Generally speaking, under the term cyber threat is considered any type of offensive action that is used to manipulate computer information systems, infrastructures, networks, or personal computer devices.
What Are Cyber Threats: Getting Familiar With an Uninvited Guest
The origins of the term ‘cyber’ can be found in the late 1940s, with the rise of cybernetics – the study of control systems and communications between people and machines.
Today, various words based on this neologism came to existence, describing everything from web-related actions to retail events
One of the most famous usages of this term in the present time is in correlation with information security matters. Cyber attacks versus cyber security protocols taking place in cyberspace: It kinda sounds like a popular video game, except this is our reality.
Countless enterprises worldwide are facing cyber threats on a daily basis, and virtually everyone with access to the internet is a potential victim. Cyber security became one of the most expensive branches in the world economy, with its spendings forecasted to reach $133.7 billion in 2022 according to Gartner.
People all around the world need now more than ever to learn how to efficiently protect themselves and their organizations from this rapidly-growing form of crime. This is why online cyber security courses are gaining popularity in recent years.
What Are The Types of Cyber Security Threats
From infiltrating infrastructure and data breaches to spear phishing and brute force, cyber security attacks can go in many directions, as cyber criminals don’t spare any of their targets.
Virtually every cyber attack falls into one of three broad categories of intent: Financial gain, disruption espionage, or state espionage.
When it comes to the types of security threats, skilled hackers have an abundance of options.
Below are listed ten common types of cyber security attacks:
- Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
This type of attack aims to render a target’s computer unavailable by overwhelming a system’s resources so that it cannot respond to service requests.
A DoS attack is characterized by using a single computer to launch the attack while DDoS attack is launched from a large number of other infected host machines.
This type of cyber attack is different from the rest as it doesn’t provide direct benefits for hackers in terms of gaining or increasing access. In some cases, for example if the attacked resource belongs to a business competitor, burdening them with service denial may be beneficial enough to the attacker.
Another purpose can be to take a system offline so that a different kind of cyber threat can be performed, such as hijacking.
2. Man-in-the-middle (MitM)
A MitM attack refers to a situation where a hacker interferes between the communications of a client and a server.
Some common types of these attacks are:
- Session hijacking
Hackers can hijack a session between a trusted client and network server by substituting their IP address for the trusted client.
- IP Spoofing
By spoofing an IP address, a hacker can trick their victim into thinking they’re interacting with a website or a trusted contact, getting them to share their confidential information.
This type of attack occurs when the attacker intercepts and saves old messages only to send them later, pretending to be one of the participants.
Phishing is a form of cyber attack that plays on human’s innate trust to gain sensitive information. Attackers are posing as a trustworthy contact through the use of electronic communication such as email or telephone.
The subcategory of this type of attack is called spearfishing, and it targets a specific individual. ‘Whaling’ is another type of phishing, usually accomplished through a fake email from a senior applying pressure on someone below him into making an urgent payment.
4. Drive-by attack
A drive-by attack is a common method of spreading malware, and it’s achieved by planting a malicious script into HTTP or PHP code on insecure websites.
Unlike many other types of cyber threats, a drive-by doesn’t rely on a user to do anything to actively enable the attack as it can take advantage of an app, operating system or web browser that contains security flaws due to not being regularly updated.
Since passwords are modern keys to many doors that hackers want to open, obtaining them is a common attack approach.
Among many ways in which a target’s password can be obtained, outright guessing can be done in either a random or systematic manner:
- A brute-force password attack is based on random guessing by trying different passwords related to the victim’s background.
- Dictionary attack utilizes a dictionary of common passwords to attempt to gain access to a target’s computer and network.
6. SQL injection attack
SQLi is the process of “injecting” special code into a database, which usually allows hackers to access the admin panel and manipulate the site. Usually the targets are unsecured sites with MySQL databases, which have a security flaw.
7. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack
These types of attacks use third-party web resources to run scripts in the victim’s web browser. When the victim requests a page from the website, hackers can steal their data and even remotely access and control their device.
Hackers ‘eavesdrop’ their victims through the interception of network traffic. This way they can obtain passwords, credit card numbers, and other confidential information.
These types of attacks are made against hash algorithms that are used to verify the integrity of a message, software, or digital signature. Hackers use it to abuse communication between two or more parties by relying on the probability of finding two random messages that generate the same message digest when processed by a hash function.
