In today’s fast-paced application economy, the pressure to be first-to-market with functionality overtakes solid, secure design. This leads to the inevitable cyber security risk for businesses of all sizes. Protecting your business data from cyber threats starts with having a holistic understanding of the potential threats and then identifying how to defend against such outbreaks. There are several types of attacks:
Phishing AttacksInadvertently clicking on malicious emails with embedded links or attachments typically open up businesses to phishing attacks. Avoid this vulnerability by coaching your employees to be alert for suspicious email addresses, subject lines, and content. Other telltale signs of phishing emails include excessive grammatical and spelling errors, unfamiliar email addresses or domain names, and emails that include information your company typically wouldn’t request.
Network ProbesIn an attempt to gain access to a business computer and its files, a probe will seek out a weak point within the system. This type of threat is not an immediate one, as it has to scan your system for possible entry points. Network monitoring is the best way to combat this attack, as it can record events and report the probe before it can do further damage.
Brute-Force CrackingThis type of threat refers to the trial and error method of decoding encrypted data such as Data Encryption Standard (DES) keys or passwords through application programs. An easy and efficient way to prevent this type of cracking is implementing authentication modes and lockout privacy settings.
Drive-by DownloadThis threat is a program that instantly downloads your device information without your knowledge or consent. By simply clicking a link, your system can start a drive-by download; these are frequently called Trojans. Keeping your software up to date helps prevent this type of attack, as these links are often lying within outdated browsers and plugins.
Distributed Denial of Services [DDoS]Considered one of the most common attacks, DDoS are used to compromise a business’s system by overwhelming it with traffic from various sources. Correctly configured server applications can assist in minimizing the attack when combined with the use of routers and firewalls.
Advanced Persistent Threat Attack [APT]This type of attack is one in which an unauthorized user has ongoing access to a network and hibernates there for an extended period. The goal of an APT attack is to gather information through code rewrites and advanced subterfuge techniques instead of crashing a network system. 24/7 monitoring, event reporting, and intrusion detection are necessary to prevent this threat and should be supplemented with data encryption and network segregation.
RansomwareThis type of threat has been in the news recently as several high-profile companies have been infiltrated. Malicious software causes systems to shut down, and attackers withhold data until a ransom is paid. There were so many cases of ransomware in 2016 that it was coined a “Billion Dollar a Year Crime” by NBC News.
With the growing popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, billions of new devices are being connected to business networks. These IP-based devices add additional vulnerability because they are often unmonitored and severely under protected due to the lack of software updates. According to Skycure’s Mobile Threat Intelligence Report, slow security patching has left mobile users exposed to network attacks, malware, and other vulnerabilities.
Having an IT professional available to manage the risks that may arise from technology advancements is vital to a business. Due to the increasing number of cyber security threats, the need for IT security workers is growing so fast it is creating a talent shortage. The (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) predicts there will be more than 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020. So what is a business to do? Find a managed services provider that can provide not only network security, but also network management, equipment management, and a phone system that doesn’t require you to worry about maintenance or updates.
Now that you have reviewed several types of attacks and risks, you can arm yourself against cyber security threats by creating a data protection plan. This plan should protect your business by removing admin rights for those who don’t need it, making sure your operating system and its applications are up to date, and investing in a service that provides you with the appropriate firewalls. With RCN’s Internet Security, you can secure your company’s data at the network level through cloud-based network security and enable your IT resources to focus more on business-critical projects.