using a fake profile to trick users into revealing sensitive information.
- Pharming: A type of social engineering attack that involves redirecting users to a fake website to steal their login credentials.
- SQL Injection: SQL injection is a type of attack that targets databases by inserting malicious code into SQL statements. This can allow hackers to steal sensitive information or take control of the database.
- Password Attacks: Password attacks are when hackers attempt to guess or steal passwords to gain access to a system. Types of password attacks include:
- Brute-force password guessing: A type of password attack that involves trying every possible combination of characters until the correct password is found.
- Dictionary attacks: A type of password attack that involves using a list of common passwords to guess the correct password.
- Pass-the-hash attacks: A type of password attack that involves stealing the hashed password from a computer system and using it to gain access to other systems.
- Golden ticket attacks: A type of password attack that involves creating a fake Kerberos ticket to gain access to a computer system.
Evolution of Cybersecurity
Internet of Things
The evolution of technology has led to an explosion of data, which has created new vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has also created new challenges for cybersecurity. IoT devices are often not designed with security in mind, making them easy targets for cybercriminals. In addition, the sheer number of IoT devices on the market makes it difficult to keep track of them all and ensure they are secure.
One specific event that highlights the risks of the IoT is the Mirai botnet attack of 2016. This attack used a botnet of compromised IoT devices to launch a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which took down major websites such as Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit.
The explosion of data has also created new challenges for cybersecurity. As more and more data is generated, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and protect. In addition, the increasing use of cloud computing and mobile devices has made it easier for cybercriminals to access sensitive data. An event that highlights these risks is the Equifax data breach of 2017, which exposed the personal information of over 140 million people. Such events have led companies to hire Managing Service Providers (MSPs) who offer outsourced IT support services with access to enterprise-grade software at a more affordable price than hiring a full-time employee.
To address these challenges, staying current with the latest cybersecurity trends and investing in robust cybersecurity measures is essential. This includes implementing strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, keeping software up-to-date, and regularly backing up data. It is also important to educate employees on cybersecurity best practices and to have a plan in place in case of a cybersecurity incident.
To learn more about cybersecurity threats and how to protect your company, check out these helpful resources:
- Ways to Strengthen Your Business’s Email Security Plan
- How to Defend Against Multi-Factor Hacking Attacks
- Top Network Security Threats to Keep an Eye Out For
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cyber Essentials
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Cybersecurity for Small Business
- How to Defend Against Multi-Factor Hacking Attacks