The Most Common Types of Cyber Threats

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October is officially cybersecurity awareness month. Cyber threats are nothing to shrug off; cybercrime damage costs are projected to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021. And with so many different cyber threats out there, it’s hard for anyone to keep up and stay informed on them all.

That’s exactly why we’ve compiled this helpful list that will assist you in identifying a few of the most common types of cybersecurity threats.

DDoS Attacks

DDoS stands for distributed denial-of-service. They’re often used to prevent individuals and organizations alike from being able to access their systems. They rapidly overwhelm online services by flooding them with traffic, all from multiple sources – so they become extremely difficult to block.

Usually, the criminals behind them assemble networks of infected computers to carry out the deed. Criminals spread malicious software to as many computers as possible to create their army of infected machines, known as a botnet. The botnet acts as a single entity, wreaking havoc wherever it goes.

Defending against a DDoS attack is very tricky. It requires proper infrastructure in place ahead of time to mitigate incoming attacks. The key weapon in a DDoS defense arsenal is a migration appliance, which splits incoming traffic apart into more manageable amounts.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a malicious software that does what just about every other computer virus does – infect your systems. But unlike other viruses, ransomware is deliberate and methodical with its infection. It systematically locks each file on your computer. It keeps on encrypting and locking every single file it comes across, including ones that you have access to through your network.

Once the criminal locks your files, they begin bombarding your computer with messages that ask you to pay up. The amount of money that you have to pay varies on a case-by-case basis, but it can range from minor nuisance to total devastation. The worst part of it all? Once you pay, there is no guarantee at all that you’ll get your files back.

While a ransomware attack is hard to protect against, it’s certainly not impossible. A combination of end-user training, encrypted offsite backups, and antivirus countermeasures can make a big difference in your cyber threat defenses.

Phishing

Phishing is when a criminal attempts to coax sensitive information out of a victim. They accomplish their mission using several different methods. One of the more popular methods includes the use of email. The criminal will email an individual, pretending to be an official source (such as a bank, hospital, or in-house executive) demanding information. Once they have what they need, they completely cut communication with the victim.

Phishing can also be conducted through malicious links. In its essence, it’s the act of trying to get someone to divulge information without brute force. However, that’s not to say that it’s a low effort scam – some phishing criminal even goes so far as to build entire websites, just to trick people into filling out forms. If you think that’s hard to fall for, you may be surprised to know that Equifax fell for it after their systems were breached.

Unlike many of the other cyber threats on the internet, the effectiveness of phishing is largely dependent on the user. The more information they give, the worse the outcome of the attack will be. Proper training and awareness are usually enough to keep most attempts at bay indefinitely.

Keep Yourself Informed

Cyber threats don’t discriminate when they look for victims. The best way to fight back against them is to stay informed about what they do and how to avoid them. In addition to that, you can partner with an organization that knows all about IT security and keeping people safe.

We’ve been helping people secure their data and fight cyber threats since 1997. If you’d like to learn more about how you can better protect your organization by partnering with us, contact us today.

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