Cyber Security Threats to your Business
It’s vital that you are pro-active when it comes to cyber-security. Your IT support team should be keeping your protection up to date at all times to stop any of the following threats getting a chance to wreak havoc on your business.
A virus is a piece of software that infects a computer and then duplicates its code in order to delete files, wipe the hard disk or lock the device. They can be programmed to affect almost anything – these are just a few examples. They are also easy to spread using removable media, emails or downloads. The worst case scenario is endangerment of your business by destroying productivity, releasing sensitive data or crashing devices.
Spam refers to a very common form of unsolicited message received via email. They are largely nonthreatening, but can still cause annoyance by cluttering your inbox and reducing mail storage.
Spam is more of an inconvenience than a true threat, as users have to spend time deleting messages. There is also some minor system slowdown if spam is allowed to build up in email servers.
SPOOFING, PHISHING AND PHARMING
Spoofing is when a person or website pretends to be someone or something else in order to convince you to reveal important details or data about you, your business or your clients.
Phishing is basically another form of spoofing that uses email to convince users to click on links which direct them to fake websites requesting various personal details. They can also be attachments to emails which install malware or other malicious programs when clicked on. This article on phishing details the signs that will tell you that an email is a phishing attack.
Pharming is when hackers alter web traffic so that it goes to a site that they own, and then request personal information. Although these attacks can be easily avoided if the user is aware of the threat, if an attempt is successful, the hacker can steal money or important information from the victim.
CEO Fraud is when someone phones or emails a business, pretending to be the CEO or someone of similar importance and tries to trick them into giving up information or large sums of money.
The only way to deal with this type of attack is to be wary of any suspicious calls or emails, as it works by tricking victims rather than by using any type of technology.
SPYWARE AND ADWARE
Spyware is a program that downloads and installs itself on a device and can then steal information, monitor usage and otherwise interfere with daily activity. Information that spyware can gather includes bank details, internet history, usernames and passwords. It can also make your system unstable by changing settings, altering browsers, redirecting internet traffic and setting a different home page. This is one of the more serious security threats to your business, as money can be stolen, and if important customer information is leaked, you can be fined several thousand pounds.
Adware’s purpose, as the name suggests, is to display unwarranted advertisements to you. They can appear on your desktop and browser, including in the results of a browser search, along with legitimately purchased ad space. Some types combine adware with spyware to display ads whilst simultaneously monitoring your activity and information.
A botnet is a group of compromised devices used to run tasks online. These can include computers in your office, or even your personal PC. The aim of Botnets is to use the power of your PC to work alongside others and complete tasks without you knowing.
Botnets are often used to carry out Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS). DDoS is when requests are repeatedly made to a website from several devices at once in an attempt to overwhelm and bring it down. They can also be used to run malicious software on the compromised device.
If your computer is part of a Botnet, it can be hugely detrimental to your efficiency. Being under someone else’s control, they can install or run any malicious program at any time, steal information or slow down your system.
A computer worm is capable of spreading itself between computers that share networks, without needing any input from the users. It is extremely dangerous for companies with a large group of systems because many can be compromised very quickly, even if they are protected. Even before the worm finishes infecting a computer, it harms productivity by slowing down network performance. When the worm is fully installed, it can create vulnerabilities in the system, allowing the hacker to control it to an extent or to add it to an existing botnet.
A Trojan is piece of software that appears legitimate, perhaps performing a service such as a firewall, but that also includes a virus or other malicious content.
Trojans are capable of a multitude of harmful activities including installing files that delete data, slowing down the network, preventing other systems from working correctly, creating a botnet, giving hackers access to your system and stealing information.
DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACK
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks aim to crash a system, be it a computer or a website, and make it unusable. The danger of a DoS attack is greatest if you have a very traffic-heavy website. It can cost you financially, ruin your reputation, and reduce productivity as staff are forced to respond to customer complaints and inquiries. Targets are most often well-known businesses relying on the quantity of users.
How does Dos work? Firstly, it creates a botnet of several systems. It then overwhelms a single system, or a whole network if it is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, by sending multiple requests to the server at one time. This causes the entire website to either shut down, or be slowed so much that it is rendered useless.