With the internet now an indispensable aspect of the lives of most people, cybersecurity can no longer be considered an afterthought. On a daily basis, people conduct financial transactions as well as exchange their private information over the internet. This trove of data exchanged has become a target for cybercriminals who devote their time and resources devising ways to access and exploit sensitive data. With recent reports revealing that the average cost of a cyber attack is over $1 million, it is essential to make sure that your business is fully protected from any form of cyber threat.
The first step in maintaining the integrity of your business’ network is being familiar with the various network attack strategies used by cybercriminals. Once these have been identified, measures can then be put in place to safeguard against these network threats. While there are many possible network attack vectors, some of them are more commonly used than others. Discussed below are five of the network attack vectors commonly used by cybercriminals to attack and compromise networks.
1) Drive-by downloads
The attack vector for drive-by download attacks is improperly secured websites. Once these poorly secured websites are detected, cybercriminals write malicious scripts into the code of one or more of their webpages. When the unsuspecting user visits the compromised website, the malicious code is then downloaded to the user's computer, thereby allowing the cybercriminal access to private and confidential data.
Drive-by download attacks are most successful when the computer browser or operating systems are out of date. Therefore, to guard against this attack vector, all devices within a network should have fully updated browsers and operating systems.
2) Ad-based malware
With ad based malware, the user goes to goes a webpage and is suddenly bombarded with a deluge of unwanted pop-up ads. While some of the ads may be genuine, some of them contain malware that is downloaded to the user's device when the ad is clicked on. In addition to the installation of malicious code, ad based malware can also hijack the user's browser, modifying its settings, redirecting to unrequested websites and even, in severe instances, crashing the web browser.
To guard against ad based malware, it is essential that all devices within your network are regularly scanned for any form of malware. Having pop up blockers enabled as well as fully updated browsers and operating systems also help in guarding against this network attack vector.
With scamware, the user is fooled into believing that the application or program being downloaded is legitimate when, in actuality, it is a fake and contains malware. When the user unknowingly downloads the fake application, the malware is then released which is then able to spread throughout the user's device or even the entire network.
To protect against scamware, care should be exercised when downloading a program or an application; downloads should only be from reputable sources. Suspicious looking applications should never be downloaded without further research.
4) Distributed Denial-of-Service
In distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, cybercriminals infect and hijack hundreds or thousands of computers and other internet-enabled devices. These compromised devices are then used to direct traffic towards the targeted server, with the intent of overwhelming its bandwidth and, ultimately, crashing the server. Once the server crashes, all the websites hosted on that server then become unavailable. DDoS attacks are geared more towards the disruption of a business network rather than data theft.
Guarding against DDoS attacks is typically a complicated process; it is important to engage the services of skilled cybersecurity specialists to combat this network attack vector.
5) Password attacks
Passwords are one of the most common ways that businesses authenticate their users; users have to correctly enter their passwords before network access is granted. As such, cybercriminals utilize various strategies to ascertain user passwords. Two common password attack strategies are:
- Brute attacks – Different passwords are randomly used in the hope of getting the correct one
- Dictionary attack – A dictionary of commonly used passwords is used to try and gain access to the network
A comprehensive password protection policy is the best way to guard against password attacks. Passwords should be changed regularly and be difficult to guess. In addition, user accounts should be suspended after a number of incorrect password entries.
At NewCloud Networks, we understand the importance of keeping your business network secure. We have cybersecurity specialists ready to work with you in ensuring that your business network is protected from cybercriminals and other malicious threat actors. Contact us today for more information about our services.