With the increasing use of technology and the internet, cyber threats have become a significant concern for individuals and organizations. In 2023, there will be several cyber threats that we need to be aware of to ensure our safety and security. Here are the top cyber threats to watch out for in 2023:
Social Engineered Attacks:
Social engineering attacks involve psychological manipulation to coerce individuals into performing actions that are advantageous to an attacker or revealing confidential information. Common attacks include phishing, spear-phishing, pretexting, baiting, and quid pro quo attacks.
- Phishing is the most common type of socially engineered attack, where the attacker sends an email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a bank or an employer, to trick the victim into divulging personal or sensitive information.
- Spear phishing is a more targeted form that focuses on a specific individual or group. Pretexting involves creating a false scenario or pretext to trick the victim into divulging information or performing an action.
- Baiting consists of offering the victim a reward or incentive to trick them into making rash decisions. Quid pro quo attacks involve offering a service or benefit in exchange for sensitive information or an action from the victim.
Malware refers to any specifically designed software that causes harm to a computer system, network, or device. Cyber attackers employ various methods to infiltrate malware into a user’s device. Often, users are lured into taking actions, such as clicking links or opening attachments that trigger the installation of the malware. In other instances, malware exploits vulnerabilities in web browsers or operating systems to surreptitiously install itself without the user’s knowledge.
Once the malware is installed, it can transfer confidential data to the attacker, facilitate the attacker’s penetration into other targets on the network, and even cause the user’s device to participate in a botnet leveraged by the attacker for malicious purposes.
Malware attacks can take many forms, including viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, and adware.
- Virus: A type of malware that spreads by infecting other files or programs. A worm is a self-replicating program that distributes through a network.
- Trojan Virus: A type of malware that appears to be a legitimate program but has malicious code hidden inside
Ransomware: A type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom payment to restore access.
- Spyware: A type of malware that monitors a victim’s activity and collects sensitive information.
- Adware: A type of malware that displays unwanted advertisements.
Software Supply Chain Attacks:
A software supply chain attack targets an organization’s trusted software update and supply chain. It exploits weaknesses in the network of individuals or networks involved in creating and selling a product. These attacks are particularly effective against network monitoring tools, industrial control systems, and other network-enabled systems. They take advantage of organizations’ trust in their third-party vendors, which can occur at various points in the vendor’s software lifecycle. This includes the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) process or through third-party libraries and components.
These attacks can be challenging to detect and can affect many users.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT):
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) occur when unauthorized individuals or groups gain access to a network and remain undetected for an extended period. These attackers may exfiltrate sensitive data without being detected by the organization’s security staff. Due to the sophistication required for APTs, they are typically launched against high-value targets such as nation-states or large corporations.
The following are indicators of an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack:
- New account creation: An attacker may create an identity or credential on the network with elevated privileges.
- Abnormal activity: Legitimate user accounts typically perform in patterns. Abnormal activity on these accounts can indicate an APT is occurring, including noting a stale account that was created and then left unused for a time suddenly became active.
- Backdoor/trojan horse malware: Extensive use of this method enables APTs to maintain long-term access.
- Odd database activity: A sudden increase in database operations with massive amounts of data.
- Unusual data files: These files can indicate data has been bundled into files to assist in an exfiltration process.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS):
The objective of a DoS attack is to render a target system inoperable by overwhelming its resources, thereby denying access to its intended users. A variant of this attack, known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), involves a coordinated assault on the target system using a large number of compromised computers or devices.
DDoS attacks can be part of a multi-faceted cyberattack strategy. They may be used to distract security personnel and create confusion, while the attackers carry out more insidious attacks aimed at data theft or other forms of damage.
Two examples of DDoS attacks are Smurf attacks and ping floods. In a Smurf attack, the attacker sends a large number of Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets to an Internet Protocol (IP) broadcast address, then reflects the packets back to the victim’s IP address. In a ping flood attack, the attacker sends a number of ping requests to the victim’s IP address, overwhelming the system’s resources and causing it to crash or become unavailable to legitimate users.
Man-in-the-Middle Attack (MitM):
Users typically assume communication on a remote system is directly with the server of the target system. However, in a MitM attack, an attacker intercepts the communication and places themselves between the user and the target server.
By doing so, the attacker can potentially compromise the user’s login credentials, exfiltrate sensitive data, and alter the responses sent to the user. MitM attacks are a serious threat to the security of online communication and can have severe consequences for individuals and organizations.
In conclusion, cyber threats are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. It is essential to stay informed about the latest threats and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our organizations. By being aware of the cyber threats to watch out for, we can take proactive measures to prevent these threats and minimize the risk of a cyber attack.
If you are concerned about your organization’s cybersecurity, contact our cybersecurity company today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help protect your business.
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