Powerful artificial intelligence, fake media that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing, and vulnerabilities stemming from remote work; 5 years ago, it would be almost impossible to predict all of the cybersecurity threats that face us today.
These kinds of changes are part and parcel with cybersecurity work; we constantly need to update our security measures to protect against modern threats. Here are the 9 most common threats we see in the modern age and what you can do to protect your business against them.
We’re going to dive right into these threats, but here’s a quick plug first: want to protect themselves from these threats? For cyber security in Winnipeg, call Constant C.
Ransomware remains one of the most common cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals use malware to encrypt data, threatening to release it or delete it unless the victim pays a ransom. Ransoms are usually paid in cryptocurrency—a modern twist to an old problem.
You can mitigate the risk of being targeted by a ransomware attack by regularly backing up data, segregating sensitive data onto separate networks, encrypting data, and by employing a wide variety of network and data security measures. Teaching employees about phishing emails and other common techniques used by cybercriminals is a must.
Phishing/Business Email Compromise (BEC)
In a phishing attack, hackers will send emails masquerading as a person or organization the recipient trusts. Modern phishing attacks may also use other channels, like SMS. These emails may contain links to fake forms that steal login credentials or attachments that install malware.
Business email compromise (BEC) is a type of phishing scam in which compromised or impersonated email accounts are used to trick victims into transferring money to hackers. They may impersonate bosses, real estate companies, or other important stakeholders. Often, BEC attacks take time, as the criminals identify who controls the money in an organization. They’ll also try to move the conversation from email to SMS, where most victims feel more comfortable.
To mitigate the risk of these attacks, train employees to recognize suspicious emails and use email filters to reduce exposure. Ensure that you have strong financial controls in place to prevent large sums from being transferred to criminals.
Cloud jacking involves exploiting vulnerabilities in cloud servers or software to steal account information and gain access to the cloud server—or even to your network. These attacks are becoming common as more companies migrate servers and services to the cloud.
Multi-factor authentication is an important tool to prevent cloud jacking. You should only work with trusted third parties for all cloud services.
Insider threats originate from within your business. These attacks are especially hard to detect, as they tend to come from trusted individuals. These might include:
- Current or former employees
- Business partners
- Other parties who have access to sensitive business data
Prevention is best here: Vet all employees and other stakeholders thoroughly before giving them access to business data. Revoke the credentials of all former employees as soon as possible—in the case of a stakeholder being terminated, revoke their access while they’re being informed of their termination.
Finally, create a company culture that values security, and encourages employees to report suspicious activity.
Denial-of-Service/Distributed Denial-of-Service (DoS and DDoS)
DoS and DDoS attacks flood your network with traffic, overloading it and making it unavailable to legitimate users. These attacks are quite easy to carry out, though they’re more commonly levied against large or famous businesses.
Using traffic filtering and content delivery networks (CDNs) can help mitigate the risk and power of DoS and DDoS attacks. Have a recovery plan in place to get your business back online after these types of attacks.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Hacks
These attacks are particularly tricky—hackers are using AI and machine learning in order to develop more sophisticated hacking techniques. They’ll sometimes use these technologies to find faults in a company’s security rather than spending the time to do it themselves.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are trending topics within the IT world for their path-breaking applications.
Fortunately, defenders are always at an advantage when it comes to IT—as long as they’re building their defences properly. You can use AI and ML in order to monitor network activity and find anomalous (and potentially dangerous) activity.
Internet of Things (IoT) Risks and Targeted Attacks
IoT devices are new to the scene; there’s little legislation around them, and security measures are underdeveloped. Furthermore, they interact without human intervention; that’s a big security risk!
Minimize the number of IoT devices you use in your organization. Segregate these devices from the rest of your network. Patch and update your devices regularly, and only purchase IoT devices from trusted providers.
Web Application Attacks
These attacks use vulnerabilities in web applications (things like SQL injection or cross-site scripting) in order to access databases with sensitive data. Business databases often hold very sensitive information, like banking details.
Regularly testing web applications for vulnerabilities is essential. Update your web applications regularly, and work with trusted app developers.
Deepfakes are AI-generated media that simulate (“fake”) trustworthy media. In the context of cybersecurity, these fakes could be used to imitate C-suite executives, business partners, and other important stakeholders.
Teach employees how to recognize deepfakes and use AI-detection software to detect deepfakes.