The month of October marks the start of cyber security awareness month. As connectivity to the internet increases so do our vulnerabilities. Cyber criminals are finding new ways of exploiting these vulnerabilities by using various methods of Cyber attacks. The U.S Department of Homeland Security has found it important to focus on cyber security in our day-to-day lives. Stop. Think. Connect. Is the official mantra of this year’s awareness month.

Cyber security should be the focus of anyone who is staying connected through the latest technologies. Knowledge is our best defense when it comes to understanding the importance of cyber security, knowing when you are being targeted by an attacker, and what to do during and after an attack occurs.

Cyber Attacks Every Business needs to be Aware of  

The go-to strategy for any business to maintain a competitive advantage is by staying connected and adopting breakthrough technologies. No matter how secure you feel your systems are, cyber attacks have been becoming inescapable. The key to mitigating cyber attacks is all in the defensive plan; a variety of security measures and best practices aimed at preventing attacks. There is success in using these practices, however, it is not full proof. It is important to remain vigilant. Let’s take a look into some of the most common cyber attacks targeting businesses currently:

  1. Malware

Malware is a generalized term used for a variety of cyber threats which include, viruses, worms, Trojans, etc. Malware is a coded software that is intended to steal data, disable computers, or destroy computer operations. An attack of this magnitude can be introduced into your systems in a few different ways–opening an email attachment, downloading infected content, or just through flaws in the operating system that can leave your computers vulnerable to a Malware attack.  Many cyber attacks start with Malware to gain access to your computer. For more information click here to read the U.S Department of Homeland Security’s Malware tip card produced for The National Cyber security Awareness Month.

  1. Password Attacks

A Password attack is when a cyber criminal tries to access your system by obtaining or cracking your password. This can be done by using several methods. First, there is the method of guessing where the hacker tries to guess by using name combinations, important years or numbers, and hobbies. Another method is done with the use of software designed to crack passwords with the use of a ‘Dictionary’— an actual dictionary of the most common passwords that is freely distributed. A brute-Force method can also be used which is why companies now require stronger, longer, and more complicated passwords. If your password is something simple like, “QWERTY” it is possible that the password could be hacked within minutes, if not seconds of using this method. Hackers may avoid these methods altogether and instead create phishing sites aimed at replicating familiar sites (E.G Facebook, Outlook, and Banking sites) to collect possible passwords or other information.

  1. Phishing

Phishing is a request for data posing as a trusted third-party company usually sent via email; Although, as the use of social media has increased cyber criminals have developed ways to Phish using social media platforms. Phishing can be a person posing as a friend, boss, vendor, or anyone trying to trick someone into disclosing information.  This type of attack is sophisticated in the way that some criminals are making it harder to tell with the level of detail added to this method. A phishing email, direct social media message, or tweet includes a link that directs you to a site where you enter your information. Phishing is a form of Social engineering and can be done via phone, mail, email, or social media. In some Phishing cases, all that is required is a simple click to the link.

  1. Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks & Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

A Denial-of-Service attack focuses on disrupting the service of a high volume network. They cause a disruption by pushing traffic and data onto a server until it is either overloaded or nonfunctional. Attackers can use several different methods, one of which involves the use of multiple computers to generate a large amount of traffic to a business’s servers. A DDoS attack distributes an attack from multiple locations and enables them to attack a site with a higher volume. There are several instances where a DoS or DDoS attack is carried out due to a protest and can hold serious punishments, which include jail time.

Today’s highly competitive environment demands that organizations do more with less. Cyber security is just another hurdle IT departments have to endure. Cyber security is its own full-time job. Frequent monitoring can over-allocate the department quickly, so seeking an outside company equipped with industry knowledge and up-to-date on the best practices is essential. Crossroads technology does just that, it is our mission to provide vital insights into your security position with assessments, diagnosis, and audits. Planning ahead with a cyber security strategy provides a more confident position to stay compliant and avoid harmful attacks.