How to Be Prepared for Different Types of Cyberattacks
As each year passes by, many companies struggle to keep up with the latest developments in cybersecurity. In today’s interconnected world, cyberthreats are looming everywhere, and hackers do their best to regularly change their tactics when compromising systems and stealing sensitive information. This dynamic and aggressive nature of cybercrime can have disastrous consequences, and it's projected that by 2021, cyberattacks will cost businesses over $6 trillion annually in company losses.
As business professionals do their best to prepare for another record-breaking year of data theft and cyber espionage, it is imperative that company leaders make themselves aware of the latest threats in circulation to ensure their security countermeasures are up to par.
Here are five of the most commonly used cyberattacks in force today, and important tips on how you can stay protected.
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attacks
A common form of cybercrime is known as a DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack. During a DDoS, attackers overwhelm a hosted server with various streams of traffic and data requests, causing a website to malfunction and inevitably go offline. For many businesses, excessive downtime can be costly and even devastating to the bottom line, so it’s important to recognize these attacks early and manage them effectively.
The first step of dealing with a DDoS attack is to overprovision your allocated bandwidth. It’s important to be able to handle large spikes of traffic without compromising the integrity of your servers. While additional bandwidth won’t stop a DDoS attack on its own, it will give you the time to deal with the attack if it hits. Using WAFs (Web Application Firewalls) are a great way to monitor for anomalies on your network and gives you the tools to recognize and quarantine malicious web traffic exploits.
When hackers deploy DDoS attacks against high-value targets, many times they need a large network of connected machines to run them. But rather than resource these powerful machines on their own, hackers use botnets to control millions of “zombie” computers to do their bidding. These slave machines are typically exploited without the user’s consent and can perform several malicious tasks without even alerting the owner.
In order to ensure your system doesn’t become compromised, active steps should be taken to prevent the infection of worms and viruses that take control over your networked systems. Using regularly updated antivirus programs, malware detection software, and server resource monitoring tools can assure your systems are not being accessed without your consent and quickly quarantine and remove malicious files and scripts intended to infect your computer.
Social Engineering Schemes (Phishing)
One of the most effective tools in a hackers arsenal today is social engineering. Social engineering is a cyberattack vector that’s sole purpose is to manipulate users into completing monitored actions that reveal specific important information about themselves. This information then is used to compromise secure logins and steal credentials to private networks and systems. Common forms of social engineering attacks are baiting, phishing, and spear phishing. In these cases, malicious parties send out disguised emails, texts, and phone messages mimicking trusted sources while extracting as much information as possible.
Awareness is a key component to effectively mitigating social engineering risks. By knowing what to look for, you can successfully identify fake emails and other phishing attempts before they cause any serious damage to your systems. Most legitimate organizations know the issues that social engineering cause and take the steps necessary to protect their users.
The first rule of thumb is that you should never download files without knowing exactly what they are and who they‘re from. Even if the email appears to be coming from someone you know, taking extra precautions before clicking into an attachment will reduce the likelihood of downloading malicious scripts, viruses, or other forms of malware. Secure your devices with spam filters and firewalls to monitor and automatically delete questionable materials from your Inbox.
MitM (Man-in-the-Middle) Attacks
Man-in-the-Middle attacks, also known as MitM or eavesdropping attacks, are when malicious parties are able to intercept and monitor a two-party transaction. These attacks usually happen in two phases: interception and decryption. MitM attacks commonly target public networks or poorly secured WiFi routers. Once a hacker gains access to these areas, they’re able to read through a victims data, browser history, login credentials, banking information, and any other information that’s transmitted from their computer.
An effective way to thwart MitM attacks is by securing each security endpoint with adequate authentication and encryption levels. This can include using MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) when establishing access protocols for networked routers and connected systems, refraining from connecting to public WiFi hotspots when using a machine that contains sensitive information, and implementing the use of HTTPS protocols to protect websites from identity thieves.
Being aware of the latest cyber threats can help you and your organization make better choices when securing your networks and connected systems. By following these tips when mitigating security risks, you can ensure your business stays protected and operational when battling the latest forms of cyberattack.