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Top 16 Cyber Security Challenges that Need to be Addressed

Cyber security is becoming a critical issue for businesses around the world, with the financial and reputational cost of data breaches causing significant headaches for unprepared boards.

While technology is helping organizations optimize their operations through various innovative means, the number of cyber security threats that companies must deal with has grown. Who hasn’t heard about ransomware, phishing attacks, malware attacks and such? India ranks 11th globally in terms of localized cyber attacks and has already witnessed 2,299,682 incidents in the first quarter of 2020.

In this day and age, cyber security is as crucial as ever. With the aggravating threats to businesses, having a strong security solution is an absolute requisite.

Isn’t hacking of enterprise and business systems common these days? And the aftereffect is to bear the expense or even overall shut down business. There are just too many threats to ignore – from ransomware to phishing, that could cost you your livelihood.

Cyber Threat Scale

With the cyber threats shooting up, the International Data Corporation predicted that international spending on cyber-security solutions will reach a massive $133.7 billion by 2022. To fight against cyber threats, organizations are executing efficient security measures.

Ransom Attack

Ransomware attacks are stumbling blocks to obstruct businesses or individuals from engaging in daily activities. Ransomware attacks include hacking a user’s data and blocking access to it until a ransom amount is paid. Ransomware attacks are important for individual users but more important for businesses that cannot access the data to run their daily operations. However, as with most ransomware attacks, attackers do not release the data even after the payment has been made and instead attempt to raise more funds.

Ransomware usually prevents users from accessing important information and data on their computers or networks until payment is made. However, cybercriminals do not always empty the device after receiving the ransom and often try to extort more money from their victims.

Ransomware Strategies Evolve — Ransomware attacks almost cost victims billions of dollars annually, as hackers employ technologies that enable them to literally kidnap an individual or organization’s databases and hold all of the information for ransom.

IoT Attacks

In simple terms Internet of Things refers to those devices that are able to communicate and exchange information over the internet. IoT Analytics has foreseen the number of IoT devices to be 11.6 billion by 2021. IoT devices are computing, digital, and mechanical devices that can freely dispatch data via the internet. Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, smartwatches and smart security devices, fitness trackers are all IoT devices. As the adoption of IoT devices is escalating out of ordinary, so are the challenges of Cyber Security. When IoT devices are hacked, sensitive data could be at risk. Safeguarding IoT devices is one of the biggest threats in Cyber Security, as obtaining access to these devices can open the doors for other malicious attacks.

IoT Attacks — The Internet of Things is becoming more pervasive day by day. Once controlled by hackers, IoT devices can be manipulated to create havoc, overload networks or lockdown essential equipment for financial rewards.

Even though most IoT devices are personal or smart home devices, an increasing number of businesses are taking advantage of IoT. Smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lights, connected security cameras, voice assistants and more are extensively used in the workplace. With that hackers target businesses by obtaining access to these devices.

Cloud Attack

Nowadays, cloud computing or cloud services are in high demand for both professional and personal use. Many of us like to store our data on cloud storage. Of course, cloud service is effective and beneficial for storing large amounts of data, plus hacking of cloud platforms is a major cyber security challenge.

Most of us today use cloud services for personal and business needs. Also, hacking cloud platforms to steal user data is one of the cyber security challenges for businesses. Who isn’t aware of the infamous iCloud hack, which exposed private photos of celebrities? If enterprise data is attacked like this, it can pose a major threat to the organization and may even lead to its downfall.

Cloud jacking is when third parties invade cloud computing. Once a hacker cracks into your company’s cloud, they can reform the cloud code to manoeuvre sensitive data, oversee employee and company communications, and take command of the entire cloud.

