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5 Types of Cybersecurity Threats

In this digital age, technology has become an integral part of our lives. We rely on it for everything – from staying connected with loved ones to managing our businesses. However, this increasing dependence on virtual space has also led to a rise in cybersecurity threats. These threats may target an individual, a corporation, or even an entire government.

Here are some of the most common cybersecurity threats to know about:

Cryptojacking

During a cryptojacking attack, hackers use a victim’s computer to mine cryptocurrency without their consent. They deploy malicious software onto a victim’s device. Once the malicious code is executed on the system, it utilizes the device’s processing power, computational resources, and electricity to mine cryptocurrencies. This mining process involves solving complex cryptographic puzzles to validate and record transactions on a blockchain, which is the underlying technology of most cryptocurrencies.

As a victim of cryptojacking, you may face numerous drawbacks. It may result in poor device performance, increased electricity bills, and even hardware damage due to overheating caused by resource-intensive mining. But the good news is that using reputable antivirus tools, keeping software up to date, and implementing intrusion detection systems can help you mitigate this cybersecurity threat.

Also, launching training programs in your organization could be a smart move. During these sessions, experts will share insights about safe online practices. They will emphasize the importance of visiting reputable websites, using updated web browsers, and avoiding suspicious plugins that may contain cryptojacking scripts. When hiring an expert to conduct training sessions, be sure to recruit someone with the right qualifications. We recommend hiring a professional with at least a bachelor of science in cybersecurity.

Phishing

In 2021, a credible study found that phishing contributed to 36% of all breaches. This marked a substantial increase from 2020 when they made up 22% of the breaches. In these types of scams, the perpetrator disguises as an official body, such as a government agency or a bank, to deceive the victim to get personal information. For instance, the attacker might request the victim to open an attachment containing the malicious code. Sometimes, an intruder may also lead the victim to a website that looks like an official one and then prompt the victim to fill in their credentials.

Emails are one of the go-to mediums for phishing attacks. Therefore, you should utilize email filtering as a frontline defense mechanism to keep phishing attacks at a safe distance. At its core, email filtering uses sophisticated algorithms and databases to recognize known spam patterns. These filters divert spam emails away from the inbox, reducing the clutter and ensuring that legitimate emails get the attention they deserve.

Apart from basic spam detection, email filtering tools also scrutinize the content of emails. They analyze the message to look for red flags, such as the sender’s history, language, and the content of any attachments. This way, users can identify phishing attempts that might go unnoticed otherwise.

Malware

Malware is a broad category of software. It is used to disrupt, compromise, and break into a computer system or network. One of the most common types of malware is viruses. These self-replicating programs attach themselves to legitimate files and spread when those files are executed. Among other things, viruses may jeopardize the integrity of your data and prevent your system from functioning properly.

Spyware is another prevalent form of malware. It is designed to covertly monitor and gather information about a user’s activities, including keystrokes, browsing history, and personal data. This stolen information is typically used for identity theft.

An institution’s vulnerability to malware assaults may vary depending on its size, the security measures in place, and the nature of its operations. That said, certain types of businesses are more susceptible to malware attacks due to the potential for high financial gain. For example, retailers accepting credit cards are prime targets for malware attacks. Cybercriminals attack these businesses to steal sensitive financial information.

Botnets

A botnet is a group of infiltrated computers controlled by a malicious actor. Once hacked, botmasters can utilize these devices to launch a wide variety of cyberattacks. The abundance of internet-connected gadgets is a major culprit behind the rampant spread of botnets. The reason is that many of these devices lack robust security measures or are not regularly updated. This makes them easy targets for exploitation.

Fortunately, law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity experts have made substantial efforts to combat botnets. One such notable measure is botnet takedowns. The core of a botnet takedown operation is the seizure of the botnet’s C&C servers. These servers are responsible for coordinating the actions of the compromised devices. By gaining control of these servers, law enforcement and cybersecurity experts can disrupt the communication between the bots and the botmaster.

In some cases, C&C servers are not immediately turned off. They are temporarily routed to a different network that is under the authority of law enforcement or cybersecurity professionals. This enables them to keep tabs on botnet activity, gather additional evidence, and promptly notify victims.

Malvertising

A malvertisement is an online ad that contains hidden malware. When users interact with the ad, the malware is executed and compromises their devices. Aside from stealing data, hackers also use this tactic to generate fake clicks on online ads to fraudulently earn revenue.

A mix of preventative measures is necessary for protection against malvertisements. First and foremost, you may consider using ad blockers. They will filter out intrusive ads. As a result, you will be less likely to encounter malvertisements during your online activities. Malvertisements can be more prevalent on less reputable sites. Therefore, stick to well-established websites and avoid clicking on ads or downloading files from sites that seem suspicious.

If you suspect that your device has been compromised by malware delivered through a malvertisement, disconnect from the internet immediately and run a full malware scan with your antivirus software. In case you need assistance restoring your device’s security, do not hesitate to connect with an expert.

Conclusion

As our daily activities continue to shift online, the likelihood of cyberattacks has skyrocketed. While headlines tend to focus on massive security lapses, many individuals and small businesses are also undergoing small-scale data breaches regularly. Hence, you need to understand the most common cyber threats to lay down a solid plan against them.

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