Do you know that around 98 percent of businesses have already experienced cyber attacks in one form or another? Any form of attack that is intentional exploitation of various computer systems, technology-based enterprises, and networks can be broadly termed as a cyber-attack. These cyber attacks mainly use malicious codes to modify data, computer code, or logic.
Employees should be trained enough to be on the lookout for spotting a suspicious activity online. And they should also know how to respond to such an attack then. Since we are talking about how advanced and refined these attacks have become, you should know that cyber attacks have reached setups like Sony, Adobe, HughesNet Satellite Internet, Marriott Hotels, and the list goes on.
Therefore, it’s high time that you educate your employees about different kinds of cyber-attacks and their destructive consequences. To save yourself from incidents of compromised data, promulgate sensitive info, and identity thefts, take a proactive approach toward prevention of these attacks.
7 Most Prevalent Cyber Attacks
- Social Media Attacks.
- Password Cracking Attacks.
- Drive-By Downloads.
Let’s discuss them in detail.
It is actually a portmanteau for all sorts of “malicious software”. A software that intrudes a device secretly without the knowledge of the user. Malware can infect your devices in multiple ways. For instance:
- It can download software that is probably infested secretly with malware.
- It can enter your system as you click a link or a pop-up window.
- Malware can also enter your system on opening email attachments.
- It can come from visiting a malware-infected site.
Hackers design worms, viruses, Trojan horses, and various other forms of disruptive software to destroy or encrypt their important files.
Get your hands on the right type of software to save your data. Anti-virus is pretty basic. We are talking about setting up effective firewalls. You also need to keep those firewalls updated frequently. Outdated software becomes an easy target for hackers.
The second cyber attack on our list is phishing. It relies heavily on text messaging, email communication, and social media. Cybercriminals use social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others to figure out pertinent info about victims. And then, they use this acquired info to tailor messages which would trick these individuals into divulging their personal as well as financial info.
Phishing websites and emails include a link that conveniently directs the individual to the target site where they can easily steal their confidential info.
Social Media Attacks
Have you ever witnessed a Facebook post where one of your friends or family members are strangely hawking watches? It’s a clear sign that they have become a victim of a social media attack. These attacks are typically designed as invitations to play games or as friend requests. Accepting those invites allow the attackers to get excessive access to the user’s profile and they can take advantage of the info provided.
You should know that Facebook doesn’t essentially require a registered email address in order to sign up. Not anymore. It is almost effortless to create a fake profile in any authentic user’s name. People from the victim’s friend list would readily accept the request from a fake profile and wouldn’t bother to probe much. This also includes social media accounts of popular brands and companies. Make it a frequent practice to educate your employees not to share passwords and any other confidential info. Your social media managers should be capable of figuring out if their profiles have been hijacked.
Password Cracking Attacks
Also called password-based attacks, hackers use these attacks to gain access to secure accounts. They make use of password-cracking programs and software, which are very efficient. Such software can test thousands of password combinations to crack and access accounts. These attempts are becoming more and more successful because the rules of creating passwords are becoming less secure.
These machines follow predictable password patterns and combos as instructed by social media sites. Some instances of these instructions are adding a special character, a capital letter, a number, and so on. These instructions are usually common across most of the accounts, whether they are on social media, email, or otherwise. Break into accounts becomes easy with these machines.
One approach to ensure better security is by using legitimately random passwords. Avoid using your street number, date of birth, and other easily guess-able info. Having a long password is also a good idea to avoid these guesses. Consider having different passwords for personal and business accounts. Also, make it a regular practice to change them.
It is a branch of malware. As the name indicates, this attack involves ransom. Once it is active, your computer/device will be locked completely until you pay a certain amount. However, paying the ransom is not encouraged. Because in most cases there is no guarantee of getting your files or data unlocked after you have paid them.
Yet another form of malware! Malvertising involves uploading infected ads to various online forums and websites. Once the user clicks the ad, the malware starts downloading automatically and infects the whole device. Any and every website can fall victim to this type of cyber-attack.
You should think several times before clicking an advertisement on websites. Always make sure you are clicking a secure ad.
This cyber attack happens when a malicious program/file is downloaded to a user’s computer or device. It is installed simply by visiting one of the infected websites. It’s hard to suggest a precaution to avoid this type of cyber-attacks because it doesn’t involve human error.
The only preemptive measure that you can take for these attacks is to keep all your security software, anti-virus, and firewalls updated and running.
How to Prevent Cyber Attacks
Here are some easy tips for better security. These would work for all the aforementioned types of cyber-attacks.
- Protect your network with a strong password.
- Avoid saving all your important passwords in the web browsers.
- Come up with difficult, hard-to-guess passwords using your creativity.
- When creating a password, always choose a subtle mix of special characters, numbers, symbols, and letters.
- Ensure having all your security programs and firewalls updated.
- Avoid any unnecessary clicks. Seemingly harmless social media blogs and pop-up ads can be hotspots for phishing and malware.
- Check for grammar errors, poor spellings, and misleading domain names.
- Never send your personal and confidential info to anyone. Unless you are more than 100% sure that it is a legitimate source.
While it is practically impossible to eliminate all sorts of cyber attacks. Still, having an actionable and comprehensive approach is crucial to mitigate these impending risks. For instance, I was working on my home computer on a project that I had to present the next day. And I saw a pop-up ad about a major, limited-time discount on my current HughesNet package. It was hard to resist clicking it but thankfully, I dialed Hughesnet internet customer service to confirm first. They had no such discount offer which means I had a narrow escape from a cyber-attack!