Top Cybersecurity Threats to Watch Out For

In 2021, hackers launched a series of cyber assaults that were extraordinarily organized and considerably more sophisticated than ever before. You may have heard about the recent cybersecurity problems that have affected some of the world’s major corporations. Because of the COVID-19 epidemic and the shift to a ‘hybrid’ culture in response, cybersecurity threats, technologies, and business models have grown more numerous. Cyber attacks target everyone, but specific trends suggest that small companies are the most frequent targets.

With so much information being shared online, cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever to access our personal data. So it’s vital to stay a step ahead by understanding what dangers we’re up against and how to defend ourselves from them.

Third-Party Exposure:

Third-party exposure is one of the most prevalent cyber concerns. In other words, your data is only as secure as the organization’s security measures you share it with. If a company you do business with experiences a data breach, your information could be compromised as well.

In 2021, a third-party violation was the most serious data leak case, when hackers divulged personal information from around 214 million social media accounts. The criminals got access to the data by infringing a third-party contractor named Socialarks that operated on behalf of all three firms and had confidential ingress rights to their networks.

It’s in times like these when degrees of separation matter. The more organizations you share your information with, the greater the chances of ending up in the wrong hands. However, the decision of who you’ll give your information to is yours. Just make sure they have adequate security measures in place.

However, there are a few options to protect your data. You can consult an expert with an online master’s in cybersecurity program to help you stay ahead of the curve and safeguard your information.

Configuration Mistakes:

Another common cyber threat is configuration mistakes. A recent study of over 100 organizations revealed that, on average, each company had 19 critical security errors in their network infrastructure. That’s one mistake for every five devices on the network!

What’s more, these configuration errors can have a cascading effect, leading to even more serious vulnerabilities. An adversary with access to one device on the network may frequently use that to your advantage to launch additional assaults and gain entry to other devices.

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To safeguard yourself against this type of threat, it’s crucial to have a robust system in place for managing your organization’s configurations. You should also regularly audit your systems for errors and take steps to fix them as soon as possible.

In addition, you can also take steps to secure your devices by using strong passwords, disabling unnecessary services, and installing security patches.

Malware:

Malware is a type of software designed to harm or disable computers. It can be installed through malicious emails, websites, or attachments. Once it’s on the computer, it can do various things such as steal data, track keystrokes, or even lock the computer until a ransom is paid.

One of the most common types of malware is ransomware. This type of malware encrypts all the files on an infected computer and then demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In 2021, ransomware was responsible for over $11 billion in damages worldwide.

To protect yourself against ransomware, it’s essential to have a good antivirus program installed on your computer and to keep it up-to-date. You should also be cautious about the websites you visit and the attachments you open. And, of course, always make sure to back up your data regularly.

Phishing:

Phishing is a social engineering attack involving sending fraudulent emails or messages to steal personal information. The emails can look very convincing and often include links or attachments that download malware onto the victim’s computer.

In 2021, phishing was responsible for over $500 million in damages worldwide. However, this number is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Many victims don’t report these attacks because they’re embarrassed or don’t know how to.

According to a 2021 poll of 1,263 cybersecurity experts, 66% reported that their businesses had suffered significant revenue loss due to a ransomware assault. 

To protect yourself from phishing attacks, it’s important to be vigilant about what emails you open and what attachments you download. Always double-check the authenticity of any email by checking for typos or other fraud indicators in the sender’s email address, as well as comparing it to a genuine source. And never respond to an email asking for your personal information.

Social Engineering:

In addition to phishing, social engineering is another type of attack involving deceiving people to reveal sensitive information. Social engineers often use pretexting, shoulder surfing, and dumpster diving to gain access to confidential data.

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When an attacker calls a victim and pretends to be from their bank or credit card company, that’s one type of social engineering. The trickster will then entice the victim to disclose their account number or other critical information.

In 2022, social engineering attacks like phishing and email impersonation are likely to change to consider new trends, methods, and tactics. Cryptocurrency-related assaults increased by almost 200% between October 2020 and April 2021. They will continue to be a significant worry as Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies grow in popularity and value.

To protect yourself from social engineering attacks, it’s essential to be aware of attackers’ tactics. You should also never give your personal information to someone you don’t know and trust. If you’re ever unsure about anything, err on the side of caution and reach out to a trustworthy friend or family member.

Mobile Device Vulnerabilities:

As the world increasingly relies on cell phones for everything from banking to shopping to social media, these devices are becoming increasingly appealing targets for attackers. In 2021, there were over 16 million reported cases of mobile device fraud.

Unsecured Wi-Fi connections are among the most frequent ways for attackers to access mobile devices. When you connect to an unsecured network, all of your traffic is vulnerable to being intercepted by someone else on the same network. This means that an attacker could potentially see or modify the data you’re sending and receiving.

Another way that attackers can gain access to your mobile device is through malicious apps. These apps can look legitimate but are designed to steal your personal information or infect your device with malware.

To protect yourself from mobile device vulnerabilities, it’s important to only connect to secure Wi-Fi networks. You must also be careful about which apps you download and only install apps from trusted sources. 

Stay on Top of It All:

While it’s impossible to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of cybercrime entirely, you can significantly lower your risk of being assaulted by learning about the most prevalent hazards and taking precautions. Adequate insurance can also help to protect your business in the event of a data breach.

Stay vigilant and stay safe!

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