Advancement in digital technology has expanded the scope of business functions and communication but it also comes with challenges, the prominent of which is security.
As a business owner, in order to keep your important data safe, it is good to be aware of the types of computer security threats that can harm an organization.
Computer Security Threats
Various forms of computer security threats are discussed in this article. Knowing these vectors of attacks and how they operate will help you make informed decisions about securing your computers.
1. Computer Virus
Viruses are harmful codes that replicate themselves on computers. They can infect and corrupt programs and documents, making the files unusable. Computer viruses are often used interchangeably with malware. However, a computer virus is a type of malware. Malware covers all types of malicious software regardless of its mode of operation.
A virus can make copies of itself until it eventually crashes a computer by corrupting essential system files.
A computer system can be infected with a virus through:
- Sharing or download infected files, music, and documents
- Spam emails and attachments
- Visiting malicious websites
- Downloading cracked version of a software
- Installing shady “official” software
2. Computer Worms
These are self-replicating computer programs. Unlike viruses, they do not require user interaction to copy themselves. Computer worms spread themselves over a network. Some worms are designed to propagate via email as well.
Spyware is any type of program that monitors users’ online and offline activities on a computer without their consent.
They can be used to steal personal and sensitive information such as passwords and financial data of victims.
The following are categories of spyware:
Keyloggers secretly capture all the keystrokes typed by a user. Some may also record the typed text from specific applications such as browsers.
Adware can secretly monitor user’s behavior and serve them ads to generate profit. Though it is relatively less damaging, some adware can become annoyingly persistent and even alter system and browser settings to get more clicks for the operator.
- Tracking Spyware
Tracking spyware is used to monitor and record the behavior and activity history of users on a computer which are then sent to the operator.
Hackers can deploy spyware to monitor their victims and collect data that can be used for further attacks.
Scareware displays threatening alerts and messages on computers often tricking users into buying fake solutions or subscriptions to non-existent problems.
It may also capture a victim’s credit card details for subsequent unauthorized charges.
Hackers also use scareware as conