The most common motives behind cybersecurity threats include corporate espionage, financial gain or the disruption of business. Whatever motivated the attacker, they continue to use their skills to disrupt many facets of the digital world. Apart from crippling financial damage and data breaches, cyberattacks also lead to damage to the reputation of the company, application of regulatory penalties and lawsuits and it can also cause disruption in the continuity of business itself. No business or organization can be completely safe from all cyber threats. More cyber criminals now rely on highly sophisticated technology. This can leave many organizations feeling hopeless when their confidential data along with very critical IT assets become the targets of malicious attacks.
Experts have also identified the rapid increase in the merging technical areas of AI and IoT along with cloud computing to have led to better digital services but also increased the number of cyberattacks as well as an increase in their complexity. A cybersecurity attack is malicious, it is a cybercriminal deliberately attacking you as an individual or organization to gain access that is unauthorized with the motive to disrupt your network, damage it or steal your IT assets, networks, sensitive data or intellectual property.
Types Of Cyber Security Threats
With cybercriminals using more and more sophisticated technology, the complexity of cyberattacks is growing. But most of these are commonly known and understood, and these are as follows:
These are the most common cyber threats. A malware by definition is a software application that can include spyware, ransomware, worms or viruses that get installed in your system when you may accidentally or intentionally click a link or an email to which it is attached. Once it enters the system, the malware has the capability to block your access to critical components of your network or even damage your IT system. It can also be used to gather your confidential and sensitive data.
In this form of cyberthreat, the cybercriminal sends you mail that can deceive you as it seems to be from a legitimate source. This way you may get tricked into clicking on the link in it that will lead to the installation of the malware or sometimes it may disclose your sensitive information to criminals.
3. Spear Phishing
This is a little more complex form of the attack described above. This attack is used by cybercriminals to target their attacks on the privileged users, which could be the individuals who have special access in a network or system such as administrators, or the C-suite executives.
4. Man in the Middle Attack
This is the attack that takes place when a person, the cybercriminal, places themselves in between a path of two-party communication. Once the attacker has placed themselves there and is able to interpret the communication taking place, they can filter it to steal confidential and sensitive information of the two parties involved in that communication channel as well as alter the responses being sent to the users.
5. Denial of Service Attack
The a of such an attack is to flood your system, network or servers with a large amount of traffic. This means that the system is not able to perform at a good capacity, and is not able to take on legitimate requests. If a similar attack is used to infect a large number of devices to in turn use them to launch an attack on a targeted system, it is termed as a Distributed Denial of Service Attack.
6. SQL Injection
This cybersecurity threat happens when a cybercriminal makes an attempt to gain access to a database and then upload some malicious Structured Query Language code and scripts. Once the criminal is successful, they will gain the privileges for viewing, changing or even deleting the data that is stored in that SQL database. Web applications can be the most common victims of this kind of attack.
7. Zero-day Exploit
This cyberthreat takes place when a cybercriminal announces the vulnerability that exists in one of your software or hardware. It lets other cybercriminals take advantage of the vulnerability before you can implement a solution or a patch for it. These types of cyber threats are predicted to increase to a minimum of one every day.
8. Advanced Persistent Threats
In this type of cyberthreat, a cybercriminal is able to gain unauthorized access to your network or system and sit there, undetected for a very long period of time.
This type of cyberthreat involves locking up or encrypting your data and then threatening you that will either leak the information or completely block your access to it unless you pay a ransom.
10. DNS Attack
This cyber threat involves the cybercriminal exploiting the vulnerabilities that exist in the Domain Name System. The attacker is then able to use these vulnerabilities as leverage for diverting the visitors to your site to their malicious page or even extract data from a compromised system.
Sources of Cyber Security Threats
For effective responsiveness to a cyber threat, it is important to know who is issuing the threat as well as understand what tactics, procedures and techniques they have used. Briefed below are a few of the common sources of cyberthreats.
Cyberthreats that are inflicted by a nation can have a detrimental impact. They lead to disruptions in communication or military activities as well as everyday operations.
2. Criminal Groups
The aim of criminal groups is to infiltrate a system or network or their own financial gain. They make use of spyware, spamming techniques along with phishing and malware to conduct acts of theft, digital fraud as well as extortion over the system.
These cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new cyber techniques that they can use for breaching defences or exploiting the vulnerabilities that exist in a system or network. Their motivation is mostly personal gain, getting revenge, financial or stalking. It can also be the reason for political activism. Hackers are also developing new types of threats because the challenge involved is a thrill, and they can also earn them bragging rights in the community of hackers.
4. Terrorist Groups
The aim of cyberthreats issued by terrorists is destruction, exploitation or the infiltration of the infrastructure that is critical to the security of a nation, to be able to compromise the military operations, disrupt the economy or for causing mass casualties.
Instead of financial gain, hacktivists use cyber threats to support a political agenda or cause. Ti targets are mostly industries, individuals or even organizations that are not aligned with their political ideology or agenda.
6. Malicious Insiders
An insider can be an employee, a third-party vendor or a contractor or business associate who has authorized access to the assets of your enterprise but they misuse this access to destroy or steal the data for their personal gain or for financial gain.
7. Corporate Spies
A corporate spy is able to conduct a business of industrial espionage for making a profit or for disruption of the business of their competitors by inflicting a cyberattack on their key IT assets, by theft of trade secrets or by gaining access to their network.
Emerging Cyber Threats in 2021
Coronavirus has presented very big challenges to the IT solution sector and businesses all over the world. With the coming of the pandemic, cyberthreats and breaches have grown in both their numbers as well as complexity. Listed below are some of the cyber threats that are emerging but are predicted to dominate the cybersecurity sector for a long time after 2021.
1. Pandemic Related Attacks
Cybercriminals are going to continue using the coronavirus pandemic and related issues as leverage and themes for their campaigns and cyberthreats. Most cyber threats have been observed to be coincidental with significant events, Covid-19 being one of them or even the announcement of the vaccination. Cybercriminals use these events as ways to disguise their malicious links and trick people into clicking on them.
2. Ransomware Attacks
Cybersecurity Ventures recently found out that one business is becoming the victim of a ransomware attack after every 11 seconds. The cost incurred during this cyber threat due to the ransom along with the cost to repair the damage done can sometimes reach $20 billion.
3. Cloud Breaches
Most companies have begun to migrate to cloud-based services to be able to support remote working conditions and ensure the continuity of business. Cybercriminals have taken notice and followed these trends as well, making cloud-hosted services and data their prime targets more frequently. Security risks that are Cloud-based include cloud misconfiguration, vulnerable cloud apps and incomplete deletion of data. These are predicted to become very common sources of future cyber threats.
4. Mobile Security Threats
In their haste to ensure the continuity of their businesses in the pandemic, many businesses began to offer work-from-home options. Employees were authorized to use devices like their smartphones and tablets which became dangerous as they are not secured or managed by the IT security department of the company. These bring on some very unique cyber vulnerabilities and threats that can put an organization at risk.