Types of Cyber Threats

It is quite a challenge to keep an organization on top of the latest security trends, threat intelligence, and new security-related technologies. Making security a business priority is a must to protect assets from the many kinds of cyber threats that exist today. Common cyber threats include the following:

  • Malware: a program or file designed to damage a user’s computer. Examples include computer viruses, spyware, trojan horses and worms.
  • Ransomware: A subset of malware, in which an attacker locks down a victim’s computer (often through an encryption method), demanding a ransom to decrypt and unlock the victim’s computer.
  • Social Engineering: A form of human interaction that ends with a user being tricked into accessing guarded information through inadvertently breaking security procedures.
  • Phishing: a type of fraud in which fraudulent emails are sent that are designed to appear legitimate and are disguised to appear to come from reputable sources. Positive responses to these fraudulent emails result in stolen personal data, including login credentials and banking information.

Cyber threats are malicious attempts to cause disruptions to a computer system or network by stealing valuable data or accessing unauthorized files. The cyber threat can be understood as an attempt by an attacker to achieve access to restricted system data or files without authorization. It can also be understood as the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) used in the attack, what the attacked managed to steal or what it managed to damage.

How Do Cyber Threats Pose a Danger?

Cyber threats should be taken very seriously. Successful cyber-attacks can lead to exposure of national security secrets, electrical blackouts, and malfunctioning military equipment. They can affect the proper functioning of computer networks or phone lines, freezing systems up and eliminating data availability. Sensitive and important information, such as personal banking data and medical records, could also be stolen or even destroyed by malicious attackers. Life in modern society as we know it can be deeply affected by cyber threats from around the world.

Every organization faces some risk with regard to cybersecurity, and IT can’t always direct contain threats that emerge. Whenever a business leader implements a new digital business venture or project, they are taking on technology-related risks. In the US, the government is tackling the dangers posed by cyber threats, but it may be too slow in reducing the risks that they represent. 74% of the 96 federal agencies assessed by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) were deemed to either a “High Risk” or “At-Risk” for cyber-related attacks. These federal agencies are in dire need of security enhancements and even overhauls.

The US government has had very damaging cyber-attacks in the past. Chinese state intelligence agencies were held to be responsible for the Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM)’s large-scale data breach as well as the raiding of highly-classified US Naval codes.

How Prevalent are Cyber Threats?

Here are some notable statistics that pertain to modern Cyber threats:

  • IoT security-compromising issues or events were reported by 61% of organizations
  • According to 69% of organizations, compliance mandates are the main force for increased spending
  • In preparation for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 88% of organizations spent over $1 million.
  • 92% of all malware is transmitted through email.
  • Industrial control system security issues impacted 54% of organizations.
  • Ransomware attacks cost organizations $5 million on average.
  • Crypto-mining is connected to 90% of cases of remote code execution attacks.
  • Compromised attacks were 77% file-less in 2017.
  • Data breaches are identified by organizations after 191 days on average.
  • A quarter of all organizations have a separate security department.
  • According to 56% of IT decision-makers, their highest security concern is targeted phishing attacks.

How to Prevent Cyber Threats

The best defense for cyber threats for businesses are often simple matters but make all of the difference when they are promptly and correctly deployed. One common defense system is “patching” a system, a fix for an identified digital security flaw in a product, service, platform or system. For instance, an attacker attempts to gain root access to the Windows Server using a coding exploit, and Microsoft responds by creating a patch and sending the patch to everyone who owns Windows Server licenses. The vast majority of companies offering digital services patch the networks and products at least once a month. If all IT departments implemented their security patches promptly, a significant number of cyber-attacks would be unsuccessful.

There are many technologies and security services arriving on the market that can help companies and individuals combat cyber threats, including:

  • Secure browsing and anti-phishing point solutions
  • Systems that foster security team collaborations
  • Tools that simulate continual attack scenarios
  • Security service outsourcing

For individuals, there are a few things that they can do to protect their sensitive data:

  • Create sufficiently complex passwords and change them regularly
  • Double-check emails that ask you sensitive information or request that you open an attached document.
  • Use anti-virus software to automatically protect your system from cyber threats.

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