Cyber security threats can come in multiple forms. Recently, ABC News reported that threat actors accessed user account information from Facebook’s parent company Meta by pretending to be law enforcement officials. This cyber attack — a form of social engineering — although surprising, was not unprecedented.
In fact, Check Point Research reported an increase of 50% in cyber crime on corporate networks from 2020 to 2021. This rise includes several types of attacks that threat actors use to wreak havoc on organizations with increasing ferocity.
But what are the trending cybersecurity threats and how can you protect your organization? Below, we’ll take a look at cyber attack types as well as the consequences of not protecting your organization against bad actors.
We’re far from the days when a firewall and antivirus solution were enough to keep us safe. The security landscape has become an intricate and challenging puzzle for businesses. This is, in part, due to social engineering, the act of using tactics to manipulate employees into performing a desired action or giving information that compromises the organization.
A social engineering attack is when a threat actor manipulates their way into your network through these tactics. Social engineering can also be used to deploy other cybersecurity attacks within your systems such as malware and ransomware.
The most intimidating aspect of social engineering is that even if your cybersecurity is effective, untrained employees are still vulnerable and can be manipulated into compromising your organization.
Social engineering attacks target employees because, if untrained, employees are the easiest way to gain unauthorized access to an organization’s internal systems. The average person is unlikely to know if a program they are using is safe or malicious.
Security awareness training can help protect your organization by empowering your employees to protect your organization from social engineering and other threats.
Derived from the words “malicious” and “software,” malware refers to software intended to harm or disrupt computer systems. It can be used to gain unauthorized access to your organization’s internal network.
For example, some malware may cause computer crashes, a frozen screen, and similar problems. There are different ways a threat actor can infect your computer with malware, including through the use of a USB Ninja Cable. This cable looks like any other USB you could plug into your computer, but is used to infect your computer with malware and may gain remote access to your private files.
Always stop and think before plugging in any device and remember that cyber threats are always changing, so keeping up with trending cybersecurity threats is crucial for the protection of your organization.
After an organization is infected with malware, a bad actor or group of threat actors will demand payment before they unlock the infected system. This type of attack, a ransomware attack, can put your operations to a halt, leaving you at the mercy of the cyber criminal(s) and could cost your organization millions of dollars.
Ransomware attacks are rising, in quantity, frequency and scale. For example, the software vendor Kaseya fell victim to a notorious ransomware attack in 2021. During this attack, threat actors held Kaseya’s business data hostage and demanded $70 million dollars in Bitcoin. This attack affected not just Kaseya, but many of the MSP’s customers as well, showing that ransomware attacks are not just costly for the targeted organization but expensive in reach.
The lack of cybersecurity awareness in employees can be a detriment to organizations, but even more so with the recent shift of many organizations to a hybrid or remote work model in which employees use their own computers and devices — which are often on unsecure networks — to access their work accounts.
A physical attack or breach occurs when a threat actor enters a business location to access your internal systems. With the recent reduction of in-office staff for many offices, empty computer stations and relaxed security means threat actors could indeed walk right in — pretending to deliver a package or update your computer systems, for example — and begin their attack on your organization.
The Consequences of Cybersecurity Attacks and Your Protection Options
Although cybersecurity threats come in many forms, the consequences for each of them can be equally severe. Common consequences include:
- Loss of sensitive data. This may include proprietary data, client information, financial reports, and more.
- Operational disruption. This occurs when your business operations come to a halt, often as the result of a ransomware attack.
- Financial implications. Aside from stealing your money or demanding ransom, downtime and damage to your reputation can also cost your organization.
Strengthening your cybersecurity posture helps protect your organization against cybersecurity threats. Aside from training your employees, you can take other steps to protect your organization inside and out.
To learn how you can best safeguard your organization from bad actors and cyber attacks, download our free guide, 5 ½ Easy Steps to Avoid Cyber Threats.