Privacy / Security

8 common cybersecurity threats you must not overlook

Cybersecurity is not just a popular dub used for security while being online. It is a growing concern for individuals as well as for businesses especially when it comes to data safety and organizational reputation.

The threats associated with cybersecurity are going intense because of the simultaneous technological development and the prowess it has provided to the hackers. There are many recent data breach incidents, which had extraordinarily affected the online data. For instance, a massive amount of data had been compromised in attacks such as the WannaCry attack, Mirai Botnet, Equifax data breach and many others.

Therefore, it is necessary for individuals and businesses to identify and protect against the most threatening cyber attacks.

Common Cybersecurity Threats

1. Phishing

Phishing is a conventional technique for exploiting online vulnerabilities. There are many phishing techniques through which a malicious entity could fool Internet users. It occurs when a hacker masks identity to pose as a legitimate entity and to trick a user into opening an email, instant message, or text message. All the phishing channels contain a malicious link, which can inject malware if you click on it.

Phishing attacks could have immensely destroying consequences as an individual could end up, in losing financial details, unauthorized purchases, and identity theft. Whereas, websites lose user trust and customer data if the attacker uses their site as a fraud tool.

How to prevent Phishing?

The significant ways through which you can prevent phishing are, avoid opening any odd email, check the header which might be spoofed, and make sure that you confirm from a friend or relative if you see any link from them.

However, the websites could mitigate risk by securing their URL through adding SSL certificate which will establish a secure HTTPS connection.

What could you do if you have been a victim?

The foremost thing is to change all of your passwords and if you think your financial credentials are compromised then contact your bank.  However, the immediate steps you should take after falling victim of phishing attack is;

  • Disconnect your devices from the internet as soon as you recognize that you have clicked a malicious
  • Backup all your important data on external storage devices which are unconnected to the infected device or network.
  • To detect any malware, scan your system via anti-virus software.

2. Ransomware

There are various kinds of ransomware such as encrypting ransomware, screen-locking ransomware or any other, which pretends to be ransomware.

As implied by the name, this cyberattack solely intends to gain monetary benefit through demanding huge ransom amount from the victim to unlock the hard drive or decrypt the personal files on victim’s computer.

How to prevent ransomware?

Ransomware could get access to your device through the fraudulent email and from a compromised website. Therefore, it is necessary to be cautious before you open an email from an unknown source or if you see unwelcomed/shady attachments in any received email. Also, you need to keep a backup of your important data to avoid losing vital information in a cyberattack.

What should you do if you have been a victim?

Before going to any step, you must evaluate the kind of ransomware attack you have been a victim of. For encrypting ransomware;

  • The first thing is to disconnect the internet from your device so that the malware doesn’t spread to other connected devices.
  • Take the picture or screenshot (if possible) of the ransomware notice so that you can file a report later.
  • Use antivirus to clean the ransomware from your device but if you have decided not to pay the ransom. Once you clean your device, the chances of getting back your compromised files are almost dead. However, this step helps to minimize the chances that the ransomware will encrypt some other files or thwart the recovery process.
  • In some cases, you can recover your files through decryptor tools, which are from cybersecurity firms.

3. Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is relatively a new cyber attack technique, which secretly uses the computer device to mine cryptocurrency.

For the browser, it doesn’t even need a program to be installed, and the victim is mostly unaware of it. Cryptojacking usually happens when you access any website through JavaScript exploit. However, the public Wi-Fi network or phishing attack could be a reason for cryptojacking.

How to Prevent Cryptojacking?

As mentioned above, a phishing attack could execute cryptojacking so here also a vital recommendation is to avoid clicking shady emails with unsolicited attachment. You should also have an ad-blocker on your browser because many cryptojacking scripts run through advertising networks. You should also have authentic antivirus software.

Last but not least, try to visit sites with HTTPS URL.

What should you do if you have been a victim?

Fortunately, cryptojacking doesn’t have any effect on your data; it just wastes CPU time and causes lagging performace. Therefore, after a cryptojacking attack, antivirus software could remove any strains of malevolent things inside the browser.

