Top-notch network security is the key to flawless business operations. Since most of your data is in digital format, even a minor security problem could cause serious consequences.
Every year, cybercriminals are learning new ways to breach your network defenses. The more network security measures you implement, the harder they work to find a loophole.
That’s why it’s imperative to know what to expect from network security threats and learn how to prevent them. Let’s look at the top network threats businesses need to be aware of.
1. Computer Virus
Computer viruses have been around for over 50 years. They can wreak havoc on one device and affect other computers inside the network. The first computer virus, The Creeper Program, dates back to 1971.
It only takes one click for the virus to spread and disrupt your operations, destroy confidential data, and expose information to unauthorized parties.
Viruses vary in complexity and severity. One of the simplest ways to battle them is to install anti-virus software. Extensive employee training is essential. No matter how hard you try to prevent the virus from entering your network, it can be hard to reverse the damage.
2. Malware Attack
One dangerous and effective network security threat is a malware attack. Its goal is to gain unauthorized access to the network and damage, delete, or steal your data.
This type of external threat comes in many different forms. Each one can have another purpose. Today, around 30% of computers in the United States are infected with some form of actual malware programs.
Malware usually enters your computer when you download an attachment or use a malicious site. It’s important to install antivirus software to prevent malware attacks, take advantage of top-notch cybersecurity services, maintain excellent cyber security hygiene, and train your employees to avoid malicious files and websites.
3. Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are becoming more common. They are behind over 90% of cyber breaches. The goal of a phishing attack is to steal sensitive credentials and data. The program mimics reputable companies and contacts to trick users into sharing sensitive data.
The most common form of a phishing attack is an email from a supposedly reputable company asking you to change your details or take other action on its website. The link to the website resembles the official website of the company. Once you click the link and start entering your data, including the password, it becomes available to criminals.
The easiest way to prevent this type of network security attack is to teach employees cyber security hygiene so they can identify threats and avoid them. Other preventive measures include installing firewalls and anti-phishing browser addons.
4. SQL Injection Attacks
Hackers use SQL injection attacks to steal data and hinder your company’s operation. This network threat is based on poorly designed web forms and apps. When a user enters the information (such as login and password) into a web form, the website checks it against the database.
During a SQL injection attack, the program injects its information in a poorly protected web form or application field along with the user’s, so both types of information go to the database. The malicious code stays in the database and becomes a severe network security threat.
To prevent this network threat, you need to consider using web app firewalls and creating accounts that only specific users can access. This way, malicious insiders can stay away while only the trusted employees have access to the database.
Ransomware is malicious software that takes your data hostage. When this type of malware makes its way into your computer, it encrypts your data and keeps you from accessing it. In 2021, about 37% of organizations worldwide reported that they encountered ransomware.
In exchange, the hackers usually ask for a “ransom.” Once you pay the ransom, they promise to release the sensitive data and keep it from becoming accessible to the public. Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t always mean that you can get your information back quickly.
Recently a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline ended in a record-setting ransomware payment. However, the decryption key that the hackers sent was working excruciatingly slow, contributing to serious downtime. Thankfully, the company managed to restore its data from backup.
6. DoS and DDoS Attacks
DoS (denial of service) and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks are more common for larger businesses than small companies. However, they may still happen. This type of attack involves overloading your server with fake traffic. As a result, your website or local network stops working.
While this may not have severe consequences for some companies, an e-commerce business can suffer tremendously. A malicious traffic overload can cause you to lose customers and hinder your reputation.
Hackers connect several computers and program them to start a DDoS attack to create a malicious attack. Not all of these computers have to belong to the attacker. They simply “borrow” them for the breach.
To prevent a DDoS attack, you can track traffic patterns, set up firewalls, and put data centers on different networks.
7. Trojan Horse
A Trojan horse is a malicious program that looks like a legitimate app. It tricks users into installing it on their computers. The infected computer becomes a timebomb that eventually infects the entire system network.
The most common way to spread this type of malware is through email. The email comes from someone a person seems to know, so they don’t worry about downloading an attachment and running it. Trojans can also spread when you click malicious ads.
Once a Trojan virus enters your computer, it can steal data, record logins, and passwords, and obtain access to your files.
8. Rogue Security Software
Rogue security software is one of the most dangerous network security threats because it looks like a legit antivirus solution. When you install the program, you hope it will protect your network. In reality, it does precisely the opposite.
This program tricks you into thinking there is a virus in the computer and starts demanding money to help you get rid of it. Users willingly pay. However, the software can steal sensitive information and wreak havoc on your files instead of keeping their network safe.
While numerous network security threats already exist, cybercriminals are constantly working on new ways to access your computer network. That’s why it’s imperative to stay one step ahead and implement top-notch network protection measures.
With the right approach to cyber hygiene, employee training, software upgrades, and backup, it’s possible to counter network security threats and keep your data safe.