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10 Common Cybersecurity Threats and How to Defend Against Them

10 Common Cybersecurity Threats and How to Defend Against Them

This entry was posted on by Pavel Odnoletkov.
Cybersecurity Threats

From the moment you log in to your email to the time you make an online purchase, every click carries a potential risk. The world of cybersecurity is always changing, which means staying informed is important for individuals and businesses alike. Below, we’ll break down the most common cybersecurity threats today and share the best ways to prevent them. Here’s what you should know:

1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing is an online scam where cybercriminals pose as trusted sources, like banks, to trick people into revealing sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers. They use convincing messages, urging recipients to click malicious links or share personal details. This info is then used for fraudulent activities.

How to Prevent It: To protect your business from phishing, train your team to spot suspicious emails. Encourage double-checking before clicking links or sharing sensitive info. Consider using tools like email filters and set up multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.

2. Malware

This refers to harmful software created by cyber criminals to damage or gain unauthorized access to computers or networks. It can come in various forms, like viruses, worms, or spyware.

How to Prevent It: Make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date and be cautious when opening unfamiliar emails or clicking on unfamiliar links. Regularly updating your computer’s software and being mindful of what you download also helps keep malware at bay.

3. Ransomware

This malicious software locks or encrypts an organization’s files or computer system. The attacker then demands a payment (“ransom”) in exchange for a decryption key to restore access.

How to Prevent It: Regularly back up your important data and keep those backups separate from your main network. Make sure your employees are well-informed about the risks, and keep your security software up-to-date.

4. Injection Attacks

Injection attacks, like SQL injection and cross-site scripting, involve sneaking malicious code into websites or applications. In SQL injection, cybercriminals manipulate input fields to gain unauthorized access to a database, potentially stealing or altering sensitive data. Cross-site scripting inserts harmful scripts into websites, affecting users who visit those sites.

How to Prevent It: Developers should validate input fields and update code to patch potential weaknesses, while users must be careful with links and personal data on websites.

5. Insider Threats

These are threats that come from employees or contractors within a business, such as employees or contractors, who may accidentally or intentionally cause harm. This could involve sharing sensitive information, accessing unauthorized data, or sabotaging systems.

How to Prevent It: Implement strict access controls, conduct thorough background checks, and provide ongoing security training. Encouraging trust and open communication can also help identify potential risks early on.

6. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

In a DDoS attack, multiple devices work together to send a huge amount of data or requests to a target, like a website. This surge in traffic overloads the server, making it hard for real users to access the site.

How to Prevent It: Use a trusted DDoS protection service or hardware to filter out excessive traffic and maintain access to your online service. Set up traffic monitoring to spot unusual spikes and work with your internet provider on a response plan.

7. Social Engineering

Cybercriminals use psychology to trick people into giving away sensitive information or doing things they shouldn’t. They might pretend to be trustworthy to gain trust, like a co-worker or a reputable company.

How to Prevent It: To protect your business, inform your team about common tactics and be cautious when it comes to unexpected requests for sensitive information. Implement strict verification for actions like financial transactions or password resets.

8. Zero-day Exploits

These attacks target software vulnerabilities that developers haven’t had a chance to fix yet. Attackers take advantage of this window of opportunity to breach systems.

How to Prevent It: Keep your software updated with fixes for unknown vulnerabilities and use strong cybersecurity measures like firewalls and intrusion detection systems.

9. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

Attackers intercept and possibly alter communications between two parties, potentially eavesdropping on sensitive information or impersonating one of them. This can happen on unsecured Wi-Fi networks or through compromised routers.

How to Prevent It: Use secure connections like HTTPS for sensitive transactions and avoid public Wi-Fi for important business activities. Additionally, regularly update and secure your network and devices to prevent unauthorized access.

10. IoT (Internet of Things) Vulnerabilities

These are weaknesses in interconnected devices like smart appliances, cameras, and sensors. Attackers can exploit these to gain unauthorized access or even take control of devices.

How to Prevent It: Change default passwords on IoT devices and keep their firmware up to date. Ensure these devices are connected to secure networks to protect your business from potential breaches.

Remember, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. By staying informed about these common threats and implementing the recommended defenses, you’ll be able to create a safer online environment for your business and your whole team. To learn more about the latest cybersecurity measures and how to protect your sensitive data, get a free assessment today.

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Pavel Odnoletkov
Pavel Odnoletkov
Head of Marketing at MBC Managed IT Services
With more than 20 years of experience, Pavel leads MBC’s marketing efforts.
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