In part one of our cybersecurity and digital transformation blog series, we set out the importance of keeping security needs at the forefront of any digital strategy. This installment will present the most common cybersecurity threats that businesses are faced with.
Cybersecurity threats come in various forms from different sources, and can be defined as either passive or active, attacking both operating systems and hardware.
Passive Threat & Active Attacks
Passive cybersecurity threats are attacks which does not harm a company’s system directly, but information is obtained which may be sensitive data. A hacker will attempt to remain unnoticed while gathering information about the victim’s machine, network, or other systems.
An active attack encompasses a wide range of different techniques that jeopardises a system’s integrity and availability. This type of attack poses a threat to both the organisation and individuals where a hacker attempts to directly modify resources. Unlike a passive attack, these breaches are more easily identified.
Common passive attacks:
- Phishing – A common, but effective type of attack typically carried out via email. It is designed to steal users’ credentials and trick them into installing malicious software on their device. Over time, phishing attacks have evolved into more sophisticated and efficient tactics, with attackers frequently utilizing authentic-looking credentials to increase their success rate.
- Cyber espionage – Where a hacker accesses, steals, or exposes classified data or intellectual property with malicious intent which can lead to damaging consequences. Common methods include advanced persistent threats (APT), social engineering and spear phishing.
- Data packet sniffing – Similar to wiretapping, packet sniffing allows anyone to eavesdrop on computer conversations. An attacker will install hardware or software to monitor, collect and analyse data sent over a network.
Common active attacks:
- Malware – any malicious software which aims to cause disruption or damage a computer, server, or network. Devices can be infected through simple means such as clicking on a suspicious link, but it can allow the hacker access to personal and sensitive information.
- Denial of Service (DoS) – An attack carried out by bots designed to flood an organisations system with fake requests, therefore blocking legitimate requests. This type of attack both seriously effects company resources and damages infrastructure.
- Domain spoofing – This is another form of phishing where an attacker impersonates a known business or person by using a fake web or email domain hoping to fool people into trusting them as at first glance they often look legitimate. However, users can be tricked into revealing sensitive information, sending money or clicking malicious links.
Cyberattacks can affect both operating systems and hardware, creating challenges for businesses who wish to fortify their infrastructure against cybersecurity threats. This can create even greater challenge for smaller businesses who are trying to manage this with limited resources. The third installment of this blog series will discuss the challenges caused by these security breaches.