Keeping your data safe has become a challenge. Last year alone, the world saw more cybersecurity breaches than it has ever before.
It indicates that hackers are more motivated than ever, and businesses need to have their guard up to protect their websites from a security breach.
Here is a quick rundown of all the major security threats that you should watch out for, and how to protect yourself from them.
Cybersecurity Attacks to Look Out for:
- DDoS Attack
A Distributed Denial-of-Service attack disables the target’s internet services. It is done by spamming the target with requests, to the point that the server cannot deal with the traffic.
The attack is executed via hijacked computing devices of all sorts, from all across the globe. Therefore, it’s difficult to stop the attack.
According to Kaspersky, 26% of DDoS attacks lead to data loss and costs a business $123,000 on average.
The most effective way to protect your website from a DDoS attack is by outsourcing your DDoS protection to established cloud-based service providers. They have better resources than a private network does. Azure and Cloudflare are some popular options.
Malware is shorthand for malicious software. It is used by hackers to steal data and damage devices.
There are various types. For instance, viruses infect clean files and damage the system. Another example is Trojan horses that act like legitimate software and create backdoors for other malware. Spyware, Adware, and Worms are also some different types of malware.
Malware can destroy all the data in your home computer, and make the damage irreversible. Severe infections may even leave whole corporations digitally crumbled.
Don’t click on random links, even if they land in your primary inbox. Don’t browse sketchy websites. Installing a powerful anti-virus is a good idea too.
It is a type of malicious software that is designed to encrypt (lock) private files until the target pays a sum of money.
There’s a timer. If the time runs out and the money is not paid, the target’s files are permanently deleted.
The WannaCry ransomware crippled hospital systems in the U.S. and infected devices worldwide in 2017. The hackers involved extorted well over $140,000 from those who were infected.
Backing up important files religiously and keeping all devices up to date is an excellent defence mechanism against ransomware. Do not give out personal information to unsolicited emails and callers. It may be a targeting tactic. If you do get infected, do not pay the ransom – there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your files back.
Cryptojacking is a passive cyber-attack. Crypto Mining software is installed on your computer, which mines cryptocurrency for the hacker.
Most cryptojacking doesn’t steal files or damage the system to avoid detection. However, if you notice that your system has been running slower and using more bandwidth than usual, there is a chance that you’ve been cryptojacked.
Since cryptojacking is usually done via Phishing and online ads, it’s a good idea to avoid giving out sensitive details and installing an ad blocker. Anti-viruses, even free ones do a great job of keeping you safe.
- APT Threats
An Advanced Persistent Threat is a network access attack. Its goal is to maintain ongoing access for as long as possible without being detected.
Since a great deal of time and effort goes into an APT attack, hackers tend to target government, financial organizations, and people of interest with highly sensitive intellectual property.
Also, most of these attacks use spear-phishing tactics and social engineering to initiate the hack.
Having a correctly set up firewall, installing anti-virus software, and implementing intrusion prevention systems are great ways of dodging these attacks.
- Outdated Hardware, Software, PHP version, Scripts
Having the latest version of every software and hardware you use is fundamental to keeping yourself safe in cyberspace.
Regardless of what computer you use, just having all the software updated protects you from a ton of threats. It is because updated systems fix bugs on a daily basis.
It is especially true in computer programming of any sort – from scripting languages like Python to something more general-purpose like PHP.
Newer hardware is safer in general. An outdated computer instantly increases your chances of being hacked.
If you have to use old stuff, make sure that there’s no sensitive data on it.
A botnet is a network of computers that are infected with malicious software that enables them to be controlled as a group.
These are used to launch coordinated attacks, usually DDoS attacks, and spam campaigns. All of this happens without the owner’s knowledge.
The symptoms of a botnet are a lot similar to those of malware. They include slower and abrupt computer activity.
Running an antivirus scan is a straightforward way to remove a computer from a botnet and also prevent an infection in the first place. Be careful on what you click and download.
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing is not a cyber-attack in the same way that the others are. A phishing attack uses computer systems – email, telephone, text messaging, and the like, to gain access to your private data like bank account details and passwords.
The principle concept is to pose as a legitimate institution to extort these details.
In 2016 alone, over a million phishing attacks were carried out – a 65% increase over the previous year.
It caused businesses an average of $1.6 million in damages.
Whenever you visit a website – verify the website’s security by looking for the “lock icon” by the URL bar. Don’t reply to suspicious emails, and never give out any personal information.
- Social Engineering Attacks
Social Engineering is a form of a cybersecurity attack that relies on human interaction to gain access to anything the attacker likes – the computer or even the bank account.
It is done over email and phone, sometimes even in person.
Hackers will do stuff like – offering help, pretending to be a friend or a co-worker. These are baits used to get you talking. They want you to think later, act first.
The average cost of a single data breach in 2020 is expected to exceed $150 million!
These attacks are bound to get more and more sophisticated, and it is, therefore, essential to know what to trust. If it sounds too good to be true, or someone’s offering you money out of nowhere – it’s a scam.
- Third-party & Supply Chain attacks
Supply chain attacks explicitly target organizations – big and small.
The attacker uses a third-party software or its elements to breach systems and access data.
This kind of attack is newer than others on this list. Since businesses tend to trust other companies to do their due diligence, it is generally unexpected.
Mishandling of data by third-parties is one of the biggest threats to a customer bases’ security in 2019.
Meanwhile, attackers have more tools and resources at their disposal than ever before.
If you run a website or a business that relies on third-party software, ensure that you read the terms and conditions. Learn about how your customers’ data is going to be handled. Make sure that there are no bottlenecks. Try and avoid using unnecessary third-party software.
Don’t use free software under any circumstance – they don’t care about your data.
- Foam Jacking
Formjacking is also a relatively new form of hacking. It involves stealing your card information as you shop on legitimate websites.
The actual transaction is not affected; however, your details are passed to the hackers.
According to Symantec, there were over 3.7 million attempts to form jack in 2018 alone.
Since this is a very sophisticated tactic, there is no way to tell that the website you’re visiting is infected.
The only way to know if you’ve been compromised is by looking at your monthly statement carefully, and looking out for sudden drops in credit score. You should also consider getting a credit card monitoring service that will alert you if a transaction has occurred.
- IoT (Internet of Things) Attacks
Your routers, Smart TVs, smart speakers, smart fridges, and intelligent lighting make up your very own IoT ecosystem. They are directly or indirectly connected to each other and the web. Hence, they can be attacked.
It is estimated that there will be over 20 Billion smart devices by 2020.
A Russian bank lost 1 million dollars because of a bad router.
Keeping all your smart devices up to date, and tweaking every device to ensure maximum security is a great way to evade an IoT attack.
As we progress further in the Internet of Things, a globally interconnected universe is undeniable. However, the sophistication and size of cyber threats will also rise with this movement.
Some standard practices mentioned below will protect you against all kinds of attacks.
Tips to stay safe against security threats:
- Keep all devices updated.
- Install an antivirus – even a free one is better than nothing.
- Check all suspicious websites for malware using tools like SiteCheck and webInspector.
- Use unique passwords for every website.
- Backup your data.
Staying vigilant, and doing your due diligence every time you log on to the internet will go a long way. Stay safe!