The first cyber attack occurred on November 2, 1988, through a worm called Morris Worm. It was released from a computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and infected thousands of computers. Since then, technology has significantly advanced, making computer systems and devices even more prone to cybersecurity threats. Let us understand what cybersecurity threats mean and how they can occur.
Evolution of Cybersecurity
Creeper was the first computer virus developed in 1971. That’s when the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) of the U.S. Air Force used the first antivirus software, Reaper, in 1972, to delete the Creeper virus from computers. They created a system to detect and prevent potential cyber-attacks automatically.
Creeper was followed by the Morris Worm attack in 1988 and, thereafter, the 1990s was the era in which the world witnessed massive cyber attacks. Companies were losing information, and computer systems were slowing down. That led to the need for cybersecurity. More companies started to build antivirus software to avoid virus attacks. Rapid technological changes have led to the growth of different types of cybersecurity like Network, Cloud, Application, and Infrastructure Security, to counter the growth of cybersecurity threats.
What is a Cybersecurity Threat?
A cybersecurity threat is a potential attack that aims to breach cybersecurity through cyberattacks and cause harm. Cybersecurity threats are often posed by hackers or terrorists who want to steal confidential information, delete data or cause damage to organizations or the public. Hackers often create cybersecurity threats by installing viruses or harmful software in different computer systems to spy on activities or gather confidential information.
Types of Cybersecurity Threats
Now that you know what cybersecurity threats are, let’s look at the different categories they fall under:
Ransomware is a cybersecurity threat where hackers can install malicious software on the system or a device and lock out the existing user. These attacks prevent users from accessing their accounts unless an amount (ransom) is paid. Hackers use encrypted keys to lock the system. The user has to pay the amount demanded by hackers, usually in virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
Malware cybersecurity threats involve the risk of installation of malicious software in a system. This can lead to stealing confidential data, data loss, and leaks. Often, hackers install malware or spyware in a system to observe activities, collect personal and financial details and conduct financial frauds.
Phishing is the most common type of cybersecurity attack in which hackers steal personal and sensitive information of individuals, like banking details and passwords. This is done by sending click-bait emails that are infected with computer viruses.
4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
DDoS is a cybersecurity attack that increases the traffic on a server by sending thousands of requests together. As a result, server traffic rises to the extent that the server crashes or gets disrupted.
Emotet is a type of malware originally designed to attack systems and steal the financial data of individuals or commit financial fraud. Now it is used as a trojan (malicious software) to disrupt computer systems. An emotet cybersecurity attack is mainly made by sending phishing emails.
Sources of Cybersecurity Threats
According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a U.S. Government organization, large-scale cybersecurity threats are more common from hostile groups, terrorist organizations, and malicious intruders. Here are the typical sources of cybersecurity threats:
1. Criminal Groups
Organized crime by large criminal groups worldwide is one of the most dangerous sources of cybersecurity threats. Such groups commit identity theft and install spyware and malware in computer systems to steal confidential or leak such data for monetary purposes or other malicious motives.
These people have deep knowledge of computer systems and attempt to breach cybersecurity defenses or software. They often create programs or download scripts from the Internet to launch viruses or trojan horses in personal computer systems or large networks.
Another common source of cybersecurity threats is insiders or vendors of an organization who knowingly or unknowingly install malware on a computer system. Since insiders often have unrestricted access to data and passwords, they can cause significant losses to organizations.
Terrorist groups are the most hazardous sources of cybersecurity threats worldwide. These international organizations hack the computer systems of governments or big companies to spy on the systems or steal confidential data. In addition, these groups often have a political agenda and attempt to spark violence.
5. Bot Network Operators
Bot network operators are also hackers who install malware on the computer networks of companies or big organizations and gain control over the systems to launch widespread phishing or malware attacks.
Best Cybersecurity Practices for Businesses
With hackers finding innovative ways to breach computer security systems, companies are also adopting new strategies to strengthen their computer strategies. Some of the best cybersecurity practices for businesses to mitigate the risk of cyber attacks include:
- Increasing cybersecurity awareness by conducting workshops for employees
- Creating a robust cybersecurity policy
- Conducting regular cybersecurity audits
- Using multi-factor authentication to secure passwords
- Using the best Firewall protection
- Avoiding clicking on pop-ups and emails from unknown websites and email addresses, respectively
- Installing security software to backup essential data
Emerging Cybersecurity Threats
Due to rapid technological advancements, it has become challenging to predict new categories of cybersecurity threats. However, organizations should be aware of the following types of emerging cybersecurity threats.
Many companies use cloud software to store and manage confidential data. However, as hackers get access to crucial information in one place, they attack cloud storage security systems. The most common factors for cloud attacks are weak encryptions and lack of authentication steps in cloud software.
Many people and organizations worldwide have started using virtual currencies like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, this has opened another door for cybersecurity attacks. Bitcoin or cryptocurrency attacks cause substantial financial losses to victims. The most common reasons for these attacks are poor IT infrastructure and weak encryption.
Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks
The Internet of Things (IoT) connects physical devices online through sensors. Some common examples of IoT are self-driving cars, smart and automated home systems, fitness trackers, and medical sensors. IoT has made sensitive information about people available online. Hackers install spyware to track personal information and activities.
Upgrade your Cybersecurity Skills Through Emeritus Programs
Cybersecurity is one of the essential requirements of all organizations. It has led to a marked increase in demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. However, even organization leaders must learn the basics of cybersecurity to adopt the best strategies and protect the organization from cybersecurity attacks. If you are planning to build a career in cybersecurity or want to learn cybersecurity skills to protect your organization from cyberattacks, it is essential to stay updated with the latest cybersecurity software and abilities. Emeritus online courses on cybersecurity can help you in this respect. These courses teach you the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the best strategies to counter cybersecurity threats.
By Sneha Chugh
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