Cybersecurity incidents are on the rise as small to medium-sized businesses increasingly find themselves in the sights of criminal threat actors. Network-based ransomware worms now allow cybercriminal organizations to launch advanced attacks without any human intervention.
Cyber crimes continue to escalate because the potential gains are high, and attackers are getting more sophisticated and efficient in their efforts to penetrate secure business networks. A cyber attack can occur for any number of reasons. However, their motives are almost always financial as they seek to exploit any organization evidencing less than secure cybersecurity protocols.
Your cyber protection plan impacts every aspect of your organization, and your employees, vendor customers, and customers depend on it being effective to do their work. As cyberattacks on small businesses become more automated and advanced, threat actors have less difficulty invading complex corporate networks many unwitting business owners falsely assume are reliably protected. In reality, most companies today require an array of cybersecurity solutions to mitigate their risk.
What is a cybersecurity attack?
The moment a criminal hacker successfully gains unauthorized to your IT systems is when you’ve become a victim of a cyberattack. Bad actors wage assaults on your digital environment to commit theft or extortion, and they can seek to disrupt your operations for any number of nefarious reasons.
Many cybersecurity incidents are attributable to insider threats. Events like this occur because of either user negligence or deliberate malice. However, apart from internal threats, there are several types of emergent threats to be aware of. Below, we discuss a few of them while suggesting a few best practices for preventing and mitigating cyberattacks.
Phishing attacks, and variations of them like spearphishing, are among the most common types of cyberattacks. These threat types usually entail a mass of fraudulent emails designed to illicit unauthorized information from users, but the attacks are often targeted at individual users.
At first glance, the emails present as legitimate business communications, disguising themselves so that the target of the attack opens a link to a malicious file or script that starts the attack.
This allows the victimizer to gain access and take control of your device, gathering more confidential information to escalate the attack. It’s during this stage that criminal hackers will be extracting sensitive customer data and user information they can exploit for financial gain. Phishing attacks frequently originate on social networking sites and other online communities where you maintain an active business footprint.
Here are the three most common types of phishing attacks:
- Spearphishing – targeted phishing attacks
- Whaling – attacks focused on business executives and stakeholder
- Pharming – steals user credentials using DNS cache posing
Malware deploys a multifaceted attack that includes attaching spyware, viruses, and worms to your systems. Malware foremost tries to exploit your existing system vulnerabilities to instigate a network data breach. This threat is related to phishing in the sense it often depends on a user to click on a dangerous link or email attack before the malware can be installed.
Once the malware finds its way into your systems, the program can deny access to the essential components of your network. Hacks use malware to obtain sensitive information from infected computer hard drives and can render your systems inoperable. Disruptions like this, of course, almost always result in productivity loss and expensive downtown.
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks
These types of threats rely on an intermediary to intercept and divert an otherwise secure two-party transaction. Cyber attackers use this method to manipulate user data to divert company resources and funds by interrupting authorized traffic. The attacks originate in your existing network and system vulnerabilities.
Malicious hackers often use unsecured WiFi to place themselves between the user’s device and the wireless public network. MIM attacks are among the most difficult to detect. Most of the time, during the intervention, the victim thinks the transaction is legitimate until they find out the funds never reached the intended recipient. Many MitM attacks start with phishing and malware attacks.
Server language query (SLQ ) injections occur after a threat actor inserts malicious code into your server by using SLQ. This prompts your server to release the secure information that criminals aim to exploit.
Attacks typically start with unprotected website comment sections or search boxes where bad actors insert malicious code to compromise your server. Companies can avoid SLQ injection by maintaining secure coding practices, for instance, using prepared statements that deploy parameterized search queries.
Password attacks are among the widespread threats because they represent the gateway for unauthorized entry into your systems. By accessing just one of your employees’ passwords mass of confidential information and critical network data. Once the hacker has enough information, they can easily take control of your critical systems and create a massively expensive operational disruption.
Password hackers use social engineering after identifying key individuals in your companies from publicly available information sources. If the attacker can find unauthorized access to a secure password database, it’s then possible to start testing your network connections to gather more unencrypted password information.
In other typical scenarios, criminal hackers simply try guessing the password in what’s called a dictionary attack. In this case, the bad actor will start with a list of frequently used passwords to access the victim’s network and device. Sound digital hygiene requires the use of account lockout practices and two-factor authentication. Following these best practices will provide the security levels you need to minimize the risk of a costly cyber incident.
Preventing and mitigating cyberattacks
While the scope and complexity of a cyberattack can vary, the general aims are always the same. Threat actors are intent on causing damage to businesses before exploiting them for financial gain.
For on how to improve your security posture, request your free discovery call online now, or give us a call at (856) 754-7500. We’ll further explain how to get started with comprehensive cyber risk assessment with PCH Technologies. From there, our cybersecurity team will help you isolate your existing vulnerabilities and help you develop a strategy for preventing future cyberattacks.