Cyberattack is an intentional and harmful attempt to gain unauthorised access to or disrupt a computer or network system. Numerous attacks can result in financial loss or theft of personal, financial, or medical data, which in turn can cause damage to your reputation and compromise your safety. To safeguard against cyberattacks, cybersecurity measures aim to prevent, detect, and respond to threats, as they can severely collide with individuals, organisations, communities, and even nations. This article will explore the bulk of common cybersecurity threats and how to protect yourself.
What are Cyber Security Threats?
A cyber security threat is a potential malicious attack that aims to gain unauthorised ingress to data, disrupt digital operations or cause damage to information. These threats can arise from various sources, including hacktivists, corporate spies, hostile nation-states, terrorist groups, criminal organisations, lone hackers, and even disgruntled employees.
In February 2023, there were 106 publicly disclosed incidents of data breaches and cyber attacks, leading to the compromise of 29.5 million records. Our research has compiled this list of data breaches and cyber attacks for February 2023.
Cyber Security Threats:
Social engineering is a dangerous hacking technique cybercriminals use as it depends on human error instead of technical vulnerabilities, making it effective. According to Verizon’s Data Violation Investigations Report, human interaction is involved in 85% of all data breaches, highlighting the danger of these attacks. In 2023, the social engineering gambit will be critical for cybercriminals to obtain artisan data and credentials.
More than 75% of targeted cyberattacks begin with an email, and Phishing remains one of the crown causes of data breaches. Thieve credentials and ransomware attacks follow closely behind. Phishing and email impersonation continue to evolve, incorporating new tendencies, technologies, and tactics.
Configuration Mistakes are highly probable that even executive security systems have at slightest software installation and setup error. According to a series of 268 suits conducted by a cybersecurity software company, speedy 80% of outer penetration tests confronted an exploitable misconfiguration. In cases where the attacker had inner system access, like through third-party access or physical infiltration of an office, the percentage of exploitable configuration fallacy rose to 96%.
In 2023, employees will likely make careless mistakes at work due to the ongoing combined collision of the COVID-19 pandemic, socio-political upheavals, and financial stress. That increases the chances for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in the system.
Malware is malicious software that can infect computers and networks without the user’s knowledge or consent. It includes viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware, and Trojans. Malware can be used to gain access to sensitive information or disrupt operations by deleting data, encrypting files, and disrupting software and hardware.
Malware becomes active when a user clicks on a harmful link or attachment, which can result in the installation of harmful software. Once activated, malware can block ingress to criticising network components, install more harmful software, covertly obtain information, and disrupt specific system components, according to Cisco. In 2023, malware will become a significant threat due to increased remote working and the use of unsecured networks and devices.
Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This attack is usually executed via email, text, or instant messaging and often involves links to malicious websites. It’s essential to be aware that phishing attacks can come in many forms and vary in complexity. For example, they may bait the victim into providing personal information like credit card numbers, bank account details, and passwords.
Once Phishing is active, attackers may attempt to use the stolen data for financial gain or identity theft. In 2023, Phishing will continue to be a common attack vector as cybercriminals become more sophisticated in their techniques. With the ever-increasing use of social media and messaging applications, users will be increasingly vulnerable to phishing attacks that disguise themselves as messages from friends and family.
How to Protect Yourself From Cybersecurity Threats?
Protecting yourself against cyberattacks starts with understanding the threats and taking steps to mitigate them. Below are some tips that can help keep your data and systems secure:
Use Strong Password
Using strong and unique passwords is crucial to protect against cybersecurity threats. A strong password should include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid easily guessable passwords and consider using a passphrase. A password manager can generate and store complex passwords, making it easier to manage and update them regularly.
Remember to change passwords periodically, at least every six months, and after a data breach. Use strong passwords for your Wi-Fi network to prevent unauthorised access. Strong passwords are essential for cybersecurity, so follow best practices to keep your data safe.
Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
Regularly updating your software is crucial to protect yourself from cybersecurity threats. Software updates often include security patches and bug fixes that address vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Keep your operating system, web browser, and applications up-to-date, and configure your devices to install updates automatically.
Avoid downloading third-party software from untrusted sources to prevent malware infection. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date to detect and remove the latest malware and viruses. Following these simple steps can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.
Monitor Network Activity
Monitoring network activity regularly can help detect and prevent cyberattacks. Install a security solution that includes an intrusion detection system (IDS) and configure it to see suspicious behaviour. That can help you identify malicious activity on your network, such as attempts to access restricted information or denial of service attacks.
Monitor your network regularly and take action against any threats that are detected. Make sure to record all activity on your network and review it periodically. Use tools like firewalls and honeypots to protect your network from malicious traffic. Use encryption and secure protocols to protect your data as it travels across the internet.
Use Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is a vital tool for protecting against cybersecurity threats. It can detect and remove malware, viruses, and other malicious programs from your system and block known malicious websites. Install antivirus software on all your devices and use it regularly to scan for threats.
Antivirus software can identify suspicious activities and alert you to possible risks. Periodically update your antivirus software to stay ahead of the latest threats. Advanced antivirus programs can include anti-spam, phishing protection, and parental controls.
Cybersecurity threats are becoming more sophisticated, but you can protect yourself by following the tips mentioned above. Use strong and unique passwords, keep your software up-to-date, monitor network activity, and use antivirus software to protect yourself against cyberattacks. By taking these steps, you can keep your data and systems secure and reduce the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.
Consider seeking the assistance of a cybersecurity professional if needed. More importantly, stay vigilant and be aware of the latest cybersecurity threats. Educate yourself and others about cybersecurity best practices to keep yourself safe.