Cybersecurity is a growing area of concern for businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes all across the world.
As technology evolves and advances, cybercriminals find new tools and sophisticated techniques to breach a security network—making data security and network protection a major challenge for organizations.
The last decade, especially the last couple of years, has seen a significant rise in cyberattacks, as reported by WHO and Interpol—primarily because of the remote working environments and the security risks and challenges it entailed.
While eliminating cyberattacks altogether from the cybersecurity realm isn’t possible—understanding and identifying the different types of cyberattacks and taking proactive measures to prevent them is one of the essential steps and of the utmost importance for businesses today.
This is why I have listed the top cybersecurity threats you should know and their preventative tools in this article. But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s understand why cyberattacks are major threats to global businesses and enterprises.
How Cyber Threats Disrupt Businesses and Organizations?
The primary aim of a cybersecurity attack is to access a company network or a computer system in an unauthorized way to steal, alter, destroy, or expose its sensitive and confidential information.
Thus, when a cybercriminal or a hacker performs a cyberattack, it results in complete data loss, disruption, breaches, or manipulation—making organizations incur major financial losses, reputation damage, and customer distrust.
Huge giants like Dropbox, Uber, Twilio, and Revolut experienced cyberattacks in one form or another—suffering the repercussions of phishing and major data breaches. For instance, in September 2022, a cybersecurity data breach and social engineering attack exposed Revolut’s 50,000 customer’s data, including their addresses, names, email addresses, and partial payment card details.
However, it’s critical to note that these cyberattacks don’t just target bigger fishes in the sea; that is, the billion-dollar companies, but small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are equally in danger of cyber security attacks—especially due to fewer security measures.
While these cyberattacks make businesses suffer significant reputational loss, their damage costs increase as the attacks become more sophisticated. Experts predict cybercrime costs to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, annually growing by 15% over the next five years.
With a situation this serious, learning about the excruciating cybersecurity statistics, fostering a cybersecurity culture, promoting cybersecurity training and awareness, and taking preventative steps at each level and position is crucial for businesses—starting with knowing about the most common and biggest cybersecurity risks.
So, let’s dive right into the list.
Also referred to as malicious software, malware is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats. Malware breaches a company network through malicious software like viruses, ransomware, worms, bots, cryptojacking, trojans, and adware—to harm the server data, destroy data, or steal confidential information.
It’s one of the biggest threats because of the different means or software malware uses to hack a system or breach a network through vulnerabilities. It often comes in the form of spam emails, malicious downloads, or from connecting to other infected devices or machines.
One of the most recent examples of a malware attack was the Emotet trojan, which surfaced around 2014 and stopped in 2021. This highly sophisticated attack was delivered as a Windows update, instructing users to install it on priority. The hackers used phase emails containing malicious and macro-enabled links or attachments to spread them.
There are multiple ways to prevent malware attacks, including installing anti-virus and anti-malware software, firewalls, regularly updating browsers and operating systems, avoiding clicking suspicious links, etc. If you’re looking for malware removal software,
I’d personally recommend opting for Malware Bytes Malware Removal Service, which performs rigorous threat analysis on your system and ensures persistent threat removal—enabling continuous workplace productivity.
In a phishing attack, the attacker impersonates a trusted entity or authority and uses social engineering tactics to send fake emails, SMS, social media accounts, and phones and entice users to either click on malicious links or enter sensitive details that trigger malicious downloads or data compromise.
For instance, the Crelan Bank of Belgium was a victim of a Business Email Compromise (BEC) phishing attack where the attacker compromised a higher-level executive’s email account and instructed the bank’s employees to transfer money into a bank account owned and controlled by the attacker. This scam made the company lose approximately $75.8 million.
Hence, employing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), using strong email security gateways, cross-checking emails and the sender’s email addresses, and using tools like Avanan’s anti-phishing software is crucial to avoid falling victim to a phishing cybersecurity attack.
Ransomware is another most common and prominent cybersecurity threat involving encrypting or stealing an organization’s confidential data and asking for ransom in return—also making it a lucrative and expensive cyberattack.
Many security experts call 2020 “the year of ransomware,” with a surge of 148% in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2021, Brenntag, a North American Division of chemicals distributor, lost a whopping 150 GB of data due to a ransomware attack deployed by the DarkSide gang on the company. The attacker demanded $7.5 million in return for a ransom, but the company could manage to negotiate it at $4.4 million—which was paid by the company to the gang to stop them from publishing the compromised data.
Hence, taking regular backups, enabling strong endpoint security protection, and installing reliable anti-ransomware software, like ZoneAlarm, are essential to prevent ransomware and incurring major financial losses.
