Top 10 cyber security vulnerabilities
When it comes to cyber security, it is essential to differentiate security threats to cyber security vulnerabilities. A threat is an event that could cause harm to your IT system and network assets. There can be no security threat without cyber-attacks that target your weaknesses. These weaknesses, or cyber security vulnerabilities, are areas of your security, infrastructure and business process that make your business more likely to be attacked. In 2020, it makes no doubt that vulnerabilities to your cyber security protocol are more relevant than ever to your growth, your reputation, and your income. Developing reliable cyber security strategies requires the right combination of technology and people.
Indeed, as we are about to see, making sure you’ve got the best minds on board and that they can use reliable and advanced cyber security technology is not as easy as it first seems. In fact, some of the most common vulnerabilities are often the result of a lack of unity around cyber security protocols.
#1. Lack of adequate backup and recovery plan for sensitive data
As companies grow, they collect more data, which makes them an attractive target for data hackers. In an ideal world, your cyber security protocols should provide the safe and secure backup and recovery plans you need for your confidential information. However, in truth, companies are far from the ideal where dedicated cyber security protects sensitive data. For lack of understanding or budget, too many companies fail to deploy scalable and safe backup and recovery options for their sensitive information. As a result, weak spots can expose them to ransomware threats and data breaches.
#2. Poor antivirus security tools
The security that blocks cyber-attacks on computers or network is called the endpoint protection. Unfortunately, the endpoint security fails to protect networks and users for one crucial reason; Many use signature-based antivirus software which hackers can easily bypass to gain access to your IT system. Additionally, most antivirus solutions are not equipped to fight sophisticated intrusion using the latest malicious software and malware. Indeed, hackers never stop experimenting, which means that the cyber security vulnerabilities that your antivirus can detect at the time of purchase are likely to be out-dated a few months after installation. Stronger antivirus detection is a must, but to design better-suited solutions, engineers need to be able to provide a dynamic real-time answer to threats and investigate problems as they occur.
#3. Users accidentally sharing sensitive information
Sensitive information is, by definition sensitive to your cyber security. Unfortunately, the best cloud security network tools can only prevent critical infrastructure vulnerabilities at a technical level. But there is nothing that can be done when your users accidentally overshare sensitive data that exposes your IT assets. Social media sharing is a common mistake that, when left untreated, can lead to serious security threats. Something as banal as sharing a photo of your office could potentially expose your passwords, for instance. Accidental disclosure is a surprisingly common situation that can affect any company. The surge to use social media as a tool to establish your presence and showcase your workplace can lead to uploading unretouched images and files. Once the information has been published online, there is no point in deleting the post.
#4. Users let hackers through network security
“Hi, I’m the new guy at the support desk. What’s the password for XYZ?”
An innocent-looking email could hide a smart hacker, who uses psychology to exploit people’s trust and gain access to the network and their computer system. The phenomenon, known as phishing, has become increasingly popular among hackers and can be one of the most effective cyber-attacks. Typically, the trustworthy communication is a bogus email or SMS made to look like an official brand or a co-worker and asking for confidential information. Hackers also rely on social engineering to manipulate trust and receive passwords and data. Making your team aware of the risk isn’t enough to prevent cyber security threats. It’s a good idea to train users to recognize fake links and confirm the communication with the relevant party.
#5. When authorised access becomes legit
When your antivirus solution isn’t up to speed with the latest malware intrusion, the network security is compromised without the knowledge of the company. As a result, hackers are free to make the most of spying malware solutions, especially keyloggers, to steal confidential information. Keyloggers enable hackers to track keystrokes, which means they can find out your passwords and gain unauthorized access to your network in a way that looks completely legit. As a result, your cyber security tools are unlikely to notify the IT security team of any abnormal activity or intrusion. Additionally, keyloggers are a favourite for hackers to deploy on remote workers who may not be able to keep their devices updated with the latest security protocols. While changing passwords frequently can stop an intruder in their tracks, it doesn’t prevent them from spying on keystrokes in the long term.
#6. Hackers control an infected computer
Computers can get infected in a variety of ways, from inadequate antivirus solutions to having to use public WiFi during a life event or while travelling. Additionally, receiving solutions or communication from sources that appear trustworthy at first can also put computers and laptops at risk. It’s important to mention that more and more hackers are opting for discreet tools such as RATs – Remote Administration Tools – that let them gain access to everything that is stored on a specific device. Because the user can carry on working on their computer seamlessly, they don’t notice that hackers can steal the registered data, such as the auto-complete sensitive information used on online forms. For business data, this could make business credit card data a security risk if your users have stored them.
#7. Advanced crimeware tools
The hacking world is becoming more and more innovative. The Dark Web allows the malware market to flourish and reach levels that cyber criminals would not have been able to achieve otherwise. The days of tech know-how are long gone when it comes to hacking threats. Indeed, nowadays, cyber criminals with little tech knowledge and experience can target cyber security vulnerabilities using advanced tech tools bought directly from the Dark Web. What does it mean from a cyber security perspective? It means that crime ware engineers are getting smarter and selling their creations rather than using them directly to target one company. In other words, cyber attacks are becoming more numerous because everyone can buy hacker’s kits. As hackers use a buy and install tool approach, the tech brain behind the creations can use their momentum to gather new knowledge and develop new cyber security weapons.
#8. Real time identity theft
Your business team is not stuck in the office. Most professionals join trade show events and travel for work, without mentioning remote workers who can work from virtually anywhere. Outside of the workplace, your team can come across real time identity theft techniques that use point of sales machines to access sensitive data and credit card data. Trade shows, especially, have become a popular spot for hackers who can integrate their tools to existing card readers. When you think of the typical trade show venue, bank card and business badge readers are easy to target. More often than not, organisers are unaware of the maintenance teams on-site, meaning that it wouldn’t take much effort for cyber criminals to manipulate existing point of sales machines without getting noticed.
#9. Hacked sites to steal sensitive data
E commerce sites are the perfect target for hackers who want to use an exploit kit to collect sensitive information. Typically, the kit involved creates a fake page that appears credible enough. Buyers must not have any doubt that they are still on the same website. Online shopping sites are ideal in the sense that most visitors can proceed to an online transaction, which means they are going to share their sensitive credit card data. Typically, when the site is attacked, the site admin should receive notifications from their Google Console or from the hosting partner about the situation. However, when the site admin fails to maintain the site security protocol up-to-date, hackers can exploit cyber security vulnerabilities without getting noticed. Alternatively, when the network security of your host is compromised, hackers can gain access to the site from within.
#10. Outdated or incompatible software version
More often than not, companies are forced to carry on using an outdated software version or unpatched software system to support tools that would not be compatible with the latest software versions. Unfortunately, while on the one hand, using an older version is critical for their infrastructure network and their protocol, it is also the very thing that leads to cyber security vulnerabilities. When the options are limited, and a software upgrade isn’t a solution, it can be helpful for companies to go back to their suppliers to discuss the safest alternatives. In the B2B environment, it’s not uncommon for tech suppliers to create micro solutions that provide greater security to their clients.
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In conclusion, cyber security vulnerabilities can come from three different factors. Firstly, outdated and poorly management technology can put your company at risk. Secondly, failure to train your team and make them aware of the risks and cyber security challenges in their everyday job can backfire dramatically. And finally, the constant tech advances and innovation means that hackers are never far behind the latest security tools.
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