4 Types of IT Network Vulnerabilities to Guard Against


By Contributing Author

Businesses try to anticipate risks — like natural disasters, lawsuits, changes in regulations and laws, equipment malfunctions and bad publicity — and protect against them as best they can. However, some enterprises continue to underestimate the consequences of cybercrime, which can be very costly in terms of lost revenue, diminished public trust and data theft.

According to Cybercrime Magazine, cybercrime damages are projected to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021 — meaning damages will have doubled since 2015. As the magazine outlines, potential costs include “damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems and reputational harm.”

Here are four types of IT network vulnerabilities to guard against in order to minimize cybersecurity risk.  

  1. Malware

When you think of a computer virus, it’s usually malware — which is a class of malicious software capable of giving cyber attackers access to a network, or causing damage. As ZDNet points out, one of the sneakiest aspects of malware is its victims may remain oblivious to the fact they’ve been compromised for some time.

Another challenging aspect of protecting against malware is there are so many different forms. For instance, Trojan malware gains access to networks by masquerading as a legitimate program so users will let their guard down and install it without a second thought. Once it’s inside a system, it can start feeding private information back to the cyberattackers who sent it. This form of malware got its name from the Trojan War, when Greeks presented a wooden horse as an “offering” to Athena, claiming it would make the city stronger. But, as we know now, the horse was actually full of soldiers waiting to pop out and open the gates so the Greek army could enter.  

  1. Ransomware

Another form of malware worth expounding upon is ransomware, which attempts to extort money from victims by essentially holding their devices hostage until they agree to pay ransoms to unlock them. But, as UC Berkeley warns, playing ball with an intruder by agreeing to pay doesn’t necessarily guarantee they’ll unlock your system; they could just walk away with the money and your bank account information if you’re not careful.

From a business perspective, ransomware can cause everything from disruptions in opersations to fees associated with restoring files and systems.  

  1. IP Spoofing

As the name implies, IP spoofing involves impersonating a legitimate IP address to conceal the identity of the sender. IP spoofing lays the groundwork for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. DDoS attacks overwhelm networks with traffic to render it inaccessible to users while MITM attacks involve intercepting communications between two parties to steal information.

As TechTarget outlines, IP spoofing may allow attackers to:

  • Avoid detection and identification by authorities
  • Prevent targeted devices from issuing intrusion alerts
  • Bypass security scripts, devices and services that attempt to mitigate attacks by blacklisting known malicious IP addresses

One way enterprises can safeguard themselves against the steep potential consequences of all these types of attacks is employing a third-party network monitor to collect and analyze data, detect threats and respond in as close to real-time as possible.  

  1. Phishing

Phishing attacks tend to target well-intentioned employees, aiming to get them to lower their guards and divulge sensitive information. For instance, email phishing attacks may impersonate a legitimate sender like a boss or a bank — and implore the victim to log into an account or hand over credentials, which the attacker can then use to further infiltrate the system.  

Although these four types of network vulnerabilities are worth taking very seriously, they’re just a few of the ways attackers can gain entrance into an IT network. This underscores the importance of taking enterprise cybersecurity very seriously and utilizing all the tools available today to mitigate cybersecurity risk.

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