Key Cyber Risks and Threats

Open source Incident Response Tools

No matter how small your business is, there should be an awareness and basic understanding of the threats posed in the cyber-world. It will protect your digital assets, intellectual property, business reputations and the business itself. Any information stored on your systems might be interesting to cyber criminals to steal. It could be an individual or a small company. The current top five key cyber threats are given below with brief explanation. 

1. Ransomware 

It is a form of malware that attempts to encrypt the victim’s data and then extort a ransom to release an unlock code. The common vector that ransomware can take to access is through phishing emails attached with some files. Once these files are downloaded in the victim’s computer, it will take over the computer by stealing data. There are many different danger ransomware such as Sodinokibu, Maze , Mac, Crypto ransomware and many more. It is very important to take key steps to protect your company.  

  • Cybersecurity awareness and training: All the staff and third party vendors should be given some knowledge and awareness regarding suspicious emails and texts.  
  • Malware protection: There are good antivirus and malware protection software in the market to buy and to prevent from the ransomware attacks.  
  • Software updates and patch: Every day there is a new attack, new changes in software and technologies. It is very important to update your software and applications up to date.  
  • Data backups: In the worst case scenario, data backups will play an important role to protect a company’s sensitive data. However the Maze ransomware does not allow the victims to reset and restore their data from backups. Thus, taking preventive measures is always better than responding after the ransomware attacks.   

 2. Phishing 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $57 millions to phishing schemes in one year. The main reason why people fall under such scam is because they do not have any cybersecurity awareness and they tend to share their sensitive data to these scam emails and phones. People are not aware how cyber criminals misuse their personal data in Dark Web. Here are a few steps you can use to protect yourself. 

  • Make use of anti-virus software 
  • Make sure to have spam filters turned on and check them regularly in case they have accidentally trapped innocent emails.  
  • Do not click on any links listed in the email message, and do not open any attachments contained in a suspicious email. 
  • For US-CERT Security Tip: Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks. 

 3. Data leakage 

The unauthorized transmission of data from within an organization to an external destination or recipient is known as a Data leakage. It can be transferred electronically or physically. Data leakage threats usually occur through the web and email and mobile data storage devices such as optical media, USB keys, and laptops. It is a huge problem for data security, and it damages any organizations regardless of size of the company and as well as an individual. The following steps are some preventive measures to protect from data leakage.  

  • Ensure that you have strong mobile passcodes.  
  • If your device is lost, make sure to have data backup restored and also to wipe out the data in the loose device remotely.  
  • Be aware of any phishing emails or text messages.  
  • Make sure to keep an update with your bank and credit card statement.  

 4. Hacking 

Hacking is an unauthorized access to or control over computer network security systems for some illegal purposes. The one who is intelligent and highly skilled in computers. The main target of hackers are financial institutions, attempting to gain access over bank accounts, steal data to make fake credit cards and to sell it on the dark web. The use of phishing emails and social engineering, tricking staff and users into revealing usernames and passwords, remains a threat.  

  • Make sure to turn on Firewall in your devices.  
  • Never give your sensitive data in phone calls.  
  • User awareness and training programs should be provided. 

 5. Inside Threat  

 Someone close to an organization, with authorized access to some data and operators, misuses the authority for personal gain including for fun, or financial gain. Such a type of person is called an Inside threat. This person does not have to be an employee, this person could be a third party vendor, contractor, and a partner could pose a threat as well. According to Accenture, 69% says their organizations have experienced an attempted or successful threat or corruption of data in the last 12 months. To mitigate the size of any data leak, these below steps can be taken. 

  • Limit how much data staff has access to. The principle of ‘least privilege access’ should apply to all IT systems.  
  • Control the use of portable storage devices, such as USB memory keys, portable hard drives and media players. 
  • Consider using applications in certain situations to monitor staff behavior − who copies what.