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What Is A Threat In Cyber Security

5 steps to improving your cyber security

What Is A Threat In Cyber Security

A cyber security threat is an act that is malicious in nature, and its objective is to steal and damage data or do any other type of damage digitally. They could be anything like infrastructure infiltrations, breaches in data, spear-phishing, and even brute force. Cyber attacks can also be from threats like viruses and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. These threats are online, and they do not differentiate between individuals and organizations when they are looking for targets. Let us discuss this in further detail.

In the modern world, cyber threats are generally used to indicate information security matters specifically. A cyber attack is an attack by means of cyberspace. Cyber attacks can be extremely dangerous and even put human lives at risk. They can even cause electrical blackouts, breaches of secrets of national security, theft of valuable data like medical records, disrupt communication networks, paralyze systems, make data inaccessible, and even military equipment failure.

 

Types of Cyber Security Threats

Cyber security threats can be of various types depending on how to function, their trigger, the intent, and programming too.  Some of the types of cyber security threats are mentioned below:

  1. Malware: These computer programs are designed to perform malicious tasks on the target device or network. Their aim could be to corrupt and damage the data or even take over the entire system.
  2. Phishing: It involves an attack via email. The recipient of the e-mail is tricked into disclosing confidential information about them or downloading malware by clicking on a hyperlink given in the email. The confidential information could be anything ranging from location to bank details. Phishing is sometimes even done in a manner so that the email looks like it is from a trusted and popular webpage, while in reality, it is fake.
  3. Spear Phishing: It is even more complicated than phishing. The attacker gathers information about the person and then impersonates someone whom the victim knows and trusts. This way, the attacker obtains confidential information about the victim, which he then uses for personal gains or just causing harm.
  4. Man In The Middle (MitM) Attack: The attacker positions himself in the middle of the sender and the recipient in these types of attacks. The attacker uses programs, devices, and other means to intercept electronic messages between the sender and the recipient. The attacker might even change or alter the message while it is in transit. The sender and recipient, in such cases, generally do not even know that their messages are being intercepted. The military often uses such attacks to confuse the enemies.
  5. Trojans: This is a type of computer virus. It is named after the Trojan Horse of Greek History. The Trojan Horse was a gift by the Troys which contained their soldiers who attacked at night. Similarly, this computer program looks like it is performing one task while it is doing something else. It prevents malicious software which harms the target.
  6. Ransomware: This type of attack encrypts the data on the victim system and then demands a ransom in return for allowing the victim to access and take control of their data again. They can be trivial matters but can sometimes be extremely dangerous like taking over the hospital system. One of the most dangerous examples of a ransomware attack is the locking down of Atlanta city’s municipal government data in the year 2018.
  7. Denial of Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): These types of attacks are very different from other cyber security threats. The attacker takes control of a large number of devices (maybe thousands) and then uses them to do a particular task. An example could be to take charge of a huge number of systems and then cause a website to crash. 
  8. Attacks on IoT Devices: IoT devices are vulnerable to many types of cyber threats. They can involve hackers taking control of a device and making it a part of a DDoS attack. The attacker gets unauthorized access to data that is collected by the device. Due to the number of devices, geographical distribution, and obsolete systems, IoT devices are an easy and prime target for malicious software.
  9. Data Breaches: It involves the theft of data by any malicious actor. The motive of such attacks could be criminal in nature or just to cause harm, or even espionage. An example of the criminal nature of data breaches is identity theft. 
  10. Malware on Mobile Apps: Mobile devices are electronic gadgets as well. With everyone accessing the internet over their mobile phones, they are even more prone to cyber-attacks. Attackers embed malware in mobile apps, websites for mobiles, phishing emails, and even text messages. Once the mobile phone is compromised, it can give the malicious software access to location, financial accounts, personal information, and more.

 

What’s New in Cyber Security Threats?

The cyber-world is continuously evolving and changing. Similarly, cyber threats are constantly changing and adapting to better cyber security. Also, millions of programs are created every day; cyber security can’t cope with all the malicious software. Another extremely worrying trend is Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APTs are hackers who hide into the systems and remain persistent, i.e., they cannot be removed by rebooting the system or software updates. 

 

Where Can Cyber Security Threats Come From?

Cyber security threats can arise from almost any digital platform or means. Some sources from where cyber threats generally occur are:

  1. Individuals who have created attack vectors using software tools that are their own.
  2. Criminal organizations that have a large number of employees, almost like a large corporation, develop attack vectors and then execute attacks.
  3. Nation-states develop such programs to intercept enemy and terror attacks. They are sometimes some of the most serious attacks. Some of these attacks are basic espionage attacks, but sometimes they are done to cause disruption as well.
  4. Terrorists use such programs to access sensitive and defense-related information.
  5. Industrial Spies keep a watch on rival companies about their research and developments and new products.
  6. Organized crime groups use malicious actors to track law enforcement and other legal systems.
  7. Unhappy Insiders generally do it just to cause damage and sometimes for personal gains.
  8. Hackers 

 

Many cyber threats are traded on the dark web. The dark web is a criminal segment of the internet that is widespread and disorganized. Hackers can buy ransomware, credentials for breached systems, malware, and other programs. 

Cyber Defense

It is essential for businesses and individuals to ensure cyber security and have a cyber defense mechanism in place.

Some of the tools which businesses can use to enhance their cyber security are:

  1. Outsourced Security Services
  2. Threat Detection Tools
  3. Crowdsourced attack simulation/vulnerability testing tools
  4. Point solutions for device management

For individuals, cyber defense is relatively simple:

  1. Password Hygiene: Use complicated passwords that combine alphabets in upper and lower case, numbers, and special characters.
  2. Anti-Virus software: Use a paid antivirus software and keep it updated.
  3. Be cautious of Phishing attacks: Ensure the genuineness of the e-mails and messages before opening any attachments or clicking on links. 

 

Conclusion

You can learn more about cyber security threats and defense by taking online courses on cyber security. It can help in keeping yourself safe from cyber attacks and leakage of information. Further, getting cyber security training also opens doors and helps you enter into a very promising career with lots of growth opportunities. Great Learning offers courses that can help you get trained and certified. 

Cyber security threats are constantly evolving, and with the increasing reliance on cyberspace, individuals and organisations need to be flexible and adapt to overcome challenges to protect valuable information. 

 

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