Malware refers to various kinds of malicious software that could potentially infect your computer and manipulate your personal information. Different types of malware include spyware, viruses, ransomware, and Trojan horses.
What Are The Top 5 Cyber Threats And How to Cope With Them
An awareness and basic understanding of cyber security threats that anyone can gain from an online cyber security course will help protect valuable digital assets as well as one’s intellectual property and business.
These top five cyber attacks will continue to shape the way enterprises worldwide approach cyber criminal:
- Data leakage
Data leakage represents transferring classified information from a certain device to the outside world maliciously or by accident. A Cyber breach usually goes undiscovered for an average of six months, and by the time it’s exposed the damage is already done.
The frequent use of smartphones and tablets for the data backup and transportation made them a target for various types of malware. The following are useful steps to prevent leaking of your personal or your organisation’s data:
- All devices must have passcode locks.
- They should be tracked via GPS and remotely wiped if lost.
- The use of encryption software is highly advisable when using mobile devices.
- Cyber thieves attack in the daylight too, so keeping an eye on both your briefcase and your portable storage device can prevent serious loss of valuable data.
Anyone who uses an internet powered device is a potential victim of hacker attack. The primary methods for preventing these attacks are using network firewalls, regularly updating operating systems, maintaining data access security, and raising user awareness as well as taking online cyber security courses.
- Insider threat
Every organization should beware potential Trojan horses in their team. Whether these individuals (or groups) leak data on accident or purpose, sticking to these steps will minimize chances for data loss:
- Applying the principle of ‘least privilege access’ to provide staff with the minimum access they need to accomplish their tasks.
- Controlling the use of portable storage devices, such as USB memory keys, portable hard drives and media players.
- Educating employees to be alert to issues and monitoring them in certain situations.
- Email Phishing
Emails remain the modern Pandora box as this specific method accounts for 80% of all cyber-attacks. Ever received an email with a ton of grammar issues asking for confidential personal data while its sender is presenting themselves as a trusted source? Yup, it’s a traditional case of email phishing, and everyone should be aware as these types of attacks are getting more sophisticated every day, so not only is their spelling on point, but they may use the official company’s logo or somebody’s accurate personal data as well.
Some of the steps you can make to protect yourself are:
- Hover over the links and see where they would actually take you;
- Analyzing email headers to define how an email got to your address: The “Reply-to” and “Return-Path” parameters should lead to the same domain;
- You can test email content in a sandbox environment.
This type of malware is designed to deny access to a computer system or data by encrypting the information and holding it “hostage” until the ransom is paid. It continues to be one of the top cyber attacks, costing victims over over $25 million each year according to Business Insider.
As most ransomware is delivered via malicious emails, steps to protect yourself or your company would include raising awareness, having good antivirus and malware protection software, and performing data backups regularly.
As technology advances, so does cyber crime. Understanding the top current cyber threats with the help of online cyber security courses makes it possible to create an effective cyber risk management program.
What Are The Biggest Threats to Cyber Security in 2020
As the world currently adjusts to life during the pandemic, there are always people seeking to profit from the harsh reality we’re living in. These are some of the cyber threats that you should look out for in 2020:
- Cloud vulnerability
As enterprises continue to rely more and more on cloud applications for the storage of sensitive data, cloud vulnerability continues to be one of the biggest cyber security challenges faced by organizations during the current year.
- Sophisticated phishing attacks
Email phishing is one of the oldest forms of a cyber attack, and as people have become more aware of its dangers, cyber criminals have developed new strategies for distributing convincing fake messages that can compromise an organization’s networks and systems.
- IoT-based attacks
The number of internet-connected smart devices in homes and businesses is increasing daily thus creating openings for hackers to infiltrate business networks by hijacking these devices.
These types of attacks are likely to focus more on businesses than individuals during this year, as they have more money and motivation to pay ransoms.
- Vehicle cyberattacks
Hackers could soon be able to access vehicles to steal personal data, as more cars and trucks are connected to the Internet.
We live in challenging times where the threat posed by cyber crimes is greater than ever.
Even though hackers have developed numerous ways to threaten both businesses and consumers, it is still possible to protect one’s confidential digital assets.
With the right online cyber security training followed by developing an efficient strategy, a good security operations team or a proactive individual can stay on top of most of the most cyber threats out there.