Cybersecurity breaches are increasing as we increase our use of the internet and technology. In the third quarter of 2022 alone, an estimated 15 million data records were exposed worldwide. One way to combat potential threats is to recognize the different types of attacks before they successfully breach security. Identifying the signs can prevent data loss and disruption or damage to your computer systems.
A cyber security threat is an adverse action performed by people intending to disrupt or cause damage to computer systems or steal data. Data that is commonly breached includes passwords, customer and patient files, employee records, and banking information. Disruption and damage to these systems render them inoperative, leading to profit loss, customer confusion, low employee retention, and many other negative results.
Cyber threats come in different forms, some of which are stepping stones to more severe attacks. Let’s discuss what each threat is and how to detect it.
Malware is a specific software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to systems. IT systems at businesses are susceptible to malware, software designed to gain unauthorized access, disrupt, or damage these systems. Individuals or groups can use malicious software to get classified information or demand money.
Signs of malware include:
- The device or system is running slowly
- Internet connection issues
- Suspicious pop-ups or notifications
- Device crashes/unresponsive system
- Presence of applications or programs you didn’t download
How to prevent malware:
- Keep the system and software updated
- Beware of odd links or attachments
- Don’t click on suspicious pop0ups or notifications
- Limit your file-sharing settings
Social engineering is one of the most common types of cyber attacks. It involves the act of manipulation of people to gain access to personal information and accounts. Social engineering is typically the first attempt in a multifaceted cyber attack. It starts by compromising one person instead of breaching an entire system by coercing them to interact with malware or providing their credentials through email phishing.
Signs of social engineering include:
- Emails coming from an unknown email address
- Claiming to be an affiliate of the business
- Subject lines containing words like “congratulations”, “winner”, “password needed”, etc.
- Has an attachment with a .zip or .exe file extension
How to prevent social engineering:
- Open emails with caution
- Use caution when interacting with emails
- Do not download any attachments from unknown sources
- Delete any suspicious emails
Phishing is form of social engineering in which the attacker is focused on coercing their victim into downloading malware or divulging personal information. Many different cyber attack methods use phishing as a stepping stone. They use email, text messages, phone calls, social media, and social engineering techniques to entice an individual for either personal information or offer a file/link that installs viruses on their device.
Signs of phishing include:
- Alerts that programs or software systems noticed suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- Claims that there is a problem with your account or payment information
- Needs confirmation for personal or financial information
- A fake invoice or receipt for purchases you don’t recognize
How to prevent phishing:
- Be mindful of suspicious activity
- Do not open any attachments from unfamiliar email addresses
- Double-check through a phone call or separate web browser if an account legitimately needs attention
Distributed denial-of-service attacks are a common cyber crime. The hacker will distribute high traffic to a business’s website using multiple systems, which causes temporary or permanent service failure. This causes a business loss for the targeted company as customers and users cannot access the website.
Signs of a DDoS attack include:
- Slow access to files
- An excessive amount of spam emails
- Website accessibility problems
- Internet disconnection
How to prevent a DDoS attack:
- Establishing immediate connection with the ISP
- Pre-planning a comprehensive strategy against DDoS attack
- Investigating uncommon traffic activity
A ransomware attack is when a hacker successfully attacks and encrypts a company’s IT system. All files and data become inaccessible to the owner until a ransom is paid to the hacker. This type of attack typically occurs after phishing or social engineering, as those allow the cybercriminal to gain firm access.
Signs of ransomware include:
- Suspicious emails
- Unknown email address
- The subject line contains words such as “congratulations”, “winner”, etc.
- Has an attachment with a .zip or .exe file extension
- Unable to access files or data
- A message from the hacker on your sleep screen
How to prevent ransomware:
- Maintain antivirus software updates on all computers
- Maintain patch updates at regular intervals
- Install File and System Integrity Monitoring software on all computers
2023 Cyber Security Trend
In recent years, many companies have transitioned to working from home. This transition led to implementation of comprehensive communication services and virtual schedules to adapt to teams working from different locations. While it is vital to focus ton solid communication, computer security is often overlooked.
A major cyber security trend for 2023 is to ensure all remote and hybrid employees have updated, proper security systems. Whether they utilize company-provided or personal equipment, the confidential data and information that flows through their everyday work needs to be protected.
Not only that, but the different networks they connect to, like public Wi-Fi or their home network, can be detected and compromised. Most users don’t know they have vulnerabilities on their devices until it’s too late.
Precautions You Can Take
The increase in hybrid/remote workers and their variety of network connections call for increased security. Since 2020, there has been an increase in cyber attacks by 400%, reports the FBI. This statistic proves why employers should educate employees on protecting their data and equipment from malicious hackers. You can further protect your employees’ information by:
- Increasing staff awareness by requiring simple training classes that run through different attacks, how to identify them, and a course of action for removal
- Have employees make copies of their digital documents and save them on a separate device in case the original files become damaged or compromised
- Enforce prompt software updates as it patches security vulnerabilities
- Adopt a password policy that ensures unique and challenging passwords
- Implement a two-factor authentication process that offers “question and answer” identification or approves the log-in from a separate device
- Install antivirus software on the company’s and personal computers
Another way to combat and avert security threats is to use a trusted IT company that anticipates attacks and protects your data.
EHPN offers a variety of services to help protect you from these common security threats. Contact us to get started!