Supply Chain Attacks
A supply chain attack is a cybersecurity attack targeting an organization’s trusted third-party vendors that offer software, hardware, and other services critical to the organization’s supply chain.
This attack exploits the trust between a company and its third-party vendors and suppliers; hence, for a company, vetting and investigating its third parties is of the utmost importance.
The software supply chain attackers inject malicious code into a company application to infect its users or access sensitive information. At the same time, the hardware supply chain attackers compromise an application’s physical components for the same purpose—devasting a company’s trust and reputation.
One of the most recent incidents of a supply chain attack is the SolarWinds Orion attack in 2020. The attacks penetrated SolarWinds’ software development environment to embed malicious codes into the Orion platform updates. This resulted in over 18,000 organizations installing backdoors into their networks and systems via regular software updates, the Sunburst update in this case—allowing attackers to gain access to confidential information from several global private companies and government agencies.
A zero-day attack occurs when the hacker manages to exploit a loophole or vulnerability before developers can find a fix. It’s when the company identifies software vulnerabilities. Still, there’s no immediate fix, or there are “zero days” to fix it—providing a benefit to the hackers to exploit the vulnerabilities right away.
In 2020, the popular video conferencing platform Zoom suffered through a zero-day vulnerability attack that allowed hackers to remotely access users’ computers if they were running on Windows 7 and older versions. The hacker could entirely take over the computer and access its files if the target victim was an administrator.
A reliable, well-communicated patch management process and incident response plan can help you avoid zero-day attacks. Additionally, using zero-day attack prevention software like Opawat’s Zero-day prevention solution targeted to ensure high email security is also beneficial.
As the name suggests, in a man-in-the-middle attack, an attacker gets in between a communication between two parties, hijacking a session between a host and the client.
Also referred to as eavesdropping, MITM attacks involve the attacker cutting down the client-server communication and creating a new line of communication to steal personal data and banking information, manipulate users to take certain actions, initiate fund transfers, and more.
A popular MITM attack example is when, in 2014, Lenovo distributed PCs with Superfish Visual adware—enabling attackers to create and deploy ads on encrypted websites, alter the site’s SSL, and add their own. This allowed hackers to view the user’s web activity and login credentials when they browsed Chrome or Internet Explorer.
Using data and device encryption, installing VPNs, implementing multi-factor authentication, and installing reliable application security solutions, like Imperva’s Web Application Firewall, are critical to prevent MITM attacks.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack floods a web server with bots and internet traffic, disrupting the normal website traffic experience, performance, and uptime.
A lot of irrelevant traffic towards a target website eats up its resources, making it difficult to handle or provide a good experience to the target users, resulting in server downtime and making the website inaccessible to the internet.
Thus, a successful DDoS attack can majorly affect a business’s online reputation and credibility. DDoS attacks have been on a significant rise since 2020, and statistics suggest that 2021 saw a 67% increase in ransom DDoS attacks.
Conducting risk assessments, using firewalls and traffic differentiation solutions, and installing services like Cloudflare’s network services can help significantly prevent the chances of malicious DDoS attacks.
SQL, or Structured Query Language (SQL) injection, occurs when the attacker manipulates a standard SQL query or statement on a database-driven website or application. The hacker injects malicious codes into the SQL queries, enabling them to view, edit, erase, or manipulate critical database information.
Miami-based hackers used SQL injection to infiltrate corporate systems at several organizations, primarily the 7-Eleven retail chain, successfully stealing 130 million credit card numbers.
Using intrusion detection systems and tools like ManageEngine’s EventLog Analyzer can help mitigate and avoid SQL injection from compromising your company’s application database.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks involve the attacker inserting malicious and unauthorized code within a legitimate website.
This code then gets launched as an infected script on the user’s web browser—enabling the hacker to impersonate the user or steal their confidential information, like banking details, login credentials, etc.
You can prevent XSS attacks by encoding data on output, filtering input on arrival, and using appropriate response headers. Moreover, you can even detect and mitigate SQL injection with ManageEngine’s EventLog Analyzer to prevent unauthorized data access and lateral movement.
In password-based attacks, the attacker hacks a user’s password using password-cracking tools and programs like Hashcat and Aircrack. A password-based attack can be differentiated into multiple types, like brute force attacks, keylogger attacks, and dictionary attacks.
The attacker uses the trial and error approach to guess user’s login credentials and hack into their accounts in a brute force attack. At the same time, the dictionary attack uses common words to guess a user’s passwords, especially when they’re weak and too easy to guess.
Keylogger is a malware attack that uses keystrokes a user uses to enter information like passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive data on their computer systems.
