With so much of daily life online, from bank account access to names and addresses, cybercrime can make lots of money and cause untold damage. Cybersecurity has become vital because digital assets are valuable and vulnerable.
Just as there are many types of cybersecurity, there are multiple cybersecurity threats. Here’s a look at some of the most common and dangerous ones facing businesses and individuals today, according to Venture Beat.
Malware is one of the most common types of cybersecurity threats. It’s short for “malicious software” and is a broad category covering programs and lines of code that cause damage or provide unauthorized access.
Viruses, trojans, spyware and ransomware are all types of malware. These can be as insignificant as placing unwanted pop-ups on a computer or as dangerous as stealing sensitive files and sending them elsewhere.
While malware relies on technical factors to cause damage, phishing targets human vulnerabilities. These attacks involve tricking someone into giving away sensitive information or clicking on something that will install malware on their device. They’re often the starting point for a more powerful, more damaging attack.
Phishing often comes in emails where cyber criminals pose as authority figures or have enticing news. These messages often appeal to people’s fears or desires to get them to act quickly without thinking. For example, many say the users are prize-winners or in trouble with the law.
3. Insider threats
While most cybersecurity threats come from outside an organization, some of the most dangerous come from within. Insider threats happen when someone with authorized access, like an employee, threatens a system, intentionally or not.
Many insider threats are non-malicious. This happens when an authorized user becomes a phishing victim or accidentally posts on the wrong account, unintentionally endangering a system. Others may act on purpose, like a disgruntled ex-employee taking revenge on their former employer by installing malware on their computers.
4. Man-in-the-middle attacks
Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are a form of eavesdropping where cybercriminals will intercept data as it travels between points. Instead of stealing this information in the traditional sense, they copy it, so it reaches its intended destination. Consequently, it may look like nothing took place at all.
MITM attacks can happen through malware, fake websites and even compromised Wi-Fi networks. While they may not be as common as others, they’re dangerous because they’re hard to detect. A user could enter personal information into a hijacked website form and not realize it until it’s too late.
Botnets are another common type of cybersecurity threat. These are networks of multiple infected computers, letting one threat actor attack using many devices at once. This often forms distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where attackers crash a system by overloading it with requests.
Botnet attacks have seen a massive jump recently. In June 2021, 51% of organizations had detected botnet activity on their networks, up from 35% just six months earlier. Large-scale DDoS attacks can also cause massive damage, shutting down critical systems for hours or even days.
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