Cybercriminals take advantage of the opportunity to initiate phishing schemes. In this context, cybercriminals upload fake instructions, memos, or other files to the company’s cloud. Employees, assuming these materials are approved by the Company, download malicious files or follow counterfeit instructions.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a kind of social engineering attack accustomed to appropriate user data, which may include login credentials and credit card numbers. Unlike ransomware attacks, the hacker, gaining access to confidential user data, does not block it. Instead, they use it to their advantage, such as online shopping and illegal money transfers. Phishing attacks are prevalent among hackers because they can exploit user data until the user becomes aware of it. Hackers seek to steal user logins, credit card credentials and other types of personal financial information to procure access to private databases.

Many of us are perplexed about the difference between ransomware attacks and phishing attacks; Actually, both are distinct. Unlike ransomware attacks, the hacker will not block you once you have access to your confidential information; Instead, they use user information to fulfil their benefits; This could be illegal money transfers or online purchases.

Phishing attacks mainly involve stealing user data, credit card numbers and login credentials. Hence, a phishing attack is a huge challenge in cyber security as hackers can exploit user data until you know about it.

Blockchain and Cryptojacking

These days, cryptocurrency and blockchain attacks are the chief security threat for businesses that deal at a higher stage than average daily users. These Days, cryptocurrency and blockchain attacks are the chief security threat for businesses that deal at a higher stage than average daily users. Cryptocurrencies are associated with high tech companies; However, it has not reached the advanced safe stage. Hence it is vulnerable to many cyber attacks like; Sybil, DDoS, Eclipse, etc.

Organizations engaged with this technology should be aware of all cyber security challenges and ensure that no gap is left for attackers to exploit your organization’s data.

Cryptojacking – Cryptojacking is when a hacker hijacks the home or work computers of third parties with the aim to mine cryptocurrencies without consent. In businesses, cryptojacked systems lead to grave performance issues and costly downtime as IT works to detect and rectify the issue.

Although blockchain and cryptocurrency may not make much sense to the average internet user, these technologies are a huge deal for businesses. Thus, attacks on these structures present considerable challenges in cyber security for businesses as they can compromise customer data and business operations. These technologies have passed their infancy, but have not yet reached an advanced secure stage. Thus, there have been many attacks, such as DDoS, Sybil and Eclipse, to name a few.

Even in this digital era, the most advanced software has some loopholes. Many enterprises and businesses don’t update their devices thinking of it as redundant. An older software version may contain patches for security vulnerabilities that have been fixed by developers in a newer version. Attacks on unpublished software versions are one of the major challenges of cyber security. These attacks are usually carried out on a large number of individuals, such as Windows zero-day attacks.

Nothing is safe in this digital world; Even your advanced software has some vulnerability to catching cyber threats. Most of the time, individuals or enterprises do not keep their systems up to date; They think it is not necessary. In fact, keeping your system updated should be your first priority.

Outdated software or outdated versions of software make your system highly vulnerable to cyber threats. Henceforth, safeguarding outdated software from cyber attacks is a serious cyber security challenge in 2021.

ML and AI Attack

Undoubtedly, machine learning and artificial intelligence bring many benefits in various fields and are highly vulnerable to cyber threats. Sometimes, a person may use these techniques to create a threat to a business or to carry out cyber attacks. Through this technique, hackers can identify high-value targets from a large dataset.

In the absence of cyber security in your organization, hackers can easily target your organization and make it difficult for you to handle cyber security attacks.

While machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies have proven to be highly beneficial for large-scale development in various fields, it also has its weaknesses. These technologies can be exploited by illegal individuals to conduct cyberattacks and pose a threat to businesses. These techniques can be used to identify high-value targets among large datasets. A sophisticated attack can prove to be very difficult to handle due to the lack of cyber security expertise in our country.

BYOD Attacks

At present, several organizations stick to the BYOD policy -bring your device policy. According to this policy, employees must bring their own equipment to do their jobs. Getting personal equipment to a professional firm invites hackers for cyber attacks. Most of the time, these tools become out of date and easily accessible for hackers to access confidential business information.

