There is an entire industry dedicated to fighting cyberattacks and making sure other companies have solid cybersecurity systems in place. Cyberattacks have become increasingly common, and typically involve some sort of breach of information systems to steal sensitive data or deny users’ access to their data. Many attacks have a financial motive, so it’s crucial to protect your company against the possibility of a breach.
It only takes one attack to bring down a network and do serious damage to your business, but if you take the necessary steps to protect your systems, you have a much better chance of thwarting any hackers’ attempts.
There are several different types of cybersecurity threats, and it’s important to know what they are so you can understand how to fight them.
Malware, or malicious software, is an umbrella term for all sorts of programs designed to hack, disrupt, or damage a device. Malware breaches the security of your device and can steal data or control your device. It works by tricking users into clicking something they shouldn’t click, which then downloads malicious code into the system. Types of malware can include viruses, trojans, spyware, bots, bugs, and ransomware.
You can prevent malware by using tools that detect a breach early, such as software that scans your network, and removes any malware it detects. Never click on a link you aren’t exactly sure where it came from. Even emails that may seem okay and legit, are not.
Malwarebytes offers a free and an affordable paid version to help with possible malware issues on your computer. Check it out by going to https://www.malwarebytes.com/. I personally use this software on my computer and on my phone.
Ransomware is exactly what it sounds like—your data is taken hostage until you pay a ransom to get it back. It can be considered a type of malware, and is spread throughout your network through various ways, such as phishing emails that have malicious code attached, or drive-by downloading, which is when a user visits a site that’s infected with malware and unknowingly downloads it to their device.
Once ransomware has infected a device, it encrypts the user or company’s data so they can’t access any of their files. It spreads quickly across the database and servers, and the attacker holds a private key needed to decrypt the files until the ransom is paid.
There may be some situation in which the attacker refuses to release the private key, so it’s important to back up your data regularly, along with implementing other tips to increase your cybersecurity.
Phishing is when cybercriminals pose as legitimate companies and send users emails, phone calls, or text messages to get sensitive information out of them. A common example of phishing is a password reset email, where the attacker pretends that your account is under a security threat and asks you to reset your password. When you click the link provided in their email, it goes to a website that isn’t legitimate, and your new password gets saved. They can then change it on their end and use the information to log into your account.
Other types of phishing emails to be suspicious of include notifications of winning a prize, urgent requests, or emails from people you don’t know with attachments you don’t recognize.
- Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
Using free public Wi-Fi is a good way to leave yourself vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. Generally speaking, a MITM attack is when the attacker positions themselves between the user and platform the user is trying to visit, and essentially intercepts and hijacks that connection. When the victim gets on the free Wi-Fi network, it allows the attacker to have full visibility and access into their online activities.
The best thing to do if you can’t get onto a secure Wi-Fi network in public is to use your phone as a temporary hotspot.
- DoS and DDoS
A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack works by shutting down web servers and essentially denying users access to it. It does this by flooding a server with traffic until it crashes, rendering it unavailable and unusable. Some signs of a DoS attack include slower network performance or a loss of connectivity to your site. A DoS attack uses a single system to launch the attack.
A Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack, on the other hand, uses multiple systems to attack a single system. Running tests regularly on your internal systems can help expose any vulnerabilities, so you can protect against future DoS or DDoS attacks.
Implementing things like anti-virus software, firewalls, VPNs, employee training and cybersecurity solutions can help protect your company against cybersecurity threats such as malware, ransomware, phishing, MITM, DoS, DDoS and more. By understanding what dangers these different threats pose, you can be proactive about preparing your systems to recognize and remove the threats as soon as they’re detected.
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