Cyber security threats are pretty pervasive, and they tend to topple the digital space. Be it for business disruption or financial gain. Cyber security crimes pose severe damage to the business, not just financial. A cyber attack damages the business’s reputation, may take the company to court, and disrupt the business continuity.
Cybercriminals make use of sophisticated technologies exposing every IT business to risk. The confidential information and critical data is thus open prey to malicious attacks. Also, with the recent technology advancements like IoT, AI, and cloud computing, new avenues for cyber threats are making the existing risks more complex.
What exactly is a cyber security threat?
In the cyber security courses, you will learn that a cyber security threat is a deliberate malicious attack by any organization or an individual to get unauthorized access to another organization’s network. This could be done to steal the IT assets, intellectual property, or any sensitive data.
There are various kinds of cyber threats, but some are common that every organization should be aware of.
Cyber threats examples
- Malware – Malware is malicious software installed in the system when the user clicks a dangerous email or link. The malware blocks the network’s critical components and lets hackers access confidential information.
- Phishing – The criminal sends a malicious email that seems to be from a legit source. The user clicks on the email and the link, which immediately installs the malware or discloses the target sensitive information to the attacker.
- Spear Phishing – The attack is carried out only on privileged users like the C-suite executive or the system administrator.
- Man in the Middle Attack – The hacker will place himself between any two-part communication and interpret the communication. They then filter and steal the data and give each user a different response.
- Denial of Service Attack – The attack floods the network and the system with traffic which does not let the system take the legit requests
- SQL Injection – The attack occurs when the cybercriminal gets access to the database by uploading the malicious SQL scripts, which lets him view, edit and change the data stored in the SQL database.
- Zero-day Exploit – This is when the software or the hardware vulnerability gets announced, and the criminal exploits it.
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) – The attacker here gains access to the system but stays undetected for a very long time.
- Ransomware – The attacker will encrypt or lock the users’ data and threaten to publish the information unless the ransom is paid.
Techniques to address cyber security issues
Here are some techniques that are used to address cyber security issues.
- Endpoint security defense – Most organizations have endpoint protection like an antivirus tool in place. But these have proven to be inadequate to fight the advanced intrusion methods. There is a need to invest in modern endpoint detection methods to combat the next generation virus. The tools can conduct behavioral analysis and give comprehensive protection from malicious behaviors.
- Data recovery and backup – There is a need for the organization to back up and recover the data. However, most organizations do not adequately take this step. They tend to neglect one or more of the facets. There is a need for a multi-pronged strategy for backup and recovery, which includes snapshots of the storage, tape, disk backups, and end-user cloud-based storage.
- Network segmentation and monitoring – Attacks rely on weak segmentation and gain access to the system through it. This lets the attackers compromise the new systems and get access for long. The organization needs to control the network’s access within the subnets and build smarter detection and alerting strategies. This will allow lateral movement in the system. Firewalls and proxies help in creating a restrictive policy.
- Weak credential management and authentication – Lack of sound credential management is a major cause of concern. People often tend to use similar passwords repeatedly. This is a weak practice that makes a company vulnerable. Organizations should implement stringent controls of passwords. Long and complex passwords should be used. They should also change passwords frequently. Password authentication and multifactor authentication are a must.
- Security awareness – Susceptibility of the end-user to social engineering is a major issue that plagues the organization even today.
- The initial attack is through phishing mostly. Regular training exercises like phishing tests and pretexting are a requisite. The training has to be contextual.
- Insider threat programs should be created – An insider threat program should be created not to let the employees misuse their access privilege to destroy or steal any corporate data. The IT security team should deploy such policies immediately.
- Train the employees – Employees are vulnerable, and thus cyber security awareness should be made mandatory. It improves the company’s security measures and reliance on cyber security.
- Maintain compliance – The company should comply with the data regulations prevalent to the industry and the location. The company should also be abreast with the evolving regulations.
- Create a cyber-incident response plan – A cyber security incident response helps navigate any cyber adversaries. It lets the business prepare for any inevitable threats and respond to them.
- Update the software and system – The security network becomes outdated with time, putting the company under cyber-attack. It is thus important to update the security network and the associated software and systems.
- Initiate a phishing simulation – The organization should conduct regular phishing simulations so that the employees are educated and do not click on any malicious link.
- Secure the sites with HTTPS – The organization should secure their sites with a certificate HTTPS to protect data integrity and confidentiality.
Many cyber security vulnerabilities can be spotted. Here are a few listed that are commonly addressed issues. Organizations should adopt these techniques that are leveraged to assess the Cybersecurity Guide to prevent cyber-attacks. There is a need to continuously refine the cyber security programs taught in Stanford’s advanced cyber security courses. This will help the business to contain any future threats.