Common Cyber Attacks Explained

ICYMI, today in social media we polled our audience on what common cyber attacks they are most concerned about.  While most of our followers are familiar with these terms, we thought it could be helpful to review these common attacks in simple, easy to understand language.

Insider Threat
The Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center advises that “insider threats, to include sabotage, theft, espionage, fraud, and competitive advantage are often carried out through abusing access rights, theft of materials, and mishandling physical devices.”

It’s important for organizations to note that not all insider incidents occur from an intent to do harm and most employees don’t join organizations with the intent to harm in mind.  Rather, insider incidents can occur because of simple user error which leave access open to threat actors unknowingly or over time an employee may become disgruntled or motivated to cause harm.  It is key to know that static and traditional security techniques focused on external threat actors are ineffective against insider threats.

Web Application Attacks
Web application attacks may not make the front-page news as often, but they still reign as an easy way to gain access to sensitive data, especially for companies in the e-commerce space.  This is because the vulnerability is often left open by human error or negligence and e-commerce organizations heavily rely on multiple web applications to run their business. It’s important to validate form inputs, configure web servers properly, and test for application design flaws, as well as to review and install patches when appropriate.

Malware
A ubiquitous term used to cover any form of malicious software that exploits or harms a company’s hardware, networks, or systems, malware covers a lot of ground and is perhaps the most recognizable threat vector.  The various ways that malware can be deployed require that a company protect itself on multiple fronts.  From protecting your devices with endpoint protection, to being diligent about the source for downloads and software, an individual needs to be aware of the signs of infection.  Perhaps the most popular form of malware in today’s news cycles is ransomware which is when a company or individual’s data is compromised, encrypted, and held hostage in exchange for payment, typically in bitcoin.

Phishing
As we say at CyberClan, the most important firewall is the human one and this is where 90% of all cyber breaches happen.  Phishing scams are rampant and unfortunately with the advance of artificial intelligence, the threat actors have become even more proficient in using social engineering to hook users on the first try.  Security awareness training and education continues to be the best way to make employees aware of the tactics and to build confidence in detecting fraudulent emails.

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