Top 5 Threats To Network Security

Network security is becoming an increasingly important issue for companies of all sizes, & the threats to cyber security are real. Let’s examine the top ten network security dangers to your business:

1. Malware/Ransomware

Ransomware Attack

What is Ransomware?  Ransomware is a malware designed to encrypt all computer files & backups.  A ransom payment is demanded in return for the decryption key.  Cyberattackers can be in your systems for months, learning about your network & computer files.  The attacker's place organizations in a position where paying the ransom may be the easiest, cheapest & fastest method to regain access to their computer files.

Every 14 seconds, a business is hit by a ransomware attack. These ransomware attacks are increasing by more than 350% per year, with IoT attacks increasing by 217.5% year over year (YoY) from 2017 to 2018.The introduction of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, allows hackers to demand ransoms anonymously, sparking this tremendous spike in ransomware.

2. Botnets

A botnet is a network of computers infected with malware that are controlled by a bot herder. The bot herder is the person who operates the botnet infrastructure and uses the compromised computers to launch attacks designed to crash a target's network, inject malware, harvest credentials or execute CPU-intensive tasks. These vast networks of infected machines can be controlled remotely & exploited to launch huge attacks.

Common Types of Botnet Attacks:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Brute force attacks

3. Computer Viruses & Worms

The primary difference between a virus & a worm is that viruses must be triggered by the activation of their host; whereas worms are stand-alone malicious programs that can self-replicate & propagate independently as soon as they have breached the system. 

How Does a Computer Get a Virus?

  1. Sharing music, files, or photos with other users.
  2. Visiting an infected website.
  3. Opening spam email or an email attachment.
  4. Downloading free games, toolbars, media players and other system utilities.
  5. Installing mainstream software applications without thoroughly reading license agreements.

How Does a Computer Get a Worm?

Worms can be transmitted via software vulnerabilities. Or computer worms could arrive as attachments in spam emails or instant messages (IMs). Once opened, these files could provide a link to a malicious website or automatically download the computer worm.

Phishing Attacks on your Computer
4. Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a type of cybersecurity attack during which malicious actors send messages pretending to be a trusted person or entity.

Examples of sophisticated phishing attacks where the hacker gained access to their email:
An accounts payable clerk gets an email from a vendor that their banking information has changed, so a change has to be made for their electronic fund transfers (EFT).  The clerk asks that the request be on letterhead.  They quickly send over the request on letterhead.  The change is made & not discovered until the vendor asks for payment, a $400,000 financial loss.

Another example:
A controller was given a request, by the owner, to electronically send $300,000 to a new vendor & supplied the banking information.  This was not an unusual request but he sent an email to the owner to confirm, which he did.  It was not the owner.  Someone gained access to their corporate email & the hacker became familiar with the owner’s diction, manner of emails…

In both of these situations, a simple phone call would have stopped the fraud.

5. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

In a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, multiple compromised computer systems attack a target and cause a denial of service for users of the targeted resource. The target can be a server, website or other network resource.

What are the consequences of a successful DDoS attack? When a public facing website or application is unavailable, that can lead to a loss of customers, lost revenue & brand damage. When business critical applications become unavailable, operations and productivity grind to a halt.

Our approach to cyber security is to have multi-layers of solutions to protect our clients from attacks.  And it also has to do with budgets.  When businesses have not been attacked by hackers, their budget may be less than a business that has been attacked. Priorities change.  A preliminary list is:

  • Ensure all systems are updated
  • Segment and segregate networks and functions
  • Limit unnecessary lateral communications
  • Harden network devices
  • Secure access to infrastructure devices
  • Perform out-of-band (OoB) network management
  • Validate integrity of hardware and software
  • Establish control access to machines and systems
  • Continuous monitor network traffic
  • Cybersecurity training for employees.
  • Air-Gapped Cloud Backups Protect Against Ransomware
  • Phishing Training
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Multi-factor Authentication
  • AntiVirus /AntiSpam
  • Managed Detection & Response

inSync Computer Solutions IT Support & Network Security is tailored for your unique business & includes regulatory compliance strategies & services.