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Cybersecurity has become a crucial part of the digital world. Businesses and governments around the globe invest heavily in multiple layers of digital protection to keep their data confidential. Additionally, individuals take precautionary measures to safeguard personal information from cyber breaches. But the best way to conquer your enemy is to understand them. That is why we have decided to explore the top cyber security threats known to businesses today.

This insight, along with comprehensive managed cyber security services, will help you assess the risk your data is exposed to as well as how to keep your data secure. In this article, we’ll cover ransomware, IoT attacks, phishing, and more, ensuring that you walk away better equipped to protect your business.

What are Cyber Security Threats?

Cyber security threats are digital dangers that could harm your business. They come in many forms, the most common ones being:

The Most Common Cyber Security Threats Today

Staying up-to-date with the latest cyber threats and having a robust security strategy in place can help minimise risks. But constant vigilance and employee education are also necessary to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime.

A visual representation of cyber security threats

#1: Phishing and social engineering attacks

Phishing and other social engineering techniques are some of the biggest threats businesses face. These attacks aim to manipulate people into sharing sensitive data or installing malware.

According to research, more than 90% of all cyber attacks begin with phishing. Phishing emails, malicious websites, and scams where attackers pose as trusted sources are common ways businesses fall victim to cyber security breaches.

Employees are usually the weakest link in security, hence training them to spot phishing attempts is critical. Educate your team on signs like poor grammar, requests for sensitive info, and links/attachments from unknown senders.

By enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible and implementing complex passwords, you make it harder for attackers to access accounts even if they trick someone into sharing their login credentials.

You should also monitor for signs of compromise like unexplained login alerts or requests for money and take action immediately if an attack is detected.

With phishing and social engineering on the rise, vigilance and education are key. Help your employees develop a healthy scepticism of unsolicited requests and an understanding of the threats faced.

#2: Ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks are one of the top cyber security threats businesses face today. Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts your files and holds them hostage until you pay a ransom to unlock them. Cybercriminals will often demand payment in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to avoid being traced.

Once your system is infected, the ransomware will lock you out of your files and may also lock you out of your computer systems. A message will appear with instructions on how to pay the ransom to unlock your data. If you don’t pay, the hackers threaten to delete your files permanently.

Ransomware attacks are often carried out using phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or links. When an employee clicks the attachment or link, it secretly downloads the ransomware onto the system. The ransomware then spreads to shared drives and servers, encrypting as many files as possible before activating the ransom message.

Ransomware attack prevention tips

Ransomware attacks are becoming more targeted and sophisticated over time. To prevent them, you must monitor ongoing trends or hire cyber security specialists to take over.

Protect Your Business from Cyber Security Threats

#3: Insider threats

Insider threats pose a significant risk to companies and can be difficult to detect. An insider threat refers to a security incident instigated from within the organisation, often by employees, former employees, contractors or business partners, who have inside access to sensitive data and computer systems.

According to industry reports, insider threats account for over 60% of security incidents. The most common types of insider threats are:

Insider threat mitigation tips

#4: Cloud security threats

Cloud technology offers many benefits for businesses, including reduced costs and increased efficiency. However, it also introduces new cyber threats that companies must defend against.

Misconfiguration of cloud platforms is a major concern. If not properly configured, sensitive data and applications may be left exposed. Be sure to enable encryption, strong access controls and auditing on all cloud services.

Shared technology vulnerabilities are also problematic. Because cloud infrastructure is shared between customers, any vulnerabilities in the underlying hardware or software could potentially be exploited to target your data and systems. Ask your cloud provider about their security practices and patch management policies.

Data breaches are a serious threat. Once data is uploaded to the cloud, it can be difficult to control where it ends up and who has access to it. Use encryption and access controls to limit access to data, and carefully monitor how third-party cloud providers handle and secure your data.

