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Secure Data Protection

8 Top Cybersecurity Threats to Your Business

January 28, 2022

5 minutes

8 Top Cybersecurity Threats to Businesses Today | Sharks pictured from below in dark ocean

Cybersecurity threats are always changing, in terms of the techniques used by hackers and the vectors through which they are delivered.

Understanding attack vectors is important because cybercriminals exploit vectors which are frequently left unprotected by organizations today.

Here are some of the most common cybersecurity threat vectors that are used by bad actors to steal information from businesses today.

1. Social Engineering

A social engineering attack is especially dangerous because anyone can be the victim of one and it can snowball into a larger breach that compromises the entire organization.

Though social engineering attacks can come in many forms, the most common is through phishing tactics, which account for 80% of all social engineering attacks and 94% of malware attacks.

Phishing attacks come from all forms of communication, including emails, text messages, and phone calls.

The goal of these attacks is to trick somebody into willingly giving away sensitive information, usually by having them click on dangerous links by posing as a supposed legitimate person or entity.

These emails can ask to confirm your password, identity, or payment information, or warn you about something wrong with your account and ask you to click a link to confirm a piece of information.

Some clear signs of a phishing attempt are:

  • Suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • Claiming there’s a problem with an account or payment
  • Asking to confirm personal information outside of usual channels
  • Including a fake invoice
  • Clicking any links to confirm payment or information
  • Mentioning free offers or eligibility for offers

2. Web Application Attacks

Web application attacks can be harmful to businesses by compromising frequently used website and applications with harmful code.

Nearly all web application attacks are the result of hacking and use network servers as their main target.

Using tactics like cross-site scripting (making up 40% of all cyberattacks), SQL injection, and DDoS attacks, these threats compromise the code of a common web application to either target the application itself or the users, stealing information from user accounts, or implanting malicious malware via links or downloads on the application.

The goal of threats like web application attacks are typically financially motivated, with 89% of attacks targeting money. The information most compromised by these attacks is credentials (80%) and personal data (54%).

3. System Intrusion

System intrusion attacks are complex, multi-step attacks which involve malware (70% of the time), ransomware, and hacking (40%).

Ransomware attacks have increased nearly 10% since 2016.

When we say “multi-step”, this typically means there are multiple attacks involved in the success of the main intrusion onto a business network. For example, it may start with a social engineering attack which obtains access codes and credentials to allow the main attack to occur.

95% of the time system intrusion attacks are financially motivated—payment information like credit cards and bank accounts—but will also generally target data that will be detrimental to the victim organization’s overall operation.

8 Top Cybersecurity Threats to Businesses Today | What are the biggest threats to business security?

4. Miscellaneous Errors

Humans make errors, that’s just a part of life and, unfortunately, sometimes that leads to cybersecurity risks for businesses.

The vast majority of errors (90%) result in stolen personal data like passwords, financial information, and identity information.

One of the unique parts of the miscellaneous errors category of cyberthreats is that it is not exclusively digital.

25% of error-related threats are due to misdelivery of paper documents, exposing sensitive information.

5. Privilege Misuse

Privilege misuse often involves the misuse of access privileges by stealing data to sell, hold for ransom, or use in other malicious ways.

It can also be the result of stolen credentials, unauthorized access, or simple abuse of privilege by an employee.

This is not to be confused with miscellaneous errors above which usually just involve an innocent mistake—privilege misuse is an intentional misuse of credentials.

These attacks are typically financially motivated (64% of the time), but also involve other motivators like espionage (9%) and some personal motivators such as grudges (14%), or simply for “fun” (17%).

Defending against privilege misuse can be tough because you never know who has malicious intentions, but stronger access controls and monitoring can help by limiting what people have access to and having a better idea of who is accessing what and when.

6. Lost and Stolen Assets

With more people working remotely, businesses are using (and losing) more devices and it’s a common cause of cybersecurity threats.

Cellphones, laptops, USB drives, CDs, and documents are easily lost or stolen, leading to compromised data and information.

One of the trends of the last few years gives a nod to the digitization of the workplace as lost media (documents) are being replaced as the main source of lost or stolen assets by user devices (laptops, phones, etc.)

Phishing makes up over 80% of all social engineering attacks.

7. Denial of Service

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are intended to compromise the availability of a network or system by flooding it with requests, leaving it unable to execute requests from actual users.

DoS attacks are easily beaten back by businesses and represent a small slice of the cyberthreat landscape, with only 4 incidents out of 14,335 resulting in data disclosure.

This is because much of the brute force attempted by a DoS attack is mitigated by the steps those requests must take to reach your network.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs), and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) all help block these malicious requests and mitigate the strength of the attack.

Generally, these types of cyberthreats aren’t much of a concern for businesses with standard amounts of cybersecurity processes designed to stop them.

8. Everything Else

Last comes the threats that occur infrequently enough that they don’t fall into any established categories.

Many of these are physical breaches and incidents like skimming ATM machines or gas pumps (threats which are declining drastically), or environmental causes (fires, hurricanes, and tornados) which leave data unprotected and quite literally scattered around the ground in these cases.

Bottom Line

Cyberthreats are always changing and year to year, it’s important to stay up to date on what hackers are doing to access and steal sensitive data to be better prepared at fending them off.

Whether it be shoring up cybersecurity with new antivirus software and firewalls or educating workers on best practices to avoid lost devices, phishing, and errors, giving more attention to your business’ security measures can help across the board in stopping these threats before it’s too late.

It’s not easy to stay on top of it all and juggle all the updates, technology, and policies necessary to understand the scope of cybersecurity threats today.

To help, consider partnering with a managed security services provider like DOT Security to give yourself much needed help from industry experts who can help manage everything involved in establishing and maintaining business security.

Contact us today to learn more.