What are the Most Common Cybersecurity Threats Businesses Face Today?
More than one-fifth of Canadian businesses were affected by cybersecurity incidents in 2019, and many saw a spike in attacks in 2020.
Cyber attacks can take many forms and affect companies in different ways: some organizations may be better equipped to handle disasters than others. But cybersecurity incidents can leave even the best-prepared businesses facing high costs, loss of client trust, and reputational damage.
That’s why companies should implement effective cybersecurity strategies to reduce their risk of attacks and the resulting fallout. And understanding the most common threats is vital to stay safe.
In this post, we’ll look at 7 of the biggest cybersecurity dangers facing businesses.
Research shows that the average cost of downtime caused by ransomware is around $274,200, and that ransomware demands rose by more than 80% around the world in 2020.
So, what is it?
Ransomware is a particularly malicious form of attack designed to cause immense disruption and force victims into paying the culprit(s) a fee. It either locks a system to deny access, or encrypts some or all of the files on a computer. Businesses may be unable to perform essential processes, and experience a significant drop in productivity.
Attackers tend to demand fees in cryptocurrencies to help cover their trail, and may remove their malware from a victim’s system upon receipt of the payment. However, there’s no guarantee that they’ll honor their word — organizations could pay a large sum of money and still be denied access to their files.
Phishing attacks involve fraudulent communications that appear to originate from a legitimate source, such as a bank or well-known corporation. This type of cybersecurity incident usually occurs via email: victims receive a message in their inbox purportedly from an organization they may or may not have done business with previously.
The aim of phishing attacks is to gather sensitive information from targets, such as credit card details or bank account logins. Alternatively, attackers can install malware on the recipient’s system instead.
Cybercriminals use information provided to steal money or identities, and cause serious financial harm to companies.
DDos (Distributed-denial-of-service) attacks are one of the more complex types of cybersecurity threats. They can disrupt network performance or cause severe service outages that bring organizations’ operations to a halt.
Attackers launch DDoS attacks to flood the target’s servers, networks, or systems with excessive traffic. This exhausts bandwidth and puts unusual strain on resources, pushing them beyond their capabilities.
Systems become unable to complete requests, and companies may be unable to provide the services customers expect. This can be a huge challenge for organizations that provide online-only products or solutions.
The people responsible for a DDoS attack may demand payment in exchange for ending it. Or they could do it purely to disrupt a company’s operations and cause reputational damage, whether they bear a grudge against it or not.
Cybercriminals use man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept the target’s communications and access sensitive information they can use for their own gain.
For example, an attacker may send an email designed to look like it came from a trustworthy bank. It invites the recipient to log in to their account to verify their identity. But when the user clicks on a link within the email, they’re directed to a copy of the legitimate website instead.
This enables the attacker to capture the target’s information, and the victim may not even realize they have been scammed until it’s too late.
Another type of man-in-the-middle attack involves targeting a victim’s router. The perpetrators leverage sophisticated tools to intercept and capture data as it’s transmitted.
The Domain Name System (DNS) protocol plays a critical role in enabling users to browse websites, essentially working like a phone book. Companies let DNS traffic through firewalls — and attackers can take advantage of this vulnerability with DNS tunnelling.
This type of attack allows cybercriminals to gather sensitive data through outbound traffic. They use malicious servers disguised as legitimate DNS servers, so targets may be completely unaware that they’re providing attackers with access to their information.
Structured Query Language (SQL) lets users access and make changes to databases, whether retrieving data, inserting records, setting permissions, or any number of other actions.
SQL injection attacks revolve around altered SQL statements within web applications, instigated by malicious data from the attacker. They can launch an SQL injection by entering a piece of code into a search box on a site.
The attacker can manipulate data, gather financial information, remove critical data, and enjoy comprehensive administrative power over the database server.
Spyware is a form of malware that monitors the target’s actions (both on their computer and the Internet) to capture sensitive data. Criminals can use spyware to steal identification details for fraudulent activities.
Various types of spyware exist. Here are two of the most common:
● Adware: This enters your computer without your permission and presents persistent ads that can interfere with your activities and supplies attackers with information on your online behavior
● Browser hijacking: This type of attack involves software that adjusts your browser’s settings without authorization, and may switch home pages and search engines for alternatives; attackers may use browser hijacking to gather your access details on crucial websites
Spyware can remain undetected for a long time, giving cybercriminals ample opportunity to steal data and gain valuable insight into your activities.
Protect your business against cybersecurity threats
These 7 common cybersecurity threats can affect your operations in specific (and potentially severe) ways. They may make your systems unusable and prevent your employees from performing essential tasks. And they could give attackers access to financial information that allows them to steal money.
But you can implement an effective cybersecurity setup to help defend your company against these and other threats. NETWORTH’s team of IT specialists is here to provide you with 24/7 protection for greater peace of mind.