Cyber security refers to the activity of protecting systems, network and data against threats and malicious activities. It has become extremely important as we are becoming dependent on computer systems and digital devices and the amount of personal data is increasing tremendously every single second.
There are many cybersecurity threats that arise a need to properly understand them and execute the preventive as well as countermeasures as and when required.
Latest Trends in Cyber Security Threats and Mitigation Strategies
Socially Engineered Malware
Socially Engineered Malware is a type of social engineering attack that creates traps for regular internet users and fetches personal information. Attackers try to trick the user into providing information necessary to access the user’s computer or install malicious software to gain access either to the passwords or bank information. These attacks are a combination of technical and social attack methods.
- Implement security policies such as internet use policy, acceptable installation policy, hardware policy and separation of duties policy.
- Conduct awareness and training programs to increase a user’s knowledge about threats and vulnerabilities
- Explain verification and authorization procedures to verify the identity of a person requesting information
- Implement regular security exercises using penetration tests
- Apply content-based email filter
- Make use of blacklist function and make lists of blacklisted and whitelisted domains
Password Phishing Attacks and Spear Phishing
Phishing is a type of scam that deceives you into opening an email and disclosing personal information. These attacks target your personal information as well as your organization’s information. Spear phishing specifically targets either a specific individual or a group of individuals.
The techniques used for phishing and spear phishing include:
- The use of emails
- Using incorrect spellings or grammar
- Asking you to click on a link for further details or to fill a form
- Promising rewards
- Directing to another website
- Remove suspicious emails
- On suspicion, you must contact the person associated with the system security
- Check digital signatures
- Never open suspicious emails
- Do not call on any number provided in the email
Unpatched or outdated software results in vulnerabilities and provides an opportunity for attackers to access systems easily. You can easily detect a malicious activity related to unpatched software by checking the following indications:
- Attempts to access system
- Unauthorized data storage
- Hardware or software modifications
- Adhere to your organization’s policy
- Keep the software patched
- Conduct frequent computer audits
- Keep a check on and report intrusion attempts
- Disconnect the system as soon as an attack is suspected
Social Media Threats
Social media threats include creating fake accounts, misusing celebrity names, compromising a social networking site with malicious code, spreading spam and malware using shorter links and revealing information to the public.
- Get trained on social media
- Limit other people’s access to your social media account
- Safeguard your passwords by using two-factor authentication tools
- Create policies for shared accounts
Advanced Persistent Threats
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) is a term that refers to an attack campaign wherein either a single attacker or a team of attackers maintain a long-term presence on a network in order to fetch sensitive data.
The targets are very carefully chosen in such attacks and generally include large organizations or governmental networks. The consequences of these attacks include intellectual property theft, shared sensitive information, damaging critical organizational infrastructures and total site takeovers.
- Monitoring incoming traffic
- Controlling domains that are accessible, known as Whitelisting
- Limiting or controlling access of users
- Patching software on a regular basis
- Filtering incoming emails
Hackers and Predators
Hackers are unauthorized users who break past computer systems in order to gain access to the information. The information is then either secretly transmitted to another system or used without consent. This also includes:
- Gaining access to your usernames and passwords
- Making purchases or using your finances
- Selling information to others who may use it for wrong purposes
- Use two-way firewall
- Get your operating systems updated regularly
- Never click on malicious links or enter suspicious websites
- Download files or software from a source you trust
- Install best quality security software on systems
- Use antivirus protection
Denial of Service (DOS)
Denial of Service attacks disables or reduce the capacity of servers and other computing resources. Such an attack is carried out by either overloading or terminating a service. The following indications are necessary to observe:
- Reduced network performance, especially while opening files or accessing websites
- Not able to reach a particular website
- The high volume of spam email
- Contact the Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- Implement Intrusion Detection Systems or Intrusion Prevention Systems to detect DOS
- Use cloud-based anti-DOS services
In such an attack, the attacker takes hold of a communication and becomes an intermediary for the communication happening between two people. The attackers easily modify the information at will. These attacks occur in both wired and wireless networks.
Man-in-the-Middle attacks are so dangerous that a victim doesn’t even realize that the information is being fetched or modified by an attacker. Since the methods to detect these attacks are less, one needs to be extra cautious and take preventive measures to avoid being trapped.
- Never use public networks for work including confidential matters
- Set up an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) that is used to monitor your network and alerts immediately when attacked
- Use Virtual Private Network (VPN) which is an encrypted tunnel that creates additional security layers while accessing confidential information
- Use websites that start with HTTPS
- Website administrators must use HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) which helps protect websites against attacks and hijacking
Most popular courses available for Cyber Security
Due to an increase in cyber security threats, the demand for cyber security certification courses is also on a rise. Companies are now seeking and giving preference to certified professionals who can help protect their information, data and systems. Here is a list of the most in-demand courses for cybersecurity.
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – A CEH is responsible for hacking systems in a legitimate manner so as to figure out a system’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) Certification – The CHFI course provides training to identify and detect hacking attacks with relevant proofs to report the crime.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) – A CISSP certification enables you to design, implement and manage information security programs.
- Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM) – A CISM certification provides the skills required to develop and manage an enterprise information security program.
- Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA) – A CISA certification enables you to conduct audits and figure out a systems’ vulnerabilities.
Cyber security threats are on a constant rise and many businesses have fallen victim to the attackers. The absence of proper security measures makes the systems vulnerable and open to attacks. Being extra cautious is the key to run the businesses smoothly and intelligently. Enterprises and individuals foreseeing growth must either choose certified professionals or make themselves proficient to handle such attacks by opting for any of the courses mentioned above.