The year 2021 had given a new direction to computers and the internet as the pandemic hit. From buying things to attending academic classes, everyone turned on to their computers and smartphones. The usage of the internet for day-to-day live activities and online modes of communications have largely increased, so as the challenge of cybersecurity threats. More and more people are doing their financial transactions online through online banking, payment wallets, peer-to-peer money sharing, and many other ways of internet-based money transfer. Flosum
So, the attackers are also constantly exploring ways to exploit the internet users and companies for their benefits. Every organization and individual need to know the latest cybersecurity threats to keep those on the bay and stay safe. Here, we will discuss the major computer and cybersecurity threats of current times, as explained by the security experts.
Social Engineering / Phishing attacks
Last year, we saw many phishing attacks being reported against all sorts of targets. As per a study conducted and reported by the Small Business Trends, one in every 99 emails individual is getting maybe a phishing attack. With this, you may consider how many phishing emails are sent daily, which is about 269 billion emails if the statistics are accurate. Also, as stated by the Small Business Trends report, about one-third of the phishing emails make it past the default security enterprises follow.
A phishing attack is a certain type of social engineering cyberattack. The attacker will try to send a fraudulent email at first with a text or link to the website to trick the victims and steal some sensitive information. These may be the login credentials, credit card info, password of accounts, one-time passwords for transactions, and so on.
Among various cybersecurity threats of recent times, phishing emails are considered gravest. These can convincingly trick the users into sharing their legitimate credentials and using these to wreak havoc in a business network. As time passes, many attackers are trying out innovative phishing strategies as they are cheaper and easier to initiate. Phishing is a low-risk, volume, and rewarding strategy for cybercriminals.
Here are some effective tips for organizations to counter phishing or similar social engineering attacks:
- Provide training to the employees to recognize and stay away from falling prey to phishing attacks.
- Maintain a policy to only provide the least needed privileges for the users to accomplish their jobs.
- Use anti-phishing tools to detect any falsified emails which contain malicious links or request for sensitive information.
There are plenty of smart connected devices, both at businesses and households, which is increasingly growing lately. The major problem with these is that the smart devices may not have a very strong in-built security, which sets open an opportunity for hackers to target these devices to access the business networks.
As an example discussed by Flosum, a recent malware named Reaper exploited IoT devices’ vulnerabilities to try and gain access to the network and spread. The attackers can enlist millions of such compromised IoT devices to gain access and run large scale attacks. As a result, there may also be distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which will commonly disrupt and take down the business website or internet services.
IoT attack is the cyberattack that tends to leverage the security shortfalls on the internet-connected devices like Wi-Fi enabled appliances, smart gadgets, and so on. They may use these vulnerable connected devices to inject a piece of malware into the network and gain control over the network. These targeted attacks focus on IoT devices as the users usually overlook the need to apply security patches to these devices.
How to safeguard against IoT based attacks?
The vital aspect of preventing IoT-based attacks is to have a thorough inventory of all the IoT devices connected to the network and details of the operating systems they run and hardware specifications. Keeping this device firmware updated is also crucial, which will help block and possible exploits that the manufacturer may have identified and fixed.
Also, while adding any smart devices to your business network, ensure that you properly document them, and see if there are proper firmware updates installed to safeguard the office network against any possible threats through it. Also, consider carefully how each smart device may impact the cost and complexity of executing preventive strategies. Flosum
As of late, we see a decline in ransomware attacks, or at least those which are target individual users. One major reason Ransomware attackers target businesses are that they have more money to pay the ransoms, which is not always the case with individual citizens. Another major reason for the same is that the Bitcoin price (in which the ransom is usually demanded) crashed, and so the crypto-mining attacks are less lucrative now. All these factors now drive the cybercriminals to try out other more lucrative attacking strategies. Flosum
Ransomware involves the attacker’s approach infecting the systems of the victim with a piece of malware code that encrypts all the data. The victim is then given an ultimatum to either pay a ransom or to lose the data forever. In 2020, the stats show that ransomware is less of a grave threat. Each day, businesses tend to risk encryption malware finding their way to their system to destroy the hard-earned data. Flosum
How to counter Ransomware threats?
There are a few strategies to deal with ransomware threats. The first approach is to ensure very solid perimeter security with firewalls, including all malware from being intruded into your systems. The individual workstations should also be implemented with antivirus programs, which will small all the main attachments for encrypted malware codes. Along with all these, maintain proper business continuity and disaster recovery plan with an off-site backup of all important business information, which will help protect your business against any possible loss. Even if the attacker destroys your data, you can easily restore it from the backup. Flosum
With these cybersecurity threats, you should also be aware of and taken precautionary measures against internet-based attacks, asynchronous procedure calls, security gaps, unpatched security vulnerabilities, and all types of bugs.