IT security threats are evolving at an astonishing speed. Hacks and frauds are becoming more innovative by the day. Scammers are intent on making our lives a living hell, which is why we need to stay informed about these threats so they cannot get us too caught up in their web of lies!
The advent of working from home has brought new cybersecurity threats into focus. Let us have a look at the top 10 IT security threats you must know.
Common IT security threats
1. Weak Passwords
Using weak or easily guessed passwords is a big IT security threat that organizations are facing today. Companies that are using multiple cloud services require more than one account. These accounts often contain critical information about a business such as personal information, employee information, financial information, and more. When employees use weak passwords or the same for multiple accounts, then the chances of the data being compromised increase.
The number of businesses that are at risk from compromised accounts due to weak passwords is overwhelming. An average of 19% of employees use easily guessed or shared credentials across various online services, which can cause major issues to any company – especially one with sensitive data.
How to prevent weak password threats?
- Consider using password manager software. These platforms have a feature that suggests strong passwords for all your accounts, making them difficult to crack.
- Consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for more security.
2. Insider Threats
Another major cybersecurity threat that organizations are facing today is the insider threat. An insider threat occurs when an individual close to the organization (such as a former employee, current employee, or vendor) has access to the company’s critical data and causes harm to it intentionally or unintentionally.
Careless employees who do not comply with their organizations’ business rules and policies cause insider threats, such as sending customer data to external parties or clicking on phishing links in emails.
Malicious insiders can intentionally delete data and steal it to sell or exploit later. They can also disrupt operations and harm the business they work for by way of destruction caused by their illegal activities.
How to prevent insider threats?
- Ensure that there is a strong culture of security awareness within your organization.
- Set clear limits on employees’ access and usage of company resources.
- Give vendors and other freelancers temporary accounts only.
- Implement two-factor authentication in which each user has a second piece of identifying information other than a password.
3. Ransomware Threats
Ransomware has been one of the most lucrative forms of cyber-attacks, striking thousands of companies every year. These attacks have become more common as they provide huge payments to cyber criminals in exchange for data. These attacks force businesses to pay a ransom to regain access to their data. This can cost companies millions.
How to prevent ransomware threats?
- Users should always make sure that they have a recent backup of their device and install software updates.
- Users should be careful when clicking on links in emails or opening attachments from unknown sources.
- Organizations should implement both a traditional firewall as well as an advanced program that filters content and blocks sites prone to risks such as malware.
- Avoiding paying the ransom is important for victims.
4. Malware Threats
Another biggest IT security threat is malware. This includes viruses and trojans which hackers use as a weapon by installing malicious codes into them to gain access between networks, steal data from your computer systems or even destroy them altogether. Malware often comes from downloading malicious files onto your computer or smartphone without proper protection, visiting spam websites and connecting to other infected devices.
How to prevent malware threats?
5. Phishing Threats
The most damaging and widespread threat to small and mid-sized businesses is phishing attacks, accounting for 38% of all cybercrimes in 2021. In a phishing attack, an attacker pretends to be a trusted contact and might trick users into clicking on malicious links or downloading files that give them access to your sensitive information.
In the last few years, phishing attacks have become much more convincing. Attackers now successfully convince others by pretending that they are legitimate business contacts. The bad actors are using phishing campaigns to steal business emails and passwords from high-level executives, to fraudulently request payments from employees.
Below is a sample of a phishing campaign:
How to prevent phishing threats?
- Have advanced email security to prevent phishing attacks from reaching your employees’ email accounts.
- Implement multi-factor authentication.
- Do not respond to unsolicited requests.
- Instead of replying to the email, contact the organization yourself.
6. Bots and Botnets Threats
Botnets are one of the most dangerous threats faced by organizations. They are a group of devices connected to the internet which includes laptops, computers, and smartphones infected with malware. Typically, the botnet malware searches for vulnerable devices across the internet. The goal of the threat actor is to infect as many connected devices as possible and use them to send mass spam emails, engage people in fraud campaigns and generate malicious traffic.
How to prevent botnet threats?
- Never open executable (.exe) files as they are dangerous and will infect computer systems on which they execute.
- Do not click on links from suspicious websites and pop-ups.
- Keep the operating system updated and install any security patches or programs needed regularly.
- Antibotnet tools can be used to find and block these viruses.
7. Drive-By Attack Threat
A drive-by attack (drive-by download attack) occurs when a malicious code causes a program to download itself on a user’s device without the user’s consent or knowledge. The user does not have to click on anything, just accessing or browsing a website can start the download. Cyber criminals use drive-by attacks and other techniques like exploit kits that bring malware into your computer.
How to prevent drive-by attack threats?
- Make sure to browse well-known websites with valid security certificates.
- Verify links before you click on them.
- Use robust antivirus and antimalware software.
- Regularly update and patch system and software.
8. DDoS Threats
The DDoS attack (Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack) is a form of cybercrime in which an attacker prevents users from accessing the services and websites online by flooding the server with internet traffic.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks are motivated by several reasons such as a competitor might disrupt or shut down another business’s online operations to steal away potential profit from them while they are distracted; perpetrators attack a company and install malware on their servers to demand money from the management.
How to prevent DDoS threats?
- Implementing technology to track networks visually and knowing how much bandwidth an organization uses on average will help administrators catch DDoS attacks before they severely degrade performance.
- Ensure that your servers can manage heavy traffic spikes and security problems. If they are unable to, implement the necessary tools.
- You should also patch networks to protect against DDoS attacks.
9. Social Engineering Threats
The goal of a social engineering attack is to trick you into taking certain actions, like bypassing your cybersecurity measures or leaking sensitive information. Even the best cyberprotection solution will not be able to stop a social engineering attack because the target themselves let the hacker get into the system.
How to prevent social engineering threats?
- Be sure to do your own research before giving away any information or committing funds.
- One of the most common ways to gain access to a building is by carrying large boxes or files. However, this trick will not work if you request identification from those who appear suspicious. Always be cautious and ask before letting them in.
- Spammers are always looking for new ways to get their messages into your inbox, so you must have a good spam filter.
10. Outdated System Threat
Malicious hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities to gain access and steal information. Not staying up to date can leave a company vulnerable. So, you must patch your software regularly with the latest updates.
Act Now: Protect Against Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity is a top priority for many organizations, and it is understandable to feel overwhelmed when you are constantly surrounded by news about new IT security threats. But there are ways to ensure that your organization remains safe.
ZNetLive offers an extra layer of protection when you need it the most. Acronis Cyber Protect is the only solution that integrates backup and cyberprotection capabilities in one platform. It protects all your data by threat monitoring and continually sending real-time threat alerts related to malware, system vulnerabilities, natural disasters, and events that can affect your data protection.
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Priyanka Dadhich – a content writer, can usually be found reading books. She likes to write about technology, healthcare, travel and fashion. Priyanka loves coffee and listens to music in her free time. She spends her free time with her family.