What Does It All Mean?! 8 Security Risks Defined That Exist in the Cyber-World

We are familiar with the malicious activity that exists in the cyber world; however while many of us hear about security breaches and cyberattacks, most of us do not know the “what” behind the end result. Below are eight of the common security risks that exist:

Bot: Bot is a program that is remotely triggered to perform an action once it is on a computer.  Most of these are not aimed at the actual computer they infect, but instead use that computer to launch attacks on other entities.  Or, they can use that computer to carry out an intended task, such as bitcoin mining.

Computer Worm.  A computer worm is nearly the same as a virus.  The only underlying difference is once it begins infection, it can replicate itself to other devices.  During this process, it also has the ability to change itself without interaction. Basically, once released, it freely goes and infects.

Malware.  Malware, derived from ‘Malicious Software,’ is a blanket term for software that is created for the sole purpose of causing harm to your computer.  Some of the harmful antics of Malware can cause damage that can disrupt the usage of your system, or worse- it can completely disable your system and render it useless.

Phishing. Phishing is an attempt to impersonate another entity with the purpose of gathering personal information. Phishing email is when you receive an email from what you think is a well-known source. The email may then request you to click on what appears to be a legitimate link. Often times, personal information is requested and since these websites appear to be from companies you may or may not have a direct relationship with, you may be inclined to verify credit card information or bank account details. Once verified, the information is then hijacked.

Another common phishing scheme is phishing web pages. These are often pages that are misspellings of common web pages that redirect you to official looking sites.

Ransomware.  Ransomware is another type of software that is threatening to the victim.  Oftentimes, someone will request money (usually via bitcoin) and if they do not receive the said funds, they will threaten to destroy, or steal, and then publish personal information about the victim(s) on the web. To help lessen the risk, regularly tested backups and encrypting data are highly suggested.  Regularly tested backups are important, since backups allow for the ability to retrieve information in the event there is a data destruction. Data encryption is equally important since it can lessen the accessibility of information if it is stolen.

Spyware. When someone/a business is infected with the spyware software, they are/it is unknowingly watched as information is secretly gathered. Then, this information may or may not be sold or sent to a third a party, thus compromising personal data and passwords.

Trojan.  Trojans do not natively cause harm to a computer. They do, however, create a way for other programs to download and install without the user’s knowledge. Trojans typically download other types of malware, some of which may give an attacker unrestricted access to your device.

Virus.  A Virus, also a type of malware, infects computers through the process of continuously copying itself.  As this occurs, the virus is actually adding in malicious code to all other code that exists in the background of your device. A virus does need a means of transport to infect another device, unlike a worm that can transport itself.

As scary as the above sounds, there are ways to help lessen risks through proactive support measures, such as partnering with a Managed Security Services Provider.  A Managed Security Services Provider can then monitor the network for suspicious activity, as well as run scans to protect workstations from potential risks.  They can even help to plan the mitigation of damage and repair times in case there is a breach.