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Top 10 Cyber Security Threats

As our world grows ever more connected through all our devices and online platforms, we’re also increasingly exposed to various cyber security threats. Our personal and financial data, privacy, and even safety can all be on the line if we need help understanding and avoiding the top threats lurking within cyberspace.

As an everyday digital citizen, you should know the top cyber security threats so you don’t get caught by any cyber crimes or hacking attempts. Certified Nerds has gathered the top 10 most dangerous and common cyber security threats that are imposing threats to individuals and businesses globally.

1. Phishing Attacks

Getting an email from your bank asking you to log in looks legitimate. But that unfamiliar link is a sneaky cyber security threat using tricks known as phishing. By imitating real brands, these fake messages fool users into handing over precious login info to cyber criminals, unlocking their money and data.

If you carefully check links and watch for bad spelling, you can catch most phishing scams. But they look more real daily, playing on human weaknesses for cyber scams like phishing to succeed. In the US alone, over $56 million was lost to these email-based threats last year.

2. Ransomware Attacks

Imagine starting your computer to find all files scrambled and useless until you pay money to mysterious hackers. Digitally kidnapped, this scary cyber threat is called ransomware. Through infected links or unexpected downloads, ransomware malware blocks access to your devices by messing up data.

Paying big sums in untraceable cryptocurrency may or may not free your seized tech. Avoiding ransomware means updating software routinely, limiting admin access, enabling multi-factor authentication, and backing up data externally. Nearly 2,400 businesses were hit by ransomware daily last year.

3. Denial-of-Service Attacks

When a website gets overloaded by too many visitors at once, it can crash. That’s what denial-of-service attacks do, slam sites and servers with traffic to take them down and block real access. By hijacking vast networks of devices, hackers strengthen attacks to overwhelm systems. The motives range from digital graffiti to extortion to political messaging.

Preparing filters to catch suspicious traffic helps build resilience against these cyber security threats. But ultimately, capacity gets crushed by massive denial-of-service attacks. In 2021, there was a 300% global increase in DDoS traffic flooding threats.

A diagram illustrating a DDoS attack, showing multiple sources bombarding a target server with a high volume of traffic.

4. SQL Injection Attacks

Structured Query Language (SQL) helps run databases behind the digital scenes. By sneaking bad code into SQL inputs, hackers misuse the hidden data. It’s called SQL injection. Fields like login forms or website search bars allow code stuffing if unsecured.

Test code submissions for errors signaling injection risks. Scrubbing inputs also slow threat actors from stealing information through SQL tricks. In the US last year, SQL injection accounted for over 65 million hacked records.

5. Insider Threats

External hackers grab headlines, but insider threats already have system access. Whether employees, former-staff, contractors, or partners, those inside with company access already have sensitive information and tech keys. They can misuse accounts, intentionally or not, via fraud, mass downloads before quitting, data disputes, or damaging systems from within. Monitoring network use, limiting access, and promptly shutting off ex-worker accounts helps diffuse these cyber security threats.

Even accidental breaches by well-meaning staff warrant ongoing security awareness training. An educated insider is less likely to leak data or create system vulnerabilities unwittingly. But vigilance against malicious misuse is also essential. Threat detection and response measures like activity monitoring and access control minimize risks from insiders, who cause nearly 30% of all cyber security incidents.

Three different types of clouds

6. Supply Chain Compromises

Rather than direct hits, hackers now infiltrate through partners connected to you. Exploiting third-party suppliers and vendors allows backdoor access to bigger targets. No company is an island when providers enable business ecosystems through handy software tools, cloud sharing, and management portals.

Review supplier security closely and rally partners to uphold standards across links. Diversity here counters compromise. 70% of organizations have experienced cyber incidents propagated through supply chains.

7. Internet of Things Hacks

Beyond computing, even more gadgets now transmit data as the Internet of Things (IoT) – from appliances to vehicles to infrastructure. But these web-connected “smart” devices also enable hacks via simple passwords. When controlled as botnets, hacked IoT devices took down Internet systems in massive 2016 attacks. Separating IoT devices shields control while updates and complex passwords heighten protection against rising connectivity risks. As the prevalence of IoT expands, so do cyber security threats targeting interconnected weaknesses in the ecosystem.

8. Cloud Service Attacks

Migrating data storage, software, and computing ease to the cloud allows flexibility and collaboration. But mistakes in these handy tools also risk exposing data through misconfigurations on either providers’ or users’ ends. Still, shared systems protect companies against risks of leakage, hijacking, and denial of service.

Turn on multi-factor authentication and keep the software patched. According to IBM’s research, 95% of cloud security failures are traced back to the customer.

A network of servers providing scalable and flexible computing resources for businesses and individuals.

9. Mobile Endpoint Risks

Phones and tablets enable work and life with convenient connectivity at the cost of security gaps from risky WiFi to reused passwords. Employers now extensively onboard endpoint security  measures like mobile device defense configurations plus employee training to offset these neglected risks. Updates patch unseen defects. Remote data wiping rapidly responds if devices get lost or stolen. Over 80% of surveyed IT experts reported seeing WiFi exploits or mobile malware infections monthly.

10. Social Engineering

Beyond technical threats, human thinking allows for manipulation into security breaches via “social engineering.” Tricky phishing emails are one tactic. Fake customer service calls or links stealing login info also exploit human tendencies. Understanding how our minds can be tricked guards against those who take advantage.

Technology protection plus security awareness training reminds employees of suspicious sites, surprise messages, and offers that seem too good to be true. A healthy skepticism makes organizations less likely to fall for tricks.

Conclusion

Businesses now have to deal with a variety of cyber security risks. Every threat, however, has potential preventative measures that could shield computer systems, networks, and data. Using an extensive cyber security platform like Certified Nerds  one can save a company from all of these risks.

Staying safe online means knowing the risks. Now you’re aware of the top 10 cyber security threats – from phishing and ransomware to mobile and manipulation tricks.

With vigilance, we can keep our digital lives secure. Have any other questions? Contact us now!

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