Besides using strong passwords and updating them regularly, using secure management solutions, like IPBan Pro, will help you eliminate hackers and brute force logins and ensure login security.
An eavesdropping attack is an act of intercepting information between two parties to access sensitive data and information to listen, record, or intercept data.
Also known as sniffing or spoofing, eavesdropping can apply to verbal communications, like text messages, email, fax transmissions, video conferences, and other data transmitted over the network.
This attack can make victims suffer through identity theft, financial loss, reputational damage, compromised data, humiliation, and much more. You can prevent risks of eavesdropping by using strong authentication and encryption solutions, like the Next-generation Encryption with NordVPN, spreading cybersecurity awareness and ensuring physical security.
The rise in work-from-home or remote working environments has increased since the pandemic, and so have the attacks on smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT attacks significantly escalated to 1.51 billion between January to June 2021.
These attacks target IoT-based networks and devices, like security cameras or smart thermostats—to gain control over the device or steal data.
In July 2015, hackers performed a Jeep hack and took control of the Jeep SUU using its CAN bus and exploiting a firmware update vulnerability—allowing them to control the vehicle’s speed and other actions.
You must use solutions like IoT Security Solutions for Enterprise, Industrial, and Healthcare by Check Point to prevent IoT cyberattacks.
Cloud vulnerabilities are growing tremendously, increasing by 150% in the last five years. These attacks target cloud-based service platforms, like cloud storage, cloud computing, and SaaS and PaaS models.
These attacks make organizations suffer serious consequences, including data loss, data exposure, unauthorized access to sensitive information, and disruption of services.
To prevent such hazards, you can ensure cloud security by choosing Orca, an AI-driven cloud security platform to eliminate cloud risks.
A cryptojacking cyberattack involves the attacker hijacking someone else’s work or home computer for mining cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. Hackers can access a victim’s device by infecting it with malicious online ads or sending pop-ups or emails consisting of malicious links.
You can prevent cryptojacking attacks by updating your software, installing an ad blocker, or a cryptojacking blocker, like Acronis’s Cryptojacking software blocker, that blocks threats on your computer device. Acronis also provides other cyber protection services.
A Denial of Service (DoS) attack floods a targeted network with false requests—overwhelming the server, disrupting its operations, and making it inaccessible to the intended users.
While it may seem similar to DDoS attacks, they differ in their origin. While DDoS attacks originate from multiple systems, attackers launch DoS attacks from a single system.
In 2018, Panda Security announced the spread of a cryptojacking script, known as “WannaMine,” to mine the Monero cryptocurrency that infected several high-profile company networks.
You can prevent DoS attacks using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), IP blocking, rate limiting, and installing solutions like Radware’s DDoS Attack Prevention services.
A watering hole attack is a cyberattack that targets a group of users or an organization by infecting the websites or web pages they commonly visit.
Just like animal predators lurk and wait around watering holes to attack their prey, watering hole cybercriminals lurk on common or niche websites, waiting for an opportunity to infect those websites, thereby infecting victim websites that visit the niche websites.
In 2015, a Chinese hacking group made Forbes a victim of a watering hole attack—exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player and Internet Explorer to show infected versions of Forbes’ “Thought of the Day” feature—enabling attackers to infect vulnerable users and devices visiting the Forbes website.
A drive-by download attack or a drive-by attack refers to malicious codes or scripts that trigger an unintentional download of a malware program to a user’s device without their knowledge or explicit permission.
It’s crucial to remove outdated software, keep websites and operating systems up-to-date, use strong and complex passwords for admin accounts, and leverage Fortinet cybersecurity solutions to ensure network and application security and prevent risks of drive-by attacks.
A trojan horse virus is a malicious malware disguising itself as legitimate programs or software, but when installed by the user can result in data manipulation and compromise.
They use social engineering tactics to make the user take specific actions—triggering malware download and installation to their devices.
Anti-virus software like Spybot can help ensure malware protection from other cyber threats.
Several large enterprises and small businesses face increasing risks of evolving cyberattacks and online threats—threatening business’s finances, sales, reputation, and credibility.
With such a range of cybersecurity threats lingering around the web, critical cybersecurity measures are essential for businesses to keep cybercriminals at bay and ensure consistent business operations.
So, make sure you take advantage of this article enlisting the common cybersecurity risks and how you can avoid them.
Have you ever wondered how it is possible that every time your product owner brings in some new feature topic, the team response is they need to investigate technical possibilities and create some form of design before they can be sure how to develop that feature? Then that’s most likely because you have no Architecture Runway in place.
Google Docs does a great job of keeping things simple. The default page setup works great for most documents, and common formatting options are right on the toolbar. However, when you need to do some advanced formatting, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.