How To Identify And Thwart Cyber Threats Before They Happen

When it comes to cyberattacks, security experts say it’s not a matter of who but when. Cyber threats target all entities, regardless of whether they’re small businesses or large corporations. Hence, organizations must identify and stop risks before they can do any damage.

According to a study done by the University of Maryland’s Clark School, cyberattacks happen every 39 seconds on average, with unsecured usernames and passwords being the most common entry point. Additionally, thousands of individuals fall victim to identity theft regularly, with hackers successfully wiping out bank accounts and engaging in anomalous credit card transactions.

There are certain things you can do to prevent cyberattacks, such as working with managed security services or implementing strict data security policies in the workplace. However, different types of cyber threats may require specific methods of prevention. If you’d like to better protect yourself and your business information from getting hacked by online criminals, it would help to familiarize yourself with these threats.

What Is A Cyber Threat?

A cyber threat refers to any attack meant to inflict damage on your systems and network. Once in effect, these cyberattacks can compromise personal as well as business data. These lead to data breaches, and cyber hackers make money out of it by gaining access to your financial platforms or selling your information for a fee.

Organizations worldwide have acknowledged the importance of strong cybersecurity protection to secure business data. According to estimates from international cyber economy research firm Cybersecurity Ventures, cybersecurity spending may reach up to USD$1.75 trillion from 2021 to 2025.   

Types Of Cyber Threats And How To Prevent Them

There are several types of cyber threats that individuals and organizations must be aware of. Below are the most common types. 

  • Internet Of Things (IoT) Attacks

An IoT attack happens when hackers steal data by exploiting exchanges in the Internet connection. Often, you’ll find out about the attack only after something has happened. 

How to prevent them: Data breaches happen because of user and technological weaknesses. If you’re operating a small business with minimal resources, protect your organization by seeking the help of third-party IT specialists near you. For instance, in Maryland, you can hire managed IT services in Baltimore and similar IT firms.

Basic cybersecurity measures, such as patching and updating software, end-to-end encryption, firewall protection, multifactor authentication, and employee cybersecurity training, can all help as well. 

  • Malware

Short for malicious software, this online threat includes several Trojans, worms, viruses, spyware, ransomware, and adware. All kinds of malware look like legitimate files or executable programs, so you are more likely to open it and thus end up exposing your system to the threat. Trojan virus, for instance, causes poor and erratic performance in your device.

How to prevent them: A robust firewall and updated antivirus software can help keep them at bay. Organizations can have their IT infrastructure and resources assessed by professionals to ensure that there are no security risks. Additionally, businesses must train their staff on how to spot and prevent these malicious programs. Users must avoid downloading or installing programs from untrusted sources.

  • Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) Attack

This threat occurs when a cybercriminal gets users’ credentials by spying on or intercepting communication exchanges. 

How to prevent them: In some cases, multifactor authentication (MFA) can thwart this attack. Although not a guarantee, hackers will have a more challenging time infiltrating the system even if they’re able to steal your credentials. Availing of managed security services can also help your company have more robust protection against these types of cyber threats.

  • Phishing

Phishing often happens via email, and these attempts look like legitimate links. As such, they get clicked on inadvertently by unsuspecting users. When this happens, hackers can immediately steal information. 

How to prevent them:  Remind your staff to check links before clicking on them and to review if the email address it’s from is legitimate. Additionally, ask your team not to give out personal information, such as passwords and usernames.

  • Denial Of Service Attack Or Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) 

A DDoS attack happens when several compromised computer systems attack a target, which can be a server, a website, or a network. When this happens, you won’t be able to use your devices. 

How to prevent them: A strong firewall is crucial in preventing this type of cyber threat. Once you think something is off, check the traffic’s source address to avoid spoofing, and turn off the broadcast forwarding to disrupt attacks.  

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) Injection Attacks

This occurs when hackers can successfully create, modify, or delete the data stored in the database, and read and extract business data. 

How to prevent them: Multiple cybersecurity firms and open-source developers integrate automatic SQL injection tools to identify potential vulnerabilities. However, this tool may not be enough, so extra measures must be taken. These include adopting the latest web technologies, regular virus scanning, and regular training of the staff, especially the in-house IT team. 

The Bottom Line 

The different types of cyber threats mentioned earlier can result in costly security breaches. Often, victims will only be able to discover the attack after it has happened, so being proactive and taking preventive measures is the best approach.