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Top 10 Cyber Threats Every Organization Should Prepare For

Exploring the top 10 cybersecurity challenges you should protect your organization from.
Cover Image Source: Computer hacker silhouette | Getty Images | Photo by Bill Hilton
Cover Image Source: Computer hacker silhouette | Getty Images | Photo by Bill Hilton

Top 10 Cyber Threats to Safeguard Your Organization From

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Image Source: Photo by Pixabay | Pexels

In the complex world of cybersecurity threats, a comprehensive understanding of various attack vectors is crucial for organizations aiming to fortify their defenses. From insider threats that exploit internal access and malware wreaking havoc on computer systems to code injection techniques and supply chain vulnerabilities, there are a lot of threats. This guide explores each threat, emphasizing the need for solid security measures to safeguard against cyber attacks and mitigate their potential impact on organizations.

1. Insider Threats

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Image Source: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko  | Pexels 

Insider threats, often overlooked in cybersecurity, involve internal actors, such as employees, who pose risks due to their direct access to company networks, sensitive data, and intellectual property. These individuals, whether malicious or negligent, can exploit their knowledge of business processes and company policies for various reasons, including financial gain or unintentional security lapses. Mitigating insider threats requires not only identifying malicious intent but also implementing cybersecurity training programs. By creating awareness and vigilance among stakeholders, organizations can strengthen their defenses against potential insider-driven cyberattacks.

2. Malware

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Image Source: Photo by Sora Shimazaki | Pexels

Malware is a prevalent cyber attack targeting computers, networks, and servers. It includes ransomware that exploits victims through encrypted data and extortion, and file-less malware that uses native system tools for covert cyber assaults. Spyware collects user data, while adware, a subset of spyware, impacts device performance through targeted ad delivery. Furthermore, trojans come as legitimate software, often infiltrating systems via phishing. Moreover, exploits opportunistically breach system flaws, and scareware induces fake antivirus installations, whereas botnets execute orchestrated attacks. MALSPAM, on the other hand, delivers malware via email payloads.

3. Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks

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Image Source: Photo by Cottonbro Studio | Pexels

A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack is a targeted assault that inundates a network with back-to-back requests, aiming to disrupt regular business operations. This malicious act renders users incapable of performing tasks like accessing email, websites, or online accounts linked to a compromised computer or network. Although DoS attacks generally don't involve data loss and are often resolved without ransom payments, they impose significant costs on organizations, requiring time and resources for the restoration of critical business functions. The distinction between DoS and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) lies in the attack's origin, with DoS stemming from a single system and DDoS leveraging multiple systems.

4. Phishing

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:
Image Source: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko | Pexels

Phishing is a cyberattack method employing various channels like email, SMS, phone, and social media coupled with social engineering tactics. Aimed at luring victims into divulging sensitive information or downloading malicious files, the attack leads to the installation of viruses on their devices. Common phishing types include spear phishing, which targets specific individuals or organizations through deceptive emails to steal sensitive data or deploy malware. At the same time, whaling focuses on high-ranking executives, aiming to extract money and information or gain access to subsequent cyberattacks. Sending fraudulent text messages to trick individuals into sharing sensitive data is known as smishing, whereas employing voice calls and messages to impersonate reputable entities to coerce individuals into disclosing private information is called vishing.

5. Spoofing

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Spoofing is a deceptive technique employed by cybercriminals to masquerade as a trusted entity, enabling them to interact with targets and compromise systems or devices for purposes like stealing information, extorting money, or installing malware. Various forms of spoofing include domain spoofing, where attackers impersonate known entities using fake websites or email domains, and email spoofing, a cyberattack on businesses using emails with forged sender addresses. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) spoofing, or ARP poisoning is another variant that involves hackers intercepting data by tricking devices into redirecting messages to the attacker instead of the intended recipient, granting unauthorized access to sensitive communications.

6. Identity-Based Attacks

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Image Source: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko | Pexels

Identity-based attacks pose a severe threat, constituting 80% of breaches and often taking up to 250 days to detect. These attacks are difficult to identify as compromised credentials allow attackers to mimic legitimate users. Common identity-based attacks include Kerberoasting, which is used to crack service account passwords in Microsoft Active Directory, Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks, which involve eavesdropping on conversations for data theft, Pass-the-Hash attacks, utilizing stolen hashed credentials for network access, and credential harvesting mass gathers login details for unauthorized system access or dark web sale. 

7. Code Injection Attacks

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Image Source: Photo by Kevin Ku | Pexels

Code injection attacks involve injecting malicious code into vulnerable systems to manipulate their behavior. SQL injection is a type of code injection attack that exploits system weaknesses, injecting malevolent SQL statements into data-driven applications to extract or manipulate database information. Whereas, cross-site scripting (XSS) inserts malicious code into legitimate websites, executing infected scripts in users' browsers to steal data or impersonate them. Furthermore, to infiltrate display ads with malicious code, Malvertising is used. It often originates from compromised third-party servers and infects users' computers when the corrupted ad is clicked. 

8. Supply Chain Attacks

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:
Image Source: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko | Pexels

A supply chain attack is a cybersecurity threat that focuses on exploiting vulnerabilities in trusted third-party vendors essential to the supply chain. In software supply chain attacks, malicious code is injected into applications, affecting all users of the compromised software. Conversely, hardware supply chain attacks target physical components to achieve similar objectives. The susceptibility of software supply chains arises from their reliance on various pre-built elements, including third-party APIs, open-source code, and proprietary software.

9. DNS Tunneling

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:
Image Source: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko  | Pexels

DNS tunneling, a growing cyber threat, exploits the domain name system (DNS) to facilitate covert data transmission within a network, evading conventional security measures. Infiltrating through DNS queries and responses, hackers establish a tunnel enabling command-and-control operations. This channel permits the deployment of malware and extraction of sensitive information, cleverly encoding data within DNS responses. The simplicity of DNS tunneling contributes to its rising prevalence, with toolkits and guides easily accessible on mainstream platforms like YouTube. 

10. IoT-Based Attacks

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An IoT attack denotes a cyber assault targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices or networks, enabling hackers to seize control, pilfer data, or assimilate compromised devices into a botnet for launching DoS or DDoS attacks. The Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab reveals that connected devices contribute to nearly one-third of mobile network infections, doubling the figure from 2019. With the rapid expansion of connected devices projected in the coming years and the advent of 5G networks poised to accelerate the IoT landscape, cybersecurity experts anticipate a corresponding surge in IoT infections.