Common Cyber Security Threats And How You Can Protect Yourself Against Them

Common Cyber Security Threats And How You Can Protect Yourself Against Them

Cyber security threats are insidious, so it’s important to know what you’re up against.

We’ve compiled a list of the common cyber security threats your Adelaide business may face, and some pointers on how to protect yourself against them.

Malware

Malicious software, commonly known as malware, is the bane of every user’s existence. It covers a host of nasty little pieces of software, including spyware, ransomware, worms, and a  multitude of computer viruses. Malware is designed to access your systems and network through vulnerabilities in your IT security.

It operates simply. A user clicks a link, downloads an email attachment, or clicks an on-page ad, and this downloads and installs malicious software onto their device. Once installed, the software can begin directly attacking different components within your system, crippling it. Or, it can remain on your system, secretly retrieving and sending data to an external party.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a particularly vicious cyber security threat. When downloaded and installed on your computer, this malware attacks and locks access to specific systems and data. You will receive a notification asking for a ransom in order to unlock it. And honestly? There’s not much else you can do.

Often, if you pay, they do come through on their word and unlock your system. If you don’t pay, though, this data gets thoroughly and irreversibly wiped. Ransomware is one of the key drivers to ensure your business has secure cloud backup services enabled.

Phishing and spearphishing

Phishing is one of the most common types of cyber security threats out there, to the point that it’s become an automated and ubiquitous part of everyday life. It takes a broad-based approach, where cybercriminals send emails and that look and sound like they’re from legitimate and trustworthy organisations. This then directs the user to a website, or to simply reply, with sensitive information such as bank details, user login credentials, or even request payment on the spot.

Spearphishing delivers a persistent, highly personalised attack against individuals, using repeated methods of communication to try and access their information. As automation software and AI becomes more powerful, this method is only likely to become more prominent.

Denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks

Under a DoS attack, cybercriminals overwhelm the targeted computer network, system, or server with repeated traffic and data until the bandwidth is exhausted. This results in the system, whatever it may be, rendered unable to action legitimate requests, forcing it to effectively become inoperable. 

But these all typically come from one computer source. A DDoS attack is a similar threat, but on a broader scale. Multiple systems attack the one target, delivering a more forceful DoS attack. These types of attack can be extremely damaging financially, as they effectively shut down your business systems until the attacks ease.

SQL injection

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a specific programming language that can be used to change and retrieve data from a specific database. This makes an SQL injection a particularly insidious cyber security threat. 

An SQL injection attack works by an external source inserting, or ‘injecting’, an SQL query via a data input channel. So, for example, your business might have a login screen on your website. Cybercriminals would go to this page, type in a SQL query into the input section, and use this to access your system. 

If they add the right SQL statement, they’re able to gain access to your website, database, system, network. They can then use further code to retrieve sensitive data, modify data, perform administration operations on your database, and other malicious activities.

Zero day attack

This cyber security threat refers to the situation where a new vulnerability is discovered within a system, piece of software, or database. As it’s only new, there’s no security patch to fix the issue—there’s been zero days to fix it.

Upon discovery, hackers leverage these vulnerabilities, and create code that can exploit these vulnerabilities before a security patch is created. When inside the system the hacker then has access to achieve whatever nefarious ends they’re aiming for.

How to protect your business against cyber security threats

The first step to creating a strong cyber security posture for your Adelaide business is to get the essentials right. You can read our blog on that here.

But in summary, make sure you have the following in place.

  • Secure your devices with antivirus software and a VPN, and keep them up to date. This is your first line of defence against cyber security threats. So keep them up to date to ensure the latest protection for your business.
  • Practice email safety. Use common sense: don’t click any suspicious links or emails, and change your password regularly.
  • Practice password safety. We’re likely all guilty of this one, but it’s crucial to ensure your passwords are strong. Make them a minimum of eight characters, upper and lower case, numbers, and other characters and symbols.
  • Ensure your business systems and software is up to date. Updating your systems and software to the latest versions ensures they’re protected against the latest vulnerabilities.
  • Set up regular cloud backups of your data. Backing up regularly in multiple locations ensures all your business data remains safe and secure, up to date, and easily accessible should any ransomware attacks wipe out parts of your system.

We’ll help you stay protected against cyber security threats

GPK Group provides cyber security services to Adelaide businesses, to ensure you remain safe and protected against the rising risk of cyber attack.

Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation IT security discussion. We’ll talk about your current systems, and discuss how our robust cyber security solutions ensure your business remains safe against these common cyber security threats.