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How to Defend Against the Most Common Cyber-Threats

2 October 2019 by Charlotte Greene

common cyber-threats

There are so many different cyber-threats out there. From phishing to DDoS, malware to web-based attacks. But what are the most common cyber-threats you should be focussing on? And what are the most effective methods of protection?

The truth is that it would be difficult, not to mention expensive, to protect yourself from every single cyber-threat. But having protection from the most common risks does put you in a great position when it comes to improving your overall security.

1.       DDoS attacks

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service.

DDoS attacks happen when multiple machines come together to target a single host. The main aim of a DDoS attack is to overload the host’s server with an excess of server requests. Unable to cope with the amount of bogus traffic, your server crashes and your network, website or applications experience downtime as a result.

DDoS protection services are available from a number of providers. These services work by utilising a strategically designed network and specialised equipment which detects, blocks and adapts to DDoS attacks.

More on protection for DDoS attacks >

2.       Brute force attempts

Brute force attempts are pretty straightforward. In this type of attack, hackers will approach your network with a long list of login credentials – usually usernames and passwords – and try every combination until one works.

An effective way to thwart brute force attempts is to invest in an Intrusion Detection or Intrusion Prevention service, such as threat monitoring. Threat monitoring analyses traffic across your entire network. It spots any suspicious activity including, for instance, someone trying many different combinations of username and password.

After detecting this activity, threat monitoring software blocks the IP address, dramatically reducing the chances of a successful brute force hack. Think of this as a version of when you forget your phone pin and it locks you out for 30 seconds, then if you’re wrong again the time locked out doubles, and so on. Just like unwanted visitors to your phone, sometimes the best way to put hackers off is to just make the whole process incredibly frustrating.

Learn more about threat monitoring >

3.       SQL injection

Malicious SQL injection attacks are often carried out with the aim of stealing business-critical information from SQL databases. This means any data-driven applications, such as your website, are a potential target.

Enabled by improper coding of vulnerable web applications, hackers craft their own SQL statement into input fields for execution by the underlying SQL database. This then causes the application to perform the action written in the malicious code – the result of which can be anything the hacker wants.

A web application firewall (WAF) has thousands of rule sets which cover several common application-layer attacks including SQL injection. As a first layer of defence, using a WAF is essential and means that even if your code does contain some vulnerabilities, you’re still giving your web apps effective protection from SQL injection attempts.

More on SQL protection >

4.       Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the files on your device or your network’s storage devices. To restore access to the encrypted files, a ransom must be paid to the cybercriminals, typically through a difficult-to-trace electronic payment method such as Bitcoin.

Most often distributed through phishing email attacks, ransomware is easily mistaken for a legitimate file or link which, when opened, triggers the encryption of your files.

Ransomware targets millions of organisations across the globe every single day. Employee awareness and training to spot and report ransomware communications is therefore crucial to stop these attacks at the first hurdle.

Explore 7 ways to defend against ransomware >

Speak to a UKFast security expert now and discover how we can help protect your organisation from a wide range of cyber-threats. Call now on 0800 321 5917 or request a callback.

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