An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a stealthy network attack in which hackers gain access to your network and stay there undetected for a long period. APTs target companies to steal data and intellectual property and access critical systems. Be on high alert for signs of APTs in your cloud network. Another additional layer of protection would be to reach out to cloud development consultants for an audit and advice.

#5: Internet of Things (IoT) attacks

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of connected devices like smart home gadgets, wearables and vehicles that are connected to the internet.

Based on the most recent data, around 15.14 billion IoT devices are currently in use. This number is anticipated to nearly double, reaching 29.42 billion by the year 2030. Unfortunately, many of these devices have poor security and are easy targets for hackers.

Close up view of system hacking

Cybercriminals can gain access to IoT devices through unsecured Wi-Fi networks or by cracking weak passwords and default logins. Once inside, hackers can launch DDoS attacks, steal personal data, deploy malware, and even take control of devices.

The massive DDoS attack on Dyn in 2016 was launched from hundreds of thousands of compromised IoT devices like webcams, DVRs, and routers.

IoT attack protection tips

As more aspects of our personal and work lives become connected, IoT security must be a top priority. Individuals and businesses need to take proactive steps to safeguard these devices from intrusion and compromise. Strong passwords, network segmentation, software updates and user education are key to securing the IoT landscape in 2024 and beyond.

#6: Supply chain attacks

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting companies by infiltrating their supply chains. Rather than attack a business directly, hackers compromise third-party suppliers or contractors to gain access to sensitive data and deploy malware. These supply chain attacks are difficult to detect and can inflict widespread damage.

As a business owner, you need to identify where your organisation is vulnerable.

You should review contracts with third parties to ensure they adhere to strict security and privacy policies. It may also help to diversify your supplier base so you’re not reliant on any single vendor.

Supply chain risks aren’t limited to vendors and staff. Also consider the security of any open-source software, third-party applications, or development tools used by your company. These resources could contain vulnerabilities that threaten your infrastructure and customers.

Protect Your Business from Cyber Security Threats

#7: AI-Powered Cyber Attacks

Cybercriminals are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to launch more sophisticated attacks. AI systems can detect vulnerabilities in networks and systems faster than humans. They can also generate highly targeted phishing emails and malicious software designed to evade detection.

Some of the ways AI is being used for cyber attacks include:

Overall, AI has the potential to make our digital lives more efficient and secure. But as with any technology, AI can also be used to harm individuals and organizations.

By understanding how AI may be used against your business and taking appropriate countermeasures, you can help reduce the risks of a damaging AI-related cyber attack. Staying one step ahead of cyber criminals and their evolving AI-enabled arsenal is key.

Useful reading: Guide to AI in Software Development

#8: Mobile security threats

As mobile apps become increasingly ubiquitous, cybercriminals are targeting them more frequently. Your smartphones and tablets contain a treasure trove of data and access that hackers covet. Be on the lookout for these common mobile threats:

  1. Malware – Malicious software like viruses, worms, and trojans are on mobile platforms. They can steal data, install other malware, or take control of your device. To prevent this, make sure to only download apps from trusted sources like official app stores.
  2. Phishing – Fraudulent text messages, phone calls, and phishing websites are being used to trick people into providing login credentials, account numbers, or wire transfers. Never click links or provide sensitive data to unsolicited requests.
  3. Public Wi-Fi networks – Free public Wi-Fi hotspots are a playground for hackers. They can snoop on your online activity and personal data. Avoid conducting sensitive work or financial transactions on public networks. If you must use one, enable a VPN to encrypt your connection.
  4. Lost or stolen devices – If your mobile device is lost or stolen, your personal information is at risk. Enable device security features like strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and remote wipe capabilities which allow you to remotely delete data from a misplaced device.

As companies adopt “bring your own device” policies, mobile security threats are becoming a bigger problem. Educate your employees about safe mobile practices and deploy mobile device software management. Regularly check for operating system and software updates which often contain important security patches.

AI-generated illustration of mobile devices as subject to cyber security threats

#9: Deepfake technology and information warfare

Deepfake technology uses artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential for deception. As deepfake technology becomes more advanced and accessible, it poses a serious threat to businesses.

In 2024, deepfake technology will allow attackers to impersonate executives or employees in video calls or recordings to trick employees into providing sensitive data or access. They may generate fake audio clips of executives’ voices to authorize fraudulent financial transactions or access.

Deepfakes can also be used to spread misinformation about a company to damage its reputation and stock price. The attackers can generate and spread convincing fake news articles, social media posts, images or videos about the company. By the time the company responds and debunks the deepfakes, the damage may already be done.

Deepfake prevention tips

Defending against deepfakes will require a combination of technological and human solutions. Businesses need to invest in digital forensics tools and experts who can detect deepfakes. They also need to educate employees on deepfake threats so they remain sceptical of unverified information.

Biometric authentication for sensitive data and transactions can also help reduce the risk of deepfake impersonation. Carefully controlling public information about executives and employees makes it more difficult for attackers to train AI systems to generate convincing deepfakes.

While deepfake technology continues to progress rapidly, businesses must keep up by making deepfake defence an integral part of their cybersecurity strategy. Failing to do so will leave them vulnerable to deception and manipulation that undermines their operations, finances, and reputation.

#10: State-sponsored cyber attacks

State-sponsored cyber attacks are hacking attempts carried out by foreign governments targeting businesses and critical infrastructure. State-sponsored groups may increase efforts to infiltrate systems and steal data as geopolitical tensions rise.

These advanced persistent threat (APT) groups often have significant resources and funding, making their attacks difficult to detect and mitigate. They aim to gain access to sensitive data and intellectual property to gain a political, economic, or military advantage.

Some warning signs of a state-sponsored attack include:

Defending against state-sponsored groups requires constant monitoring and updating of systems and software. Multi-factor authentication, data encryption, employee education, and regular risk assessments can also help reduce the likelihood of a successful attack. However, due to the advanced capabilities of these threat actors, even organizations with strong cyber security measures in place remain at risk.

The political motivations and available resources of state-sponsored groups pose a serious threat to businesses and infrastructure worldwide. Their attacks are often stealthy, and targeted, and can have devastating consequences.

FAQs

Cyber security threats are evolving and expanding rapidly. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the top threats your business may face:

What is phishing?

Phishing is when scammers use fraudulent emails, texts, or phone calls to trick you into providing sensitive data like account numbers, passwords, or credit card numbers. Phishing attempts are a major threat because they rely on human error and manipulation.

What are ransomware attacks?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts your files or locks you out of your computer. The attackers then demand a ransom payment to decrypt your files or unlock your system. Ransomware attacks have become more targeted and expensive.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information like your social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, etc. and uses it to open accounts, file for loans, or commit tax fraud in your name. Identity theft can have devastating long-term impacts on victims.

What are DDoS attacks?

A DDoS or distributed denial-of-service attack is when attackers flood your network or website with traffic to overload your servers and disrupt access. DDoS attacks can cost businesses millions in lost revenue and productivity.

What is social engineering?

Social engineering refers to the techniques attackers use to manipulate people into divulging confidential information or performing actions like wire transfers or password resets. Social engineering exploits human vulnerabilities like curiosity, courtesy, and trust.

How can I protect my business?

The best way to protect against cyber security threats is through a multi-layered security strategy including strong passwords, two-factor authentication, employee cyber security training, keeping software up to date, monitoring for vulnerabilities and signs of compromise, and having a disaster recovery plan in place. Prevention and education are key.

Conclusion

Keep your software patched and updated, invest in top-notch security solutions, establish solid incident response plans, and ensure your employees are trained to recognize risks. With some smart moves on your end and a trusted partner like Capaciteam by your side, you can help prevent the most common cyber security threats expected to plague businesses in 2024. Stay proactive and your business can continue thriving in our increasingly digital world.

Protect Your Business from Cyber Security Threats