A network threat or cyber threat involves everything that has to do with causing a potential harm to a computer system; which may lead to attacks on networks, systems or platforms.
While there are ways to detect and keep track of it by looking out for suspicious emailing and unsecure web-pages; organisations need to protect themselves by using the correct tools, otherwise threats can become direct attacks which could ultimately lead to inefficient services, and, in severe cases, a system crash.
What are the types of network threats?
Malware, also known as malicious coded software are programs or files that are intentionally designed to harm a computer, server or network.
Once this type of software enters its way into a system, it can steal, encrypted or deleted data without the users’ permission.
Today, there are multiple types of network threats that exist. Among them, you may find:
- computer viruses
- Trojan horses
- Spear phishing
- Wifi attacks etc...
However we are going to be detailing the top most common network and how to detect them.
10 most common types of network threats
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a user’s files. During these attacks, victims are denied access to their files and must pay ransom to the attacker for their data restoring.
These types of attacks usually occur through phishy emails or when visiting infected websites. During which, victims download and open files that seem to be trustworthy, but are in reality malicious software designed to take control of their computer.
Ransomware can cost businesses anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of pounds, furthermore, cybercriminals that launch these attacks request payment via cryptocurrencies such as, Bitcoin or Ethereum, in order to keep their anonymity; meaning this type of felonies are hard to submit to justice for their untraceable qualities.
Phishing is a cybercrime in which cybercriminals send emails or text messages to individuals. Their goal is to pose as someone from a reputable company in order to lure individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
Phishing attacks have affected 76% of businesses in the UK
How to detect phishing attacks:
- “Company” messages with public domain ex: @gmail.com,
- Poorly written emails with grammatical mistakes,
- Suspicious attachments or links,
- Criminals posing as companies demanding personal information by email; big companies will never ask users to share this type of personal data by email or another public platform. Ex: full credit card number, National insurance Number etc…
Keystroke logging, or Keylogger, is the act of secretly monitoring and logging a user's “keyboard behaviour” by recording information users type into websites and applications.
The goal is to retrieve personal data from the monitored computer, and this type of system can also be implemented on phones, as well as tablets.
This type of cyber attack may lead to credit card cloning “skimming”, webpage appropriation, social network hacking and stolen identities
In 2015 a University of Birmingham student was sentenced to jail time for using a Keylogger device to steal staff passwords to improve his grades
A Cybervirus is a type of cyber threat that, just like a health virus, spreads from server to server; however cyber viruses use files such as documents to reproduce and alter the computers system to cause damaging effects like destroying data, software malfunctions and system delay.
How to identify Viruses:
- receiving repeated spam emails from unidentified accounts,
- frequent pop up windows requesting a downloadable file,
- slow computer software,
- computer crashes or freezes.
Spyware, much like Keylogger, is a type of malicious software that is installed in a computer without the users consent. Once the software is installed, the attacker has access to all the users' sensitive information, such as passwords, credit cards, contacts etc…with the purpose of easily sharing this information to a third party
Nowadays, installing a spyware is as easy as opening a file or an email by mistake, furthermore, it is one of the hardest malicious software to detect. Because of its properties, it can be disguised as genuine software.
Watch this video for a brief summary on Spyware:
Adware is a type of spyware in which unwanted advertisements pop up on your screen, while web browsing. Furthermore, these advertisements are regenerative, once you close one, another one opens. This type of software is made so the attackers can sell your browsing history to a third party, in order to know what type of customer you are, and attacks you with more advertising customized to your behaviour in order for you to click on them.
#7 Botnets attack
Botnets is a web of connected internet devices, such as computers and smartphones, who without consent, have given control of their devices to become bots (robots). With the purpose of connecting to other devices and grow the web of bots, these devices can be easily penetrated by malicious software distribution, such as bad emails, unreliable downloadable file, etc...
#8 Trojan horses
Much like the deceptive wooden horse the Greeks used as a way to sneekly enter Troye, a trojan horse virus is a type of malware that controls your computer by the disguise of a reliable program.
Once inside, the attacker has access to the victims personal information, such as credit card information, bank details, social media passwords, identity, etc...
Different from a regular virus, worms don't need an active host operating system and itself propagates, meaning that once a worm is in your system, it can spread or regenerate itself by internet connections or networks, infecting every other computer or smart gadget connected to the same network server.
An example of this is the famous case of “Contagious” wifi created by Liverpool researchers, in which details the caution one most have at the time of entering a WIFI network of a public place, such as airports, malls and cafes.
Once installed on one access point, the virus can - without being controlled by a human - automatically seek out other vulnerable access points, taking them over as and when they are found
#11 Distributed Denial of service (DDoS) attacks
DDoS is the attempt of disrupting normal traffic of a specific server or network, by a flood of internet traffic. It disables the server or network to work appropriately in order for their system to crash, like a zombie attack.
This type of cyber assault uses multiple systems already infected by malware, for achieving the flooding of traffic.
Watch this video for a brief summary on (DDoS) attacks:
How to prevent network threats? Some good practices
- constantly update your computer and the software you use,
- do not click or download anything from suspicious websites,
- do not open email attachments or images from people you do not know,
- do not trust pop-up windows with downloadable software,
- use antivirus software.
Tools to protect your company
With so many network security threats, knowing how to protect your company is vital; network security tools are imperative for guaranteeing a safe environment for all your data and operating systems. It ensures the protection of corporate data, by working proactively to stop threats against all forms of cyber attacks and intrusions, before damaging the company's server enabling companies to react accordingly to the threats and take correct measures in order to impede another attack.
A perfect tool for minimizing risks of data breach is Lastpass the platform that stores all your managing passwords for different sites into one unique password for each employee, and automatically fills them out in the web browser, application or corporate site.
It is an essential tool for a company's best safety practices, due to the company not having to create a login user for every employee to have access to corporate sites, or giving every employee the password to access private information.
This platform is a real life saver for businesses, due to its password saving functionalities, encrypted algorithm, multi-factor authentication and easy platform access.
Everyday cyberattacks get stronger and more resistant to cyber protection servers, this is why it is vital to protect a companies private documentation by the use of correct tools that understand and correctly identify cyber threats.
Nowadays companies understand the major risk they run if they don't have the correct protection server; yearly companies deploy copious amounts of money to protect themselves, because if they don't treat their information accordingly, cyber threats can become serious attacks that can ultimately lead to data breaches, bank theft, software crashes; as shown in the statistics above, data breaches can averagely cost 3 times more than a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) preparation for correct data handling.