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Common network security threats

Businesses of all sizes and even governments need to be extra careful when it comes to malware that can render their computer networks useless and/or lead to confidential data leaks. Unfortunately, we noticed that hackers have been able to set up very ingenious, large-scale cybersecurity attacks during the last few years.

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These are the most common network security threats, according to a Data Alliance study.

1. Malware

Cyber criminals utilize malicious software to attack computers and networks. This category of threats includes viruses, spyware, adware, and more. Often, one of your employees will open an infected email attachment, which includes a piece of malware. As a result, that computer will get infected. Then, advanced viruses will be able to spread themselves over the entire network, infecting all the computers. If the virus includes a ransomware component, it will start encrypting all the files that reside on your computers, and then, when it is done, it will start to display annoying pop-ups, asking for a ransom in exchange for your decrypted data set.

2. Phishing

This is a social engineering technique that's often used by cyber villains to create fake emails that appear to be sent from legitimate companies. You may receive emails that ask you to update or validate your online banking information, for example, and that particular email will include your bank's logo, header, proper wording, and more. However, phishing emails will often use generic formulas to address you, such as "Dear customer", etc. The idea is to contact your bank/the email sender right away and ask if they've sent you a message or not. Often, you will discover that you have gotten a phishing email.

3. Spoofing

Spoofing is often used in conjunction with phishing. The hacker will create a website that looks very similar with the legit one, trying to convince you to give away confidential information, which will then be stored in a database and used, or sold to the interested parties.

4. Spyware

This variety of malware gets installed without you knowing anything about it, and then starts tracking your activity. Most spyware applications will also include keyboard loggers, which can store any of the emails, messages and documents that you have written, can take pictures of your desktop at predetermined intervals, and can even record videos of your activity. Advanced spyware will alter the functionality of your computer, redirecting your browser to infected websites and/or triggering lots of unwanted advertisements and pop-ups while you are accessing the Internet.

5. Botnets

These software applications are secretly installed on the users' computers, and they can be remotely controlled by a cyber criminal. Then, they are used to spread malware, email spam, attack various websites, and so on.

6. Distributed denial-of-service attacks

These security threats are often triggered by hackers who have managed to create a botnet. The attacks target specific websites; in fact, the hacker is attacking a particular server, telling its evil army of remote-controlled bots to contact that server again and again, millions of times per minute. This will slow down the server, of course, and may even shut it down for good. Since the attacker uses a distributed network of computers that belong to honest citizens, these types of DDoS attacks are very hard to track and stop.

7. Hacker attacks

Cyber criminals are always interested in getting access to the information that is stored on your company's servers. If they can't utilize the stolen data directly, they will quickly sell it to advertising companies. Sadly, there are many powerful hacking applications that make it really easy even for unexperienced people to attack a particular server. These pieces of software will often scan for existing vulnerabilities, and then exploit them to install a piece of malware.

As you already know, information technology is constantly evolving. Unfortunately, so do hacker attacks. So, you should do your best to keep network hardware and software updated and monitor your network usage regularly. By doing this, you should be able to fight even the newest cyber security threats. And if you need specialized help, don't forget that we are only a phone call away.