4. Spear Phishing

The phishing attack is already discussed above. However, spear phishing is a bit different from it. It targets an organization or business through email-spoofing to gain illegitimate access. The spear phishing attack is not commonly executed by a random hacker. Instead, it is planned by perpetrators for financial gain, trade secrets or military information.

A hacker is carrying out spear phishing, send thousands of fraudulent emails so that a higher percentage of individuals fall victim to it.

How to Prevent spear phishing?

The best practice to avoid spear phishing is to stay away from suspicious email messages from unknown sources or with an unsolicited attachment.

What should you do if you have been a victim?

The immediate recovery steps after spear phishing attack are same as the phishing attack. However, from an organizational perspective, it is also necessary to educate your users.

5. Man-in-the-middle attack (MITM)

Man-in-the-middle attacks are a bit difficult to figure out. As implied by its name, MITM attacks are carried out by intervening in between website and its user. In man in the middle attacks, the information sent by a user is not reaching the website, and similarly, any command sent by the website is not received to the party on the other side.

In MITM attacks, a user remains comfortable thinking that the information entered is going to a legitimate entity. These attacks are caused by a malicious interruption in your network, which could be malware in your system for a long period.

How to Prevent MITM?

Phishing can insert malware into your system, and that’s why avoiding phishing attempts could minimize the risk of MITM too. Besides, having antivirus software could also detect malware in your system.

What should you do if you have been a victim?

MITM attacks are not specific, and that’s why there isn’t any particular recovery step. However, if you detect any uncertain thing while browsing any website, it’s better to avoid using it.

6. Mobile Malware

Mobile phones are the most sensitive devices in the present era. For most of the individuals, they carry a considerable amount of sensitive information including social account credentials, photos, personal contacts, etc. you must have noticed that there are numerous pop-up ads even when you are not browsing the internet on your phones. Such ads are mostly due to the applications you install.

The third-party ads are usually to target users for a product, but hackers to inject malware could easily use them. Also, a malicious entity could themselves design adware to target individuals for accessing personal details.

How to Prevent mobile malware?

The best way to avoid mobile malware is to download applications from official sources such as the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. You should also have an ad-blocker and antivirus software in your smartphones. The most important thing is to keep a backup of important data of your mobile phone in any other device or external storage.

What should you do if you have been a victim?

Phones are the easiest devices when it comes to cleaning up malware. You can always restore your mobile phone to the factory setting but only when you have a data back up anywhere else. After wiping out your device, it’s recommended to download all the apps from official source and to keep an eye on every application.

7. Malevolent ads/Malvertisement

Adware or malware injected ads is the cyber attack technique which an attacker could use to execute a range of cyberattacks including the ones discussed here.

Poorly-coded ads are not malware on their own, but they could have a negative impact on your CPU performance. Also, these ads could be used by hackers to inject malware, which is often known as ‘malvertising.’

Malvertising is a technique in which attacker use the channel of display ads to spread malware. There are many official and big website which has fallen victim of such malvertisements. Therefore, for users, it is difficult to detect these malware ads, and a single click on these ads could affect their privacy.

How to Prevent malicious ads?

As this technique is specific to display ads, you can avoid it by restricting ads completely through ad-blockers.

8. IoT Attacks

Internet of things is the most increasing trend when it comes to technological advancement. The Internet presence on every device is creating extraordinary ease for individuals. However, it has also developed many access points for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities.

From household machinery to wearables, the Internet connectedness has provided hackers with access to a broader range of data. Also, if one device is compromised, it can open doors to many others.

How to Prevent IoT attack?

If it is possible, update Linux Kernel on all of your IoT devices such as DVRs and routers. However, the most important thing is to keep a strong and unique password for all your IoT devices and also not to keep the same password for an extended period. Some of the IoT devices store the recordings and other data until you manually delete them.

Also, it is necessary to monitor every device’s settings so that you can eliminate the chances of casual listening.

What should you do if you have been a victim?

If any of your IoT devices is compromised, change its password as soon as possible. Also, consider changing the wake word to any other.

Conclusion

Here you have the major cybersecurity threats to which you could be a victim if you ignore the important precautions. It’s better to keep a backup of your essential data on an external storage device to prevent losing it. However, considering encryption tools like VPN for overall privacy.

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