What are Cyber Threats and its Types

What Are Cyber Threats and How to Stay Ahead of Them

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Have you ever heard of cybersecurity’s golden rule, “when in doubt, don’t click”? As humans yearn for the necessity of acquiring an internet connection within our homes, offices, and even mobile phones, we often tend to forget that being digitally connected makes us vulnerable to certain risks. Cybercrimes and cyber threats happen every day, wherein attackers are motivated to gain something from unprotected systems under the influence of their own ulterior motives, such as money, data, personal information, and so on.

Just like with the COVID-19 pandemic circulating all around the world, cybersecurity malware can also spread quickly from network to network and device to device. As the surging cases of coronavirus alarm people and put businesses into a temporary closure, it is essential to take note that cyberattacks can shut down your business as well. In worst cases, businesses can be permanently closed after a breach has occurred. In this article, we will discuss certain measures to help you gain awareness on several types of cyber threats and how you can stay ahead of them.

What Are Cyber Threats? 

Cyber threats can range from computer viruses to data breaches to other attack vectors. A cybersecurity threat is a malicious attempt to cause disruptions to a computer network that seeks to access unauthorized files to steal or damage data. As every organization deals with cybersecurity risks, such cyber threats should be taken seriously. Effective cyberattacks can often expose private data to be stolen by unauthorized personnel, affect normal operations of computer networks to be disrupted by electrical blackouts, and allow important records to be destroyed by malicious attackers.

While stealing important information such as banking data and medical records is known to be the ulterior motive of attackers, cyber threats can go further than just wanting to bag that money. Offensive individuals also fall under cybercrime whenever they do malicious acts with the use of an internet connection. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, one in five teenagers has received unwanted sexual solicitation from the internet. As this generation evolves into a tech-savvy world, kids in this era are more involved in using social media sites and browsing the web as their hobby, which can be pretty terrifying knowing that browsing the world wide web isn’t safe all the time.

What Is Threat Intelligence and Its Importance?

To fight off the cyber threats mentioned above, it is important to be knowledgeable about threat intelligence and be safe with your sensitive information. Threat intelligence (TI) refers to the information that an organization uses to be guided in understanding the threats that have, will, or are possibly targeting the organization in the present. A cyber threat analysis gives the organization knowledge of how threat intelligence works. It can also give you an advantage in selecting the right cyber threat tools and solutions to protect your business and build functional defense mechanisms to alleviate such risks.

Hiring a cyber intelligence trained professional for your business puts your company one step ahead in being capable of using threat intelligence information to prepare, forbid, and determine cyber threats that may attack your organization’s assets. Experts in this field are well informed about actionable intelligence too, when it pertains to someone’s ability to respond to data in a way that determines operational objectives upon a possible attack. When cyber threat management is properly implemented, your organization drastically improves to achieve the following: be more updated with the number of threats along with its suitable methods and vulnerabilities, be more driven to fight off future cybersecurity threats, and be more responsible in keeping leaders and stakeholders informed about the menace and consequences they could have on the company.

What Are the Types of Threat Intelligence?

Cyberthreat intelligence has four main types — strategic, tactical, technical, and operational.

  1. Strategic cyberthreat intelligence refers to the information of a non-technical audience that makes use of comprehensive analyses of modern trends and known risks to generate a prevalent picture of the possible reverberations upon the instance of a cyberattack. Policy documents and publications given out within the enterprise are main examples of strategic cyberthreat intelligence.
  2. Tactical threat intelligence refers to the information of peculiar details on threat actors’ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This evidence-based threat intelligence is normally restrained to security teams including the people that are directly associated with protecting the network of the organization. They tend to look for evidence like URLs, IP addresses, system logs, etc., to detect possible breach attempts in the future.
  3. Technical threat intelligence refers to the information of technical traces such as suspicious URLs or subject lines of phishing emails that are evocative signs of a cybersecurity threat. As technologies innovate almost every month, technical threat intelligence cannot be as useful when tactics, techniques, and procedures are changed regularly. Still, this type is essential because it conveys important details on what to look out for in examining cyberattacks.
  4. Operational threat intelligence refers to information on the nature of specific cyberattacks which can aid IT defenders in enumerating connected factors, such as timing, motive, substance, and sophistication of the organization responsible in handling the business. An example of this is the hiring of secret agents to infiltrate premises where it may take a long time to achieve the organization’s goal.
What Are the Types of Cyber Threats?

According to Roger A. Grimes, the most common cyber threats include phishing, trojans, and advanced persistent threats.

However, due to the game-changing innovation of technology, there has been a diversity of attacks. Common cyber threats include one or more of the following attacks:

  • Phishing attacks: Refers to malicious attempts of attackers to lure possible victims into filling up sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII), passwords, and banking details. In 2020, COVID-19 phishing scams became the top cyberthreat of the year as such scams surged up by 112%.
  • Malware: Refers to a software that carries out malicious tasks on a certain device or network to take control of a system and eventually corrupt its data. Examples include malvertising, a term for online advertising in spreading malware, and ransomware, which invalidates access to data or systems until a ransom is paid. There’s also spyware, which normally hides in a device, supplying real-time information sharing to its host, allowing them to embezzle sensitive data like passwords and bank details. Lastly, a form of malware called the wiper attack aims to wipe the contents of the infected computer’s hard drive.
  • Zero-day exploits: Refers to a software, hardware, or firmware flaw that is unknown to the parties in charge of spotting the defect. Zero-day attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated; a report concluded that incidents are expected to double in 2020.
  • Theft of money: Refers to the attackers gaining access to credit card numbers or bank accounts to stealthily obtain money. Along with theft of money, intellectual property theft refers to the robbery of one’s intellectual property without authorization.
  • Advanced persistent threats: Refers to the gained access of an unauthorized person to a system or network who prevails to stay there without being discovered for a period of time. Trojans can be placed at this point, wherein an attacker gains control of the computer system, creating a backdoor and obtaining access to confidential and sensitive data.
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks: Refers to the disruption of a computer network by flooding the network with unnecessary requests to overload the system and stop the achievement of genuine requests. DDoS normally works with data manipulation as this type of manipulation doesn’t steal data; rather, it aims to alter information so that it will be harder for an organization to operate.
  • Unpatched software: Refers to software that has a known security vulnerability which has been fixed in a later patch but is not yet fully updated. Relatedly, a rogue software is malware that is disguised as real software.

Cyber threats come from numerous threat actors, including hackers, hacktivists, terrorist groups, natural disasters, hostile nation-states, corporate spies, accidental actions of authorized users, and even organization insiders. Be safe and choose the right decision of applying cyber threat intelligence into your organization for a faster and a more targeted response when battling cyberattacks.

Protect Your Organization Now!

So, how can you start implementing cyber threat intelligence? Get things going by training yourself or your team in TI. A certification course is the best option since it features  a short time frame and teaches you exactly what you need to know to protect your organization from threats.

EC-Council’s Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) program offers lessons that are designed and developed in collaboration with cybersecurity and threat intelligence experts across the globe. EC-Council’s aim is to help organizations hire competent cyber intelligence trained professionals to detect and lessen business risks by altering unknown internal and external threats into assessable threat units and halt them in their tracks. Don’t wait for a cyberattack to disrupt your operations, enroll now!

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