Most organizations rely heavily on technology, which means… without it your business would come to a screeching halt. Did you know that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, 94% of malware is delivered by email, and more than 77% of organizations do not have a cyber attack response plan?
To be sure the cyber security measures you have in place are adequate for your business, regular security assessments must be scheduled to identify internal and external threats. Without them, security gaps can expose the company’s data to hackers and weaken system operations; resulting in financial loss and irreparable damage to your business and reputation.
You may wonder why a cyber security assessment is necessary. In short, the assessments help to identify vulnerabilities within your infrastructure, including: inadequate security, substandard backup plans, hidden viruses, non-compliance, a weak contingency plan, and the potential for human error. In this article, we’ll talk about the first one on that list.
Identify Cyber Security Vulnerabilities
There are countless IT security vulnerabilities for every business. When you consider all of the computers, tablets, smart phones, printers, etc that are connected to multiple networks (on and off site) – each device exposed to cyber security threats in their unique way – it would be impossible (and mind-numbing for you) to list them all.
Knowing there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to identifying all of the potential threats to your cyber security, we’ll stick to the most critical things to assess…
- Malware – The goal of malicious malware is to access sensitive data. Basic antivirus can protect against some malwares, but a multitiered security solution should include: antivirus, Deep Packet Inspection, filtering firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems, email virus scanners, and employee awareness training. They must run in tandem in order to provide optimal protection.
- Unpatched Security Vulnerabilities – Unpatched vulnerabilities allow attackers to run malicious code by leveraging an unpatched security bug they discover in the software protection systems you use. The task of patching software vulnerabilities is a never-ending process, but organizations must have a well-defined strategy in place to minimize the threats to sensitive company data. When you are notified that a new version of the anti-virus or malware protection software is available, be sure to update your devices immediately.
- Hidden Backdoor Programs – Backdoor installation takes advantage of vulnerable components in a web application. Once installed, detection is difficult, as the Trojans – typically masquerading as an email attachment or file – tend to adapt to their environment; making them virtually invisible. Cybercriminals use this method to steal personal and financial data, install additional malware, and hijack devices.
- Admin Account Privileges – The less information employees can access, the less damage they can do – intentionally or otherwise. It’s imperative to put security measures in place – unique to each team member – that block access to information that is not necessary for them to do their job. This is critical for managing computer security vulnerabilities. And, don’t forget to remove all privileges when an employee has left the company.
- Automated Running of Scripts Without Malware/Virus Checks – Some attackers use certain web browsers that run scripts automatically, without requiring a malware or virus scan. As a result, cybercriminals get the browser to run malware without the knowledge of the user. Because these fileless attacks exist only in the computer’s memory, traditional static file detection is rendered useless. Scripts also complicate post-event analysis because traces of the attack may be overwritten or removed through a reboot.
- Unknown Bugs in Software or Programming Interfaces – A coding defect is known as a software bug that can be used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to a computer system through any number of the software applications you use. Software bugs can introduce security vulnerabilities to every device your company’s employees use. The earlier vulnerabilities are exposed, the sooner security teams can analyze the risk and take the necessary steps for patching them.
- Phishing Attacks – Phishing is a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. It occurs when an attacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, lures a victim into opening an email or text message. The recipient is then tricked into clicking a malicious link. This can lead to the installation of malware, holding your system hostage – as part of a ransomware attack – or the stealing of sensitive information.
- Your IoT Devices – IoT devices are insecure by design, because they lack the processing power for basic protection like encryption. It’s likely that IoT will become the number one source for ransomware attacks in the very near future. Botnets, advanced persistent threats, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, identity theft, data theft, man-in-the-middle attacks, and social engineering attacks are all possible when using IoT devices.
- Human Error – Employees may click on a malicious link in an email, download a corrupted file, visit an unsecure website, or share credentials with the wrong people, allowing hackers easy access to your company’s sensitive data. Ongoing cybersecurity training helps employees identify the ever-emerging cybersecurity threats so they don’t become a victim of cyber crimes. By keeping their devices protected, they will also be protecting your businesses’ sensitive data.
Identifying security vulnerabilities allows you to fix potential weaknesses in your organization’s cyber security network, thereby protecting you from cyber attacks. The main objective is to continuously fix the security gaps before attackers use them to create a cybersecurity breach.
Cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats are always changing. Every day, new vulnerabilities and exploits are discovered. Doing vulnerability testing and providing immediate solutions are crucial for putting an end to new cybersecurity threats each time they arise.