What Are Cyber Threats And How Can You Stay Protected, cyber threat, security threat
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Cybersecurity is a rising concern for many people and businesses in this techno-savvy 21st-century world. However, not many people realize cyber threats don't discriminate and believe that it's for fortune five companies and wealthy personalities. To demystify the ideas regarding cyber threats, it's important to define what they're, identify them, and explore some ways to protect themselves.

What Is A Cyber Threat?

The word cyber originally referred to cybernetics. This is the science of how machines and animals work. Later on, cyber came to mean computerized. In the 90s, the term cyberspace was introduced to mean physical space that exists behind the activities of digital devices. Currently, cyber is involved with information security.

A cyber-attack is an attack against digital devices executed through cyberspace. It involves an attacker whose intent is to cause harm. Cyber-attacks have the potential to cause costly inconveniences and threaten human lives.

Why Should You Protect Yourself From A Cyber Threat?

Cyber-attacks can result in a breach of national security threats, malfunctioning of military equipment, and electrical blackouts. These attacks can also end in the theft of private data such as patient medical records. Cyber-attacks also disable phone and computer networks and corrupt data.

Cybersecurity risks can affect any organization. In many cases, the IT department isn't able to handle cyber threats. According to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, a high percentage of federal agencies are at a high risk of being targeted by cybercriminals.

The U.S. government has experienced its fair share of crippling data breaches. For example, the popular theft of naval codes and the Federal Office of Personnel Management breach, which have both been linked to Chinese intelligence institutions.

Types Of Cybersecurity Threats

The impact of a cybersecurity risk will depend on its type and mode of execution. There are many different types of cybersecurity threats. The most common are as follows:

1. Malware

These are the most common cyberattacks. The average cost of a malware attack is estimated to be $2.6 million. Malware is malicious software such as a virus, worm, ransomware, or spyware. The software is installed on your digital device when you click on an email or website link. When the software gets into your system, it prevents access to the network, steals private information, and can also damage your device.

What Are Cyber Threats And How Can You Stay Protected, cyber threat, security threat

2. Phishing

Phishing is similar to malware. It involves the use of malicious emails to gain access to the target’s credit card details and other private information. More than 80% of cyber incidents involve phishing attacks. Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that focuses on specific users. For instance, the attack may target executives and system administrators.

3. Man In The Middle Attack

Man in the Middle is when a hacker intercepts communication between two people. The hacker steals sensitive data that is transmitted during the communication and returns a false response to the user. A study by Netcraft found that 95% of HTTPS servers are susceptible to “Man in the Middle Attacks.”

4. Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) Attack

The DDoS attack floods networks, systems, and servers with huge traffic preventing the system from executing legitimate requests. The attacks can use a few infected devices to overwhelm a targeted system. In 2019, there were reports of up to 8.4 million DDoS attacks.

5. SQL Injection

An SQL injection, also known as a Structured Query Language attack, arises when a hacker tries to penetrate into your database by loading malicious SQL scripts. After breaching the security controls, the malicious actor will corrupt the information in the database. 65% of all web application cyber-attacks are in the form of SQL injections.

6. Zero-Day Exploits

This attack arises when an organization’s hardware and software are vulnerable to security breaches. The hacker will exploit this vulnerability by launching an attack before the IT department finds a solution.

7. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

This threat arises when a hacker accesses a system and is undetected for a long time. These attacks are dangerous because data may be stolen or corrupted without your knowledge. 45% of businesses believe they're potential targets of an APT.

8. Ransomware

This is a malware attack where the attacker prevents access to a person’s data. The hacker will demand payment to allow access to the data. Otherwise, they may threaten to leak the data to the public. Studies estimate the global cost of ransomware attacks to be $ 20 billion by 2021.

9. DNS Attack

In a DNS attack, hackers exploit the vulnerabilities in your Domain Name System (DNS). The hackers direct site visitors to malicious sites. This is also known as DNS hijacking. The hacker will ex-filtrate information from the targeted systems, a process known as DNS tunneling.

How To Address Cyber Threats

The first step towards protecting yourself from cyber risk is identifying your vulnerabilities. This helps you highlight areas where you should take action. It's also important to prioritize. You should identify risks that need the most attention.

A risk management plan involves determining which task management, workflow, and mitigation strategies will work for you. Risk management is a continuous process. Therefore, it's important to brace yourself for more advanced attacks. This is why you should determine whether your risk posture is up to date.

Lastly, you should compare yourself with your competitors. Determine how they're dealing with similar risks and how well you're faring compared to them.

Best Practices For Businesses

The best practices for protecting yourself from cyberattacks include countermeasures such as patching systems. For example, when a tech vendor realizes a security flaw, they'll write code or patches to fix the problem. For instance, if Microsoft realizes a cyber-criminal can access Windows servers by using a code vulnerability, the company will provide a patch to all those who have a Windows Server license. If all IT departments were to apply these patches on time, many potential attacks would not succeed. Microsoft, like many other companies, sends out these patches at least once a month.

What Are Cyber Threats And How Can You Stay Protected, cyber threat, security threat

There are many new technologies that have made it easier for organizations to defend themselves from cyberattacks. These services include continual attack simulation tools, outsourced security services, point solutions for secure browsing and anti-phishing, and systems that allow collaboration between security team members.

Best Practices For Individuals

For individuals, there are security measures that can help keep information safe. These include password hygiene, anti-virus software, and measures against phishing attacks. It's easy for hackers to guess passwords like “1234.” Password hygiene can protect consumers against cyber threats. The other way to protect yourself is by using anti-virus software and ensuring it's up to date. You should schedule automated scheduled scans.

Lastly, you should be wary of phishing attacks. Avoid opening file attachments. Pay attention to phishing and spear-phishing emails. For instance, you may receive an email with an attachment. Verify the sender’s email and do not open the attachment unless you're certain it is from someone or an organization you know.

In Conclusion

Many organizations and individuals tend to take cyber threats lightly because they have never encountered them. However, these threats are real. Instead of waiting to experience their devastating effects, you should familiarize yourself with them and adopt measures to mitigate them if you are affected. Cybercriminals target both small and large organizations and also individuals. Therefore, one of the best defenses against these threats is prevention.