Any company is constantly under attack from a variety of sources. No company is completely immune to attacks. Every minute, there are 250 new malware threats. The simple truth is that there are too many risks that cannot be dealt with successfully.
Malware isn’t the only threat; malicious actors may take advantage of a variety of cybersecurity threats and network vulnerabilities to steal your company’s data or cause damage. So, let’s find out how to detect security vulnerabilities and prevent the risks that come along with them.
About the author
Araz Guidanian is a project manager and content creator for EasyDMARC.
Security vulnerabilities and threats:
Although 360,000 new malware files created every day sounds alarming, it’s important to remember that many of these “new” malware files are just rehashes of older malware programs that have been modified enough to make them unrecognizable by antivirus software.
However, over time, a variety of malware programs have been created, each of which affects the target systems in different ways. Some examples are ransomware, trojans and worms.
- Ransomware encrypts the data storage drives of the victim, making them inaccessible to the user. After that, an ultimatum is given, demanding payment in exchange for the encryption key.
- Trojan impersonates a legitimate program in order to trick users into installing it on their computers. It can do a lot of damage by slipping through the outermost defenses of your network, posing as harmless while keeping a major threat inside.
- Worms are self-replicating programs that can spread across a number of channels, including email. They will look for a contacts database or a file-sharing system to transfer themselves as an attachment. When sent by email, the attachment is included in an email that appears to be from the hacked individual.
Unpatched security vulnerabilities
While countless new threats are developed every day, many of them rely on old security vulnerabilities. With so many malware trying to exploit the same vulnerabilities over and over again, one of the biggest risks a business can take is not fixing those vulnerabilities once they are discovered.
Maintaining a regular schedule for monitoring and controlling —a day of the week when your IT team scans for new security fixes for your organization’s applications and ensures that they are applied to all of your company’s systems—is a simple solution.
Hidden backdoor programs
This is an example of a computer security flaw that was purposefully made. A backdoor is a program or a piece of code installed by a manufacturer of computer parts or software that allows a computer to be remotely accessed (typically for diagnostic, configuration, or technical support purposes).
A secret backdoor program is a program that installs a backdoor into a device without the user’s knowledge. Hidden backdoors are a major software flaw because they make it far too convenient for anyone with access to the backdoor to gain unauthorized access to the affected computer device and any networks to which it is connected.
Limiting admin account privileges
Limiting software users’ access rights is one of the most fundamental tenets of handling software vulnerabilities. The less information/resources a user has access to, the less harm their account can do if it is hacked.
It’s necessary to make sure that newly developed accounts don’t have admin-level access to prevent less-privileged users from creating more privileged accounts.
Automated running of scripts without malware/virus checks
The use of some web browsers’ (such as Safari) tendencies to automatically run “trusted” or “secure” scripts is a common network security weakness that some attackers have learned to exploit.
Cybercriminals might get the browser program to run malware without the user’s awareness by imitating a trusted piece of code and tricking the user—who often wouldn’t know how to disable this “function.”
Although preventing employees from accessing potentially malicious websites is a good start, disabling the automatic execution of “safe” files is much more reliable
Unknown safety bugs in software or programming interfaces
When two systems interact with each other, the probability of conflicts that result in software flaws increases. Programming bugs and unexpected code encounters are among the most common computer security flaws, and cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to exploit them.
In a phishing attack, the attacker tries to persuade a target organization employee to divulge confidential information and account credentials or to download malware. The most popular type of this attack is an email that pretends to be from one of your company’s vendors or someone with a high level of authority.
The basic aim of this strategy is to exploit an organization’s employees in order to get through one or more security layers and gain easier access to data.
To protect your email, you should use an SPF record. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records allow domain owners to publish a list of IP addresses or subnets that are authorized to send email on their behalf. The aim is to eliminate spam and fraud by making it far more difficult for spammers to hide their identities. To ensure that everything is in order, use the SPF checker tool.
Many “smart” devices, such as Wi-Fi capable home appliances like refrigerators, printers, manufacturing robots, coffee makers, and countless other machines, are included in the Internet of Things (IoT). The problem with these devices is that they can be used by attackers to create slaved networks of compromised devices that can be used to carry out additional attacks.
To reduce the risk posed by IoT devices, a security audit should be conducted that recognizes all of the network’s disparate properties as well as the operating systems they use. This way, the company’s cybersecurity policy will account for these IoT devices properly. Audits like this should be done on a regular basis to account for any new devices that might be added to the network over time.
Any organization’s greatest security weakness is its own staff. Most data breaches can be traced back to an individual inside the company that was compromised, whether it was the result of deliberate malfeasance or an accident.
Using a least privilege policy prevents users from having too much data at once, making it more difficult for them to steal information. Furthermore, cybersecurity awareness training enables workers to recognize phishing and other social engineering-style attacks and avoid falling for them.
What is vulnerability in computer security and how is It different from a cyber threat?
A vulnerability in a computer system is a defect or weakness in the system or network. This flaw could be exploited by attackers to harm or control the system.
Unlike cyber threats, vulnerabilities in a computer system are present in a network asset (computer) from the outset. Moreover, they are usually not the result of a deliberate effort by an attacker—though cybercriminals will exploit these vulnerabilities in their attacks, with the result that some use the terms interchangeably.
The way in which a computer vulnerability is exploited is determined by the essence of the vulnerability and the attacker’s motivations. These flaws may arise as a result of unexpected interactions between software systems, system components, or simple flaws in a single program.
How to detect security vulnerabilities: ways to prevent risks
Identifying security vulnerabilities before an attacker can exploit them is one of the most critical measures in preventing a security breach. Many organizations, however, lack the resources and skills needed to detect security flaws. Here are some suggestions about how to identify security vulnerabilities to help your company boost its cybersecurity:
Audit your network assets
To identify security vulnerabilities on a company’s network, an accurate inventory of the assets, as well as the operating systems (OSs) and applications that these assets operate, is needed.
The inventory list aids the company in identifying security flaws in outdated software and identified application bugs in particular OS and software types.
After the network has been audited and every asset has been inventoried, the network must be stress-tested to see if an attacker could attempt to hack it.
A penetration test usually includes the following steps:
- A “white hat” hacker should perform the pen test on a specific date and time.
- Audit systems to see if there are any assets with known vulnerabilities.
- Simulated attacks on the network are carried out by the “hackers,” who try to exploit existing flaws or discover new ones.
- The company’s incident response plan (IRP) is being used to try and contain the “attacks” that were simulated during penetration testing.
Creating a threat intelligence framework
The threat intelligence framework is another method for detecting potential problems. This framework consists of:
- Defining what it must safeguard.
- Setting overall network security objectives.
- Determining the main sources of attack.
- Enhancing cybersecurity defenses.
- Selecting the appropriate threat intelligence channels to track new and emerging cyber threats and attack strategies.
Phishing attack protection techniques
- Email Virus Detection Tools – to look for viruses in email attachments that could damage your network.
- Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) – using multiple authentication methods to grant users access to your network (such as biometrics, one-use texted codes and physical tokens) makes it more difficult for attackers to steal user accounts.
- Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Employees – employees who are well-informed about cybersecurity are less likely to fall victim to phishing. Employees can benefit from cybersecurity awareness training by gaining the basic skills they need to recognize and stop phishing attacks.
- In-depth protection – taking a defense-in-depth approach to network security provides additional layers of security between the network’s individual assets. If an attacker manages to get through the network’s outermost protections, there will still be additional layers of security between the compromised asset and the rest of the network.
- Least Privilege Policy – implementing a least privilege policy means limiting a user’s access to the minimum required to perform their job duties. If the account rights of that user are misused, the damage will be limited.
Data breaches and security flaws are often reported in the news, with victims ranging from small start-ups to well-known corporations. Depending on the type of data compromised and exploited, there are a variety of potential consequences for organizations that suffer a data breach, ranging from reputational harm to financial damage to legal penalties.
Knowing what your company’s greatest risks are is the first step toward safeguarding your confidential data. To mitigate the cybersecurity threats, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort, experience, and diligence.
Many of these steps will aid in the identification and discovery of vulnerable technology assets, and when you enforce your security plan, make sure that everything is recorded and checked on a regular basis.