As the recent epidemic of data breaches illustrates, no system is immune to attacks. Any company that manages, transmits, stores, or otherwise handles data has to institute and enforce mechanisms to monitor their cyber environment, identify vulnerabilities, and close up security holes as quickly as possible.
Before identifying specific dangers to modern data systems, it is crucial to understand the distinction between cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
Cyber threats are security incidents or circumstances with the potential to have a negative outcome for your network or other data management systems.
Examples of common types of security threats include phishing attacks that result in the installation of malware that infects your data, failure of a staff member to follow data protection protocols that cause a data breach, or even a tornado that takes down your company’s data headquarters, disrupting access.
Vulnerabilities are the gaps or weaknesses in a system that make threats possible and tempt threat actors to exploit them.
Types of vulnerabilities in network security include but are not limited to SQL injections, server misconfigurations, cross-site scripting, and transmitting sensitive data in a non-encrypted plain text format.
When threat probability is multiplied by the potential loss that may result, cybersecurity experts, refer to this as a risk.
TYPES OF CYBERSECURITY THREATS
Just as there is a plethora of various germs and diseases that can attack the human body, there are numerous threats that can affect hardware, software, and the information you store. Some of the major ones include the following:
- Viruses are designed in such a way that can be easily transmitted from one computer or system to another. Often sent as email attachments, viruses corrupt and co-opt data, interfere with your security settings, generate spam, and may even delete content.
- Computer worms are similar; they spread from one computer to the next by sending itself to all of the user’s contacts and subsequently to all of the contacts’ contacts.
- Trojans – these malicious pieces of software insert themselves into a legitimate program. Often, people voluntarily let trojans into their systems in the form of email messages from a person or an advertiser they trust. As soon as the accompanying attachment is open, your system becomes vulnerable to the malware within.
- Bogus security software that tricks users into believing that their system has been infected with a virus. The accompanying security software that the threat actor provides to fix the problem causes it.
- The adware tracks your browsing habits and causes particular advertisements to pop up. Although this is common and often something you may even agree to, adware is sometimes foisted upon you without your consent.
- Spyware is an intrusion that may steal sensitive data such as passwords and credit card numbers from your internal systems.
- Denial of service (DOS) attack: occurs when hackers deluge a website with traffic, making it impossible for users to access its content. A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack is more forceful and aggressive since it is initiated from several servers simultaneously. As a result, a DDOS attack is harder to mount defenses against.
- Phishing attacks are social engineering infiltrations whose goal is to wrongfully obtain sensitive data: passwords and credit card numbers. Via emails or links coming from trusted companies and financial institutions, the hacker causes malware to be downloaded and installed.
- SQL injections are network threats that involve using malicious code to infiltrate cyber vulnerabilities in data systems. As a result, data can be stolen, changed, or destroyed.
- Man-in-the-middle attacks involve a third party intercepting and exploiting communications between two entities that should remain private. Not only does eavesdropping occur but also information can be changed or misrepresented by the intruder, causing inaccuracy and even security breaches.
- Rootkit tools gain remote access to systems without permission and can lead to the installation of malware and the stealing of passwords and other data.
COMMON NETWORK VULNERABILITIES
Even seemingly small flaws or oversights in the design or implementation of your network systems can lead to disaster.
Some of the most common network vulnerabilities include the following gaps in your application security: when applications are not kept up-to-date, tested and patched, the doors are open to code injection, cross-site scripting, insecure direct object references, and much more.