Every type of small business, regardless of industry, needs to be aware of the dangers of cyber security threats. Cybercriminals are constantly modifying their techniques, which means it’s more important than ever to have a cyber security plan – especially since cyber threats to companies are on the rise due to COVID-19. The increase of employees working from home is exposing vulnerabilities in many companies’ infrastructures.
If you’re a small business, you might think cybercriminals would rather target a larger company. This is far from true. Almost 70% of small businesses experience cyberattacks, and without a cyber security plan, they run the risk of going out of business. 60% of small businesses that experience a data breach or cyber-attack close within 6 months.
What is a Threat in Cyber Security?
A cyber security threat is a malicious and deliberate attack by an individual or organization to gain unauthorized access to another individual’s or organization’s network to damage, disrupt, or steal IT assets, computer networks, intellectual property, or any other form of sensitive data.
Top 8 Cyber Security Threats in 2022
Malware is an umbrella term for many forms of harmful software – including ransomware and viruses – that sabotage the operation of computers. That may include fully controlling the computer, recording keystrokes to steal information & passwords, or stealing private data.
Malware can be surreptitiously delivered to a computer in a variety of ways. Tricking the user into downloading what appears to be a harmless file or opening an innocent email attachment are two of the most common ploys.
Cyber Security Threat: Phishing
Cybercriminals send malicious emails that seem to come from legitimate resources. The user is then tricked into clicking the malicious link in the email, leading to malware installation or disclosure of sensitive information like credit card details and login credentials.
Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks
These attacks occur when malicious actors place themselves in the middle of a two-party communication. Once the attacker intercepts the communication, they filter and steal sensitive information and return different responses to the user.
Sometimes malicious actors set up fake wi-fi networks or install malware on users’ computers or networks. Also called eavesdropping attacks, the ultimate goal of MITM attacks is to gain access to your business or customer data.
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
DDoS attacks are aimed to disrupt a computer network by overwhelming the servers and requests. The network gets flooded with superfluous requests from hundreds or thousands of IP addresses that overload the system and keep the legitimate requests from being fulfilled. It causes the target system, like a website, to crash from an overload of demands.
Cyber Security Threat: Ransomware
As the name suggests, ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a system or data until a ransom is paid. The attack involves data encryption on the target system that renders all the files inaccessible and demands a monetary ransom to give back access to the owner again. These attacks can be low-level nuisances or even have damaging consequences.
A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection is a type of cyber attack that results from inserting malicious code into a server that uses SQL. When infected, the server releases information. Submitting the malicious code can be as simple as entering it into a vulnerable website search box.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
An advanced persistent threat occurs when a malicious actor gains unauthorized access to a system or network and remains undetected for an extended time.
A DNS attack is a cyberattack in which cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS). The attackers leverage the DNS vulnerabilities to divert site visitors to malicious pages (DNS Hijacking) and remove data from compromised systems (DNS Tunneling).
Common sources of Cyber Security Threats
To respond effectively to any cyberattack, it’s important to know and understand threat actors and their tactics, techniques, and procedures. These include:
- Nation-states: Cyber attacks by a nation can disrupt communications, military activities, and everyday life.
- Criminal groups: Criminal groups aim to infiltrate systems or networks for financial gain. These groups use phishing, spam, spyware, and malware to conduct identity theft, online fraud, and system extortion.
- Hackers: Hackers explore various cyber techniques to breach defenses and exploit vulnerabilities in a computer system or network. They are usually motivated by personal gain, revenge, stalking, financial gain, or political activism. Hackers may develop new types of threats for the thrill of challenge or bragging rights in the hacker community.
- Terrorist groups: Terrorists conduct cyberattacks to destroy, infiltrate, or exploit critical infrastructure to threaten national security, compromise military equipment, disrupt the economy, and cause mass casualties.
- Malicious insiders: Insiders may be employees, third-party vendors, contractors, or other business associates who have legitimate access to enterprise assets but misuse that accesses to steal or destroy information for financial or personal gain.
Why is it necessary to protect from Cyber Security Threats?
Cyber security threats are present in every organization and are not always under the direct monitoring and control of the IT security teams. Increasing connectivity (IoT), the rising adoption of cloud technology and services, as well as outsourcing mean larger cyber security threat vectors compared to the past.
Third-party and fourth-party risks are also on the rise, making cyber security risk management, vendor risk management, and third-party risk management all the more crucial for reducing the risk of data breaches by third parties.