Cyber Attacks Explained

December 3, 2020

Cyber attacks are the new normal for SMBs. Media reports may focus on corporate mega breaches, but small and midsize businesses are the new frontier for cyber criminals. Data is growing increasingly more valuable and harder to protect which means digital security has become infinitely complex. But what can you do about it? How familiar are you with the common security pitfalls for SMBs, and do you know how to avoid them?

Here are 10 cybersecurity attacks to look out for:

  1. Phishing: Likely the most common form of cybertheft, phishing attacks collect sensitive information, like login credentials and credit card information, through a legitimate-looking website, often sent to unsuspecting individuals in an email.
  2. Ransomware: Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing types of security breaches. A ransomware attack infects your machine with malware and demands a ransom. Ransomware will typically lock you out of your computer and demand money in exchange for access, or it threatens to publish private information if you do not pay a specified amount.
  3. APT: Advanced persistent threats, or APTs, are illicit, long-term attacks in which hackers break into a network in multiple phases to avoid detection. Once an attacker gains access to the network they remain undetected while establishing their foothold on the system. If a breach is detected and repaired, the attackers have already secured other routes into the system so they can continue to mine highly sensitive data.
  4. DDoS: Known as Distributed Denial of Service, DDoS attacks are a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a server, by intentionally overloading it with requests until it shuts down the target’s website or network system.
  5. Inside attack: This is when someone with authorized system access within the organization purposely misuses their credentials to gain access to confidential company information. Former employees present a threat if they left the company on bad terms. Your business should have a protocol in place to revoke all access to company data immediately when an employee is terminated.
  6. Man in the middle (MitM) attack: This is where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other. This is generally done when one or more parties conduct the transaction through an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, where attackers have installed malware that helps sift through data.
  7. Password attack: There are three main types of password attacks: a brute-force attack, which involves guessing at passwords until the hacker gets in; a dictionary attack, which uses a program to try different combinations of dictionary words; and keylogging, which tracks a user’s keystrokes, including login IDs and passwords.
  8. SQL injection attack: This type of attack gives an adversary complete control over your web application database by inserting arbitrary SQL code into a database query. Through a successful SQL injection attack on your servers, sensitive information can let attackers access and modify important databases, download files, and even manipulate devices on the network.
  9. Zero-day attack: Zero-day attacks can be a developer’s worst nightmare. They are unknown flaws and exploits in software and systems discovered by attackers before the developers and security staff become aware of any threats.
  10. Malware attack: Cybercriminals create malicious software (malware) and install them on targeted users’ devices, without their knowledge. The various forms of malware include spyware, virus worms, trojan horses, rogue software, etc.

Using an integrated security solution from Microsoft provides comprehensive, real-time security and protection against  cyber attacks. You can identify and repel more threats than ever before with Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection, Azure Security, and Azure Sentinel. These tools can help you visualize an attacker’s movement through your system, recommend where to focus your investigation, and help recover files in OneDrive for your entire enterprise.

In addition to implementing some sort of software-based solution, businesses should adopt certain technology best practices and policies to shore up vulnerabilities. Here are some cybersecurity best practices:

  1. Two-factor authentication. Users receive a numerical code by email or text and enter it along with their password to gain access.
  2. Have a plan for devices. Be sure you’re incorporating mobile device security into your cybersecurity plans.
  3. Employee training is key. Teach your employees about the different ways cybercriminals can infiltrate your systems. Advise them on how to recognize signs of a breach and educate them on how to stay safe while using the company’s network.
  4. Back up all your data as protection against attacks. Use an offsite cloud provider in addition to on-site backup.

Security breaches are never fun, but they don’t have to be devastating. Contact Convverge to learn more about how to better protect your business, even from the worst-case scenario.