Posted on May 26, 2021
We often measure the effectiveness of cybersecurity by the attacks we don’t experience, which can leave a nagging worry in the backs of our minds: is there a network security threat we’re missing?
It’s a valid concern. Two-thirds of people on the internet — including people who work for your companies or partners — have been compromised in some way by cybercriminals, according to The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In fact, almost $600 billion — nearly 1% of global GDP — is lost to cybercrime each year, and that number is projected to increase to $6 trillion in 2021.
So how can you get a better handle on your network threats and vulnerabilities? This article will explain what threats are, some common threats, and how to identify them.
A network security threat is exactly that: a threat to your network and data systems. Any attempt to breach your network and obtain access to your data is a network threat.
There are different kinds of network threats, and each has different goals. Some, like distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, seek to shut down your network or servers by overwhelming it with requests. Other threats, like malware or credential theft, are aimed at stealing your data. Still others, like spyware, will insert themselves into your organization’s network, where they’ll lie in wait, collecting information about your organization.
There are four main kinds of network threats:
If threats are attackers throwing rocks at a wall, a vulnerability is a weak spot in the wall — a place where attackers can break a window, or pull out a loose rock and let themselves in.
Put simply, vulnerabilities are flaws in your systems that can be exploited by attackers. These are often not malicious errors, but simply mistakes or things that have been overlooked. An Amazon Web Services (AWS) bucket might be inadvertently left open to the public Internet, or perhaps a password wasn’t changed or a patch wasn’t installed on time.
Such mistakes are on the rise, according to Accurics, which finds that misconfigured cloud storage services are commonplace in 93% of cloud deployments. It’s not just clouds and software, however – vulnerabilities can be people as well. If you haven’t trained your employees about avoiding clicking on suspicious links, for example, they can be vulnerable to phishing.
Network threats come in a variety of forms and are constantly evolving and changing. The most common threats are likely familiar to you already.
The threat landscape is always shifting, as attackers try new ways to enter your network. To help monitor your systems, consider a solution that monitors your networks continuously, giving you an outside-in view of your company’s security.
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