One of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of today’s world is our increasing demand and dependence on software to perform almost every life duty. With the large number of programs available, all of which designed to tackle a different area of our lives, one can see the potential disruption that could be caused, if one of these systems were to be compromised. When we delve deeper into these systems, we find telecommunications, power grids, hospitals, voting machines, military equipment, finance institutions and much more.
Without question, no one would argued that these systems are not vulnerable. When you think about the possible ways that military systems could be exploited, for example, then you can begin to grasp just how dangerous having such a wide dependence on software can be.
As our technology continues to advance, improving our delivery systems and infrastructure, so does the number of ways that unscrupulous minds can exploit these systems.
Below are 5 cyber security threats that you should know a whole lot about:
Current figures puts the number of daily ransomware attacks at over 4 thousand that means, one business is attacked almost every 20 seconds. For this reason, it’s a major priority that defence systems be put in place to curtail such attacks. Ransomware attacks can result in the permanent loss of data, because it encrypts confidential data, which then, can only be accessed via decryption. In other instances it can delete and corrupt files, in the event that a ransom is not paid.
In order to effectively defend ones system(s) from these kinds of attacks, one must train themselves, and train their employees, in a number of areas, comprising innovative security endpoint solutions. Instead of the standard antivirus program, there are endpoint cloud-delivered protection systems that can be put in place, to stop these forms of attack. Ransomware recovery strategies is another thing that has grown in popularity, over the past couple of years.
2. Crypto Malware
With the emergence of cryptocurrencies and its now, widespread use, like Bitcoin, this has no doubt attracted the attention of cybercriminals. Some hackers have created malicious software that is capable of mining cryptocurrencies on systems that have been infected with the malware.
Although there is no direct harm that can be attributed to crypto-malware, they do pose their own security threats. Such as their ability to hijack the processing power of your system, and use those resources to mine for cryptocurrencies. To protect your system from these threats, you should definitely use a VPN.
3. Data Leakage
Cybersecurity is an issue in the office space, which is something we’re all well aware of. However, this issue of security goes far beyond the office, as you have to account for smart devices and tablets, which are used on the fly. With the advent of storage devices and USB sticks, it has made it much easier to back up and transport data across computers.
It’s for this reason why cybercriminals target these kinds of devices. Data leakage has thus, become one of the bigger cybersecurity threats, as something that companies and individuals alike should be always on the lookout for.
4. Phishing Emails
Data breaches don’t always occur due to the usual suspects. In some cases, they are the result of human error. Such human error typically occurs when an employee accidently clicks on a link in a phishing email. These phishing emails usually have viruses in them, like ransomware, or Trojan horse viruses, which infiltrate the system and the network, and cause a great deal of damage.
Many studies have shown, that an unacceptable number of people are still unable to determine a legitimate email from a phishing email. For this reason it’s very important that employers don’t take that chance, by training their employees to be able to identify these threats.
With stegware, you get an expansion of the malware attack surface. Stegware or steganography, as it’s called, is essentially the art of hiding a malicious file, inside another file, such as a picture, video or the like. In the past, only the most skilled cybercriminals were able to create these kinds of stegware. However, today, cybercriminals are far more skilled, with kits developed, specifically to help would-be cybercriminals create their very own stegware. With the increasing number of cyber-attacks occurring each day, it’s only a matter of time, before companies are inundated with these kinds of malicious files. Essentially malicious files hiding inside legitimate files.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.