Most common cybersecurity threats

Most Common Cybersecurity Threats

Ask 10 cybersecurity companies which are the most common threats and you’ll get 10 different lists. That’s not because any of them are “wrong” but because there are so many ways to classify threats and so many different terms.

The easiest way to understand the most common cybersecurity threats is to categorize them in two ways: what the threat tries to do to your computer or network and how it tries to do it. Here are the most common in each.


Cybersecurity Threats – What they do

Access your data/Gain control of your systems

Both of these are among the most “traditional” goals of malware (malicious software such as viruses). The big prize is remote code execution that gives an attacker the ability to run malicious software directly on the computer.

Make your site/system unusable

One such tactic is ransomware, which means encrypting your files so you can’t access them and then demanding a payment to restore access. Another is a Denial of Service (DoS) attack: flooding a server with bogus data requests to overload it, for instance, to knock a website offline.

Use your resources for other attacks

This is the key to a botnet, a network of infected machines around the world that scammers can use to distribute new malware or carry out DoS attacks.


Cybersecurity Threats – How they do it


This sub-category covers the ways scammers try to trick users into handing over sensitive data. Phishing most usually involves a bogus email or lookalike website that the victim thinks is genuine and then types in login details or other information. Spear phishing is where the scammers go after a specific target, often with personalized messages.

Brute force

This can involve repeated attempts to guess log-in details either on a site or through a leaked (but encrypted) password database. To shorten the process, attackers will often start by running through a dictionary which is why passwords that only consist of real worlds are particularly insecure. Longer passwords and those which include numbers and symbols will dramatically increase the time it takes such methods to work, giving more opportunity for the attack to be discovered and passwords changed.

Exploit software bugs

Some of the most prized security flaws for scammers include bugs in web browsers that allow remote access to a computer, and bugs which allow a rogue application to access parts of the computer memory that should be off-limits.

Intercept/interfere with network communications

These attacks involve accessing data as it travels from computer to computer, either on an internal network or on the Internet, rather than accessing the computers themselves. This risk is why many websites use secure connections that encrypt data.

Cybersecurity – The big picture

While hacking trends rise and fall, most cybersecurity threats fall into the categories we’ve described. The problem is that the variety of attack methods and goals means you can’t rely on a single line of defense. Instead, you need a broad package of security measures that cover multiple goals and methods.

Contact CPI Solutions today to learn more about how we can assess the particular threats you face and the most effective arsenal of weapons to defeat them.

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