If you have done even a little bit of reading on the subject of cybersecurity, you have probably been hearing a lot about “threats” and “attacks.” While you probably have a good idea of what those terms mean, it never hurts to get a little more specific information. Although we cannot give you a complete cybersecurity education in one article, we can introduce you to all the most important concepts. Let’s talk about the various cyber threats and attacks, as well as some things you can do to avoid them.
What Are Cyber Security Threats And Attacks
These are broad terms that cover all sorts of hacking and cybercrimes. In fact, threats and attacks can be the same thing. A threat, in cybersecurity terms, is a vulnerability. It represents a place where you could be attacked or a place from which the attack might come. Thus, a threat can easily become an attack. The important thing is to catch the problem and deal with it before it can go from a threat to an actual cyber attack.
Types Of Threats And Attacks
We should start by going over some of the more common methods of attack. Most cybercriminals are after your money (or anything that can be sold for money). However, they have devised all sorts of devious ways to get those things. The sheer number of attack types that might be encountered is constantly increasing, but these are the most common techniques used by such criminals.
Phishing is the act of impersonating a legitimate entity in order to obtain privileged information. One example of this would be a hacker who poses as a bank official in order to trick you into revealing passwords or account numbers. The scary thing about phishing is that it can be applied in all sorts of ways, making it very hard to predict. The most common method of phishing, however, is to use a bogus link embedded in an email or text message. That is why you should never click on links from people you don’t know!
Ransomware has proven to be a particularly troublesome threat, especially in the last few years. It has gotten so bad that numerous government entities are now attempting to crack down on ransomware organizations through counterattacks. For instance, a well-known hacker group called REvil recently disappeared from all their usual dark web haunts. Based on the vague and evasive statements made by both U.S. and Russian officials, it seems likely that this group was deliberately and quietly removed.
In any case, ransomware works by using encryption as a weapon. They infect you with malware (usually through some kind of phishing) and then lock your entire computer with very strong encryption. In order to regain access, the victim is forced to pay a large ransom. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that these criminals will honor the agreement.
DDOS attacks are normally used to take down a particular site. This is done by flooding the site with connection requests, overloading their servers, and causing a shutdown. It’s kind of like what happens when you try to make your computer do too many things at once. After a certain point, the system can no longer cope and shuts itself down. These attacks are normally used for attacks that are more personal in nature, as there is no definite payoff for the attacker. “hacktivist” groups are particularly fond of this tactic, as it is a relatively easy way to harass their perceived enemies and cost them a lot of money in lost business.
This one is a little more complicated, so it’s not as well-understood as the others. SQL is a computer language (what most people call “code”). It is generally used by various applications to manage structured databases. Any application which is capable of accessing the internet can potentially be hijacked in this way. By exploiting known vulnerabilities in the application’s code, attackers can often “inject” custom commands which will direct the program to do the hacker’s bidding. This might include dumping the entire database to an external site, the installation of malware, or any number of other manipulations.
Keyloggers are simple programs that log every keystroke from a certain source. So, if you own a website, you can embed one of these keyloggers therein. After that, you will have a record of all the data that has been entered on that page. These kinds of things are often used in conjunction with phishing attacks and malicious links. The attacker simply tricks the user into entering sensitive information on a certain page, and it is then captured. When navigating any website, you should always assume that your keystrokes are being monitored.
Understanding The Attackers
It’s also a good idea to understand a little bit about the kind of people who carry out cyber attacks. Of course, we already know that they are criminals, but that isn’t specific enough. Most hackers and hacker groups will fall into one of these categories:
- Organized criminal gangs
- Terrorist organizations
- “Lone wolf” scam artists
- Hacktivist groups
- Corporate spies
- Government-level espionage groups
All of these groups are after one of two things: Profit or satisfaction. Criminal gangs are generally just after some money while hacktivists, terrorists, and corporate spies will be more interested in damaging you or your organization. You must decide which of these threats is the most likely for you.
We hope that you will continue to educate yourself about this topic because education is the only real remedy. Hackers and other criminals get away with this stuff because the average person doesn’t understand what they are doing. PCH Technologies can help you to stay safe in a lot of different ways, from network security monitoring software to ransomware recovery services and all kinds of other things. If you would like to know more, you can call us at (856) 754-7500.