Through these tools, it becomes easier for hackers to access private networks in the absence of cyber security. You need to pay special attention to these challenges, leave BYOD policies behind, and provide safe tools to your organization’s employees. Having such systems poses many challenges in cyber security. Foremost, if the device is running an outdated or pirated version of the software, it is already a splendid medium for hackers to reach. Since this method is being used for personal and business reasons, hackers can easily access confidential business data. Secondly, these devices make it easier to attack your private network if their security is compromised. Thus, organizations should abandon BYOD policies and provide employees with secure equipment, as such systems pose enormous challenges of computer security and network compromise.

Internal Attack

Most of the time, cyber security challenges are external to a business firm or organization; Still, there can be instances of inside jobs or strikes. Occasionally, employees with poor intuition and malicious intent for their organization may leak personal information about your data or sell it to your competitors or individuals. Even an insider can cause the organization a great financial and reputational crisis.

Thus, monitoring inbound and outbound traffic and centralized servers to limit access based on jobs is challenging enough to mitigate cybersecurity risk.

While most cyber security challenges are external to businesses, there can be internal job examples as well. Employees with malicious intent may leak or export confidential data to competitors or other individuals. This can cause huge financial and reputational loss to the business. These computer security challenges can be negated by monitoring data and inbound and outbound network traffic. Setting up a firewall device to route data through a centralized server or limiting access to files based on job roles can help reduce the risk of insider attacks.

Reports suggest that the threats posed by employees hit 34% of businesses worldwide. These employees may be doing things unintentionally or negligently due to intentional injury to the company or by mistake.

Thankfully, there are specialized tools accessible to compact insider threats. These tools can locate unauthorized logins, installation of new apps on locked-down computers, users with newly approved authorization access, and new devices on restricted networks. In addition, businesses should provide regular cyber security training to all employees to help prevent these mistakes before they happen.

Old Hardware

Well, don’t be surprised. Not all cyber security challenges come in the form of software attacks. With software developers discerning the peril of software vulnerabilities, they provide updates from time to time. However, these new updates may not be compatible with the hardware of the device. This is what leads to older hardware, in which the hardware is not advanced enough to run the latest software versions. This leaves such devices on an older version of the software, making them more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Don’t be surprised if I say that not all cyber attacks come in software attack forms. Let me make you clear, every software system needs periodic updates, but sometimes these software updates are not compatible with the hardware device you use.

In that case, we would say that your hardware is out of date and highly vulnerable to catching cyber threats because your hardware is not advanced enough to run the latest features of the updated software. This will make your hardware more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Mobile Attack

With a large number of users slowly moving from their desktop operating systems to their mobile devices, the amount of business data stored on the latter is getting bigger day by day. Mobile malware is malicious software designed specifically to target mobile phone operating systems. As people increasingly use mobile phones for critical and sensitive tasks performed on smartphones, it is only a matter of time before mobile malware emerges as one of the foremost cyber security concerns.

Mobile malware is a type of software used exclusively on mobile devices for malicious purposes. A huge amount of sensitive company data is being acquired and stored on mobile devices, mobile malware attacks are doubtlessly to be one of the most relevant cybersecurity threats this year.

Patch

A patch is a software update that involves inserting (or patching) code into the code of an executable program. Basically, a patch is placed into an already existing software program.

What else does a patch do?

  • Fix software bug
  • Install new drivers
  • Address new security vulnerabilities
  • Address software stability issues
  • Upgrade software
  • Deep Fakes

Deep Fakes

A deep Fake is the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate an existing image or video of a person to portray some activity that did not actually occur. There is a notion that deep fakes could in due course pop up as a major cyber security threat, for being used with malicious intent.

For example, there is potential for the use of deep fake techniques in attempts to manipulate the 2020 US presidential election. We can also see other cybersecurity threats, such as the use of deep fakes to commit fraud through synthetic identities, and the rise of deep fakes-as-a-service organizations. 2020 may also be the year that deep fakes proceed to present more convincing phishing scams than ever before, which could cost businesses billions of dollars.

Deep Fakes have been increasingly used against a wide variety of individuals and industries over the past several years. A deep fake is created by artificial intelligence that takes an existing video, photo or voice recording and manipulates someone’s image or voice to falsify their actions or speech. In fact, deep fakes in politics are popularly used to refer candidates to say or do something that damages their reputation.

As it concerns businesses, experts theorize that deep fakes would be used by cybercriminals to impersonate members of a company to obtain critical information. These “synthetic identities” can be applied to commit fraud, as hackers devise fake versions of real companies to lure consumers.

Third-party Exposure

Third-party risks arise when a hacker breaks into a client’s computer system and uses the information found there to launch social engineering or phishing attacks against the firm. for example.

Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks are becoming a common phenomenon and are becoming more and more sophisticated. With hackers devising more cunning ways to fool employees and individuals into handing over valuable company data, enterprises must stay alert and be two steps ahead of cybercriminals.

Social engineering attack highly depends upon human interaction and usually involves people interrupting normal security procedures and procuring unauthorized access to systems, networks or physical locations, or manipulating best practices to gain financial gain. it happens.

Social engineering is a master strategy of attackers as it is more or less easier to exploit people than to find network or software vulnerabilities. Hackers usually utilize social engineering techniques as the initial step to permeate systems or networks and procure sensitive data or spread malware.

DDoS

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a venture to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. They target a variety of critical resources, from banks to news websites, and present a major challenge to ensuring that people can publish and access important information.

Distributed denial-of-service attacks target websites and online services. The purpose is to overwhelm them with more traffic than the server or network can expect. The goal is to deactivate the website or service.

Traffic can include incoming messages, requests for connections, or spurious packets. In certain cases, targeted victims are pressurized with a DDoS attack or attacked at a low level. This could be coupled with a more devastating attack extortion threat unless the company pays the crypto ransom.

A successful distributed denial of service attack is a highly noticeable event that affects the entire online user base. This makes it a popular weapon of choice for hacktivists, cyber vandals, extortionists, and anyone else who wants to make a point or champion a cause.

Hacktivism

Hacktivism in simple words is breaking into a secure computer system and wreaking havoc. Hacktivism is a fusion of “hacking” and “activism” and is normally directed towards corporate or government goals. Those who practice hacktivism are referred to as hacktivists.

DDoS is an example of Hacktivism.

Mainly hacktivism is undertaken by an individual or a group due to the notion that something is ‘wrong’ or ‘unjust’ and therefore encourages them to do something about it. The motivation that drives them may be political or social incentives, revenge, ideology, a desire to embarrass certain organizations or individuals within those organizations, or often sheer vandalism.

Conclusion:

So, these are the top 10 emerging cyber security challenges that you faced in 2020, and they will remain so in 2021. Read through all these cyber security risks listed above so that you can prepare in advance to protect your system from cyber threats.

To protect your organization’s IT systems from cyber threats, you must be aware of a simple solution to hardware and software technology.

Cybercrime is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world and it continues to affect businesses across all industries.

1.Keep software up-to-date

2. Avoid opening suspicious emails

3. Keep Hardware Up-to-Date

4. Use a Secure File Sharing Solution

 5. Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware

 6. Use a VPN to Personalize Your Connection

7. Check Links Before Clicking

8. Don’t be lazy with your passwords!

9. Disable Bluetooth When You Don’t Need It

10. Enable 2-Factor Authentication

11. Double-Check HTTPS on Websites

12. Do not store important information in non-secure locations

13. Scan external storage devices for viruses

14. Avoid using public networks

15. Invest in Security Upgrades

16. Back up important data

17. Use HTTPS on Your Website

18. Hire a “White Hat” Hacker

Enroll for SKILLOGIC cyber security and ethical hacking training and embark your career ahead in the same! SKILLOGIC Accredited from EC-Council and IIFIS.

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