Businesses face a myriad of information security risks that can be detrimental to their operations.
Information security threats evolve rapidly, and new threats may appear that are not yet known. Nonetheless, here are some major cyber security threats that have been observed in recent years:
- Phishing Attacks: Phishing involves fraudulent attempts to obtain private information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in electronic communication.
- Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s files and demands a ransom payment to restore access to the data.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks: DDoS attacks involve overwhelming a network or website with a rush of illegitimate traffic, causing a service disruption or making it unavailable to legitimate users.
- Data Breaches: Data breaches occur when unauthorized individuals gain access to private or confidential information, often resulting in the exposure of personal data, financial records, or intellectual property.
- Insider Threats: Insider threats refer to security risks posed by individuals within an organization who have approved access to systems, networks, or data and misuse or abuse that access.
- Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities: As the number of IoT devices grows, so does the potential for security vulnerabilities. Inadequate security controls in IoT devices can lead to illegal access, data breaches, or exploitation.
- Social Engineering Attacks: Social engineering involves manipulating individuals to divulge private information or perform actions that may compromise security. This can include methods such as impersonation, pretexting, or baiting.
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): APTs are targeted attacks conducted by sophisticated threat actors, usually nation-states or well-funded organizations. APTs aim to gain unauthorized access and stay undetected within a target network over an extended period.
- Cloud Security Risks: As organizations increasingly depend on cloud services, there are risks associated with misconfigurations, data breaches, account hijacking, and insecure APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
- Zero-Day Vulnerabilities: Zero-day vulnerabilities are software vulnerabilities that are unknown to the software vendor or security group. Threat actors can exploit them before a patch or solution is ready.
These risks include, but are not limited to:
This is a type of a cyber attack where hackers send fraudulent links that appear to be genuine and from a reputable source in order to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial data.
There are various types of phishing attacks, such as spear phishing, whaling, and clone phishing.
- In spear phishing, the attackers target specific individuals or groups, often using personal information to make the attack appear more legitimate.
- Whaling is spear phishing that targets high-level executives or other important individuals within an organization.
- Clone phishing involves creating a fake email that appears to be a legitimate one which the recipient has already received messages from, in order to trick them into clicking on a link or disclosing sensitive information.
One of the most common cases of phishing occurs when a hacker sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a trusted company, asking the recipient to click on a link and enter their login credentials or provide other sensitive information. In reality, the link takes the recipient to a fake website that looks like the legitimate one, but is designed to steal their information.
Some of the most famous cases of phishing attacks include the 2017 Google Docs phishing attack and the 2018 phishing attack on the Winter Olympics. However, phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common, and it is difficult to single out the most famous ones.
Malware refers to any type of malicious software that is designed to harm a computer or network. Malware infections can range from annoying pop-ups to more serious issues, such as data theft or system crashes.
Various types of malware can infect a computer or network:
- Viruses are malware that can spread from one computer to another. They typically attach themselves to a legitimate program or file and can cause damage to the system. Some viruses are designed to replicate themselves and spread throughout a network.
- Worms are similar to viruses in that they can spread from one computer to another. However, unlike viruses, worms do not need to attach themselves to a legitimate program or file. They can spread independently through networks and can cause significant damage to systems.
- Trojan horses are a type of malware that disguise themselves as legitimate software. They can be downloaded and installed by users unaware of their malicious nature. Once installed, Trojan horses can perform various malicious actions, such as stealing sensitive data or allowing hackers to access the system.
- Ransomware is malware that encrypts a user’s files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. Ransomware can be particularly damaging for small businesses relying heavily on data security. Once infected with ransomware, businesses may be forced to pay a large sum to recover their data.
- Adware is malware that displays unwanted advertisements on a user’s computer.
- Spyware is malware designed to spy on a user’s online activity and collect sensitive information.
- Rootkits are malware that can hide themselves from detection and can be difficult to remove.
It is difficult to single out the most famous case of a malware attack, as there have been many high-profile attacks over the years. Some notable examples include the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, the NotPetya attack in 2017, and the Sony Pictures hack in 2014.
Weak passwords are easy for hackers to guess and can grant them access to sensitive data. Hackers can find out passwords through various means, such as using brute force attacks, social engineering tactics, or by obtaining passwords from data breaches or leaks.
- Brute force attacks involve using automated tools to try a large number of possible password combinations until the correct one is found.
- Social engineering tactics involve tricking individuals into revealing their passwords, often through phishing attacks.
- If a data breach or leak occurs, passwords can be exposed and used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to systems or data.
There have been some notable examples of password leaks, including the 2012 LinkedIn data breach, in which 6.5 million password hashes were stolen and later decrypted. Another example is the 2013 Adobe data breach, in which 38 million password hashes were stolen and later decrypted.
Insider threats refer to security risks that come from within an organization. These can include intentional or accidental breaches of sensitive data by employees, contractors, or other insiders. Some examples of insider threats include employees stealing sensitive data, contractors accidentally exposing confidential information, or employees inadvertently clicking on phishing emails or downloading malware.
There are three main ways to prevent internal information leaks:
- Establish monitoring for insider threats and provide security training for employees to help them recognize and avoid social engineering attacks, such as phishing or pretexting.
- Implement encryption to protect sensitive data in transit and at rest.
- Perform due diligence on third-party vendors to ensure that they have sufficient security measures in place.
Infosecurity tips for small businesses
Small businesses face a myriad of information security risks that can be detrimental to their operations. To protect sensitive information, small businesses can take the following steps:
- Implement strong password policies and multi-factor authentication where possible.
- Regularly update software and security systems to protect against malware and other threats.
- Conduct regular data backups to ensure that important information can be recovered in case of a system failure or data loss.
- Train employees to recognize and avoid social engineering attacks, such as phishing or pretexting.
- Secure Wi-Fi networks with strong passwords and encryption to prevent unauthorized access.
- Implement security policies for mobile devices to ensure that sensitive data is not stored on these devices.
- Monitor for insider threats and implement appropriate security controls to prevent intentional or accidental breaches of sensitive data.
- Conduct due diligence on third-party vendors to ensure that they have adequate security measures in place.
- Use encryption to protect sensitive data in transit and at rest.
- Develop and implement an incident response plan to respond quickly and effectively to a security incident.
By taking these proactive steps, small businesses can protect themselves from potential consequences of a security breach.
Hacker software to protect from hackers
Antidetect (multi-accounting) browsers can be useful for information security, as they allow users to browse the Internet anonymously and avoid detection by websites and online services.
These browsers use advanced technologies, such as IP spoofing, user agent masking, and cookie management to prevent websites from tracking user activity or identifying them based on their browsing behavior. Such software is commonly used by hackers to prevent detection online, but it can also be used by businesses that want to protect sensitive information.
Antidetect browsers like Octo Browser provide all the necessary tools for secure distributed teamwork. You can create and transfer browser profiles, use profile tags, access activity history, and allocate roles and access rights among managers to prevent data leaks.
The teamwork feature lets you manage your employees with different access rights, and safely share access to social media, email, or other online services with outside vendors.
This is particularly helpful for small businesses and media agencies. Additionally, there is a built-in option to link profiles with proxies. This, combined with the fingerprint spoofing technology, enables you to avoid bans on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and others when multiple people on your team use a single account from different locations.
Octo Browser protects user data, which is cloud-stored and encrypted. Data storage is organized in such a way that even if an unlikely event of a partial data leak takes place, the attackers won’t be able to log into a user’s profile anyway, thus entirely eliminating one of the major information security threats a business might face.