The exact nature of most cyber threats varies from one person to another. While cyber threats are prevalent in the modern world, the most common types of cyber threats and the best ways to protect yourself from them are listed below. Ransomware is perhaps the most well-known example of a cyber threat, but there are many others, including SQL injection, social engineering, and worms. Again, these threats vary widely by target and are often referred to as “cybercrimes.”

Ransomware

While it’s true that there are countless different ways to deal with ransomware, the process is generally pretty simple. First, the software encrypts a victim’s files by adding an extension, preventing the user from decrypting them without the attacker’s private key. Once the malware has done this, it displays a message demanding a ransom in bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency. 

Ransomware has grown from the first attacks to incorporate multiple data exfiltration techniques, and participate in distributed denial-of-service attacks, and anti-detection components. For example, one variant encrypts files and deletes them no matter what the victim pays. Another variant locks cloud-based backups during persistent synchronization. Some variants target smartphones and the Internet of things.

Ransomware has become a significant cyber threat that has infected virtually every vertical. The recent Presbyterian Memorial Hospital attack highlights the potential damage ransomware can cause. Hospitals were affected, but emergency rooms, labs, and pharmacies were also affected. As ransomware evolves, social engineering attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and effective. Many victims of ransomware infections are prompted to pay the ransom by installing a link or installing a virus that encrypts their files.

Worms

Worms are computer viruses that replicate themselves to infect other devices. They are one of the most common malware types encountered today. They are spread across networks by exploiting vulnerable network protocols and are distributed via email attachments, file-sharing programs, social networking sites, and removable drives. Depending on how they are spread, they may steal sensitive information, change security settings, or even prevent users from accessing files on their system.

In 1988, the first computer worm was the Morris worm. It spread via email and crashed 6,000 computers. In 2017, the WannaCry worm encrypted files on Windows systems and demanded ransom payments. In the early 2000s, worms became more sophisticated and malicious. For example, the ILOVEYOU worm spread through mass emails, and the Nimda worm spread by changing existing websites to offer malicious downloads.

SQL injection

OTodayne of the most common cyber threats also is SQL injection, a type of attack that allows hackers to insert malicious SQL statements into a web application. An attacker can use these attacks to change, delete, or insert data into a database. If the hacker can gain access to the application’s server, they can even take control of the operating system or other network resources. Fortunately, there are ways to detect SQL injections.

While a successful SQL injection attack can allow an attacker to change or manipulate data in a database, it also risks sensitive information. The data in the database can be manipulated by the attacker, who can access and manipulate sensitive information and change it without obtaining a user’s credentials. In addition, attackers can gain administrative privileges by impersonating a database administrator and modifying data in the database. Therefore, businesses should limit the number of users who have access to the database to protect sensitive information.

Social engineering

Social engineering is a cyber threat that focuses on tricking victims into providing information in return for something of value. Social engineers use baiting techniques, such as impersonating legitimate companies and calling random extension numbers to catch victims by surprise. Additionally, social engineers can compromise their victims’ machines by asking them to provide sensitive information. Tailgating is another type of social engineering where unauthorized individuals track the movements of authorized employees to gain access to secure facilities.

Tailgating, or piggybacking, involves an attacker assuming the identity of a delivery driver or custodian and tricking them into holding the door for them. They may then steal unattended devices and access sensitive files while inside the building. Another example of social engineering attacks is scareware, which bombards victims with false alarms to make them download malware or pay for video footage. This approach is particularly popular with victims of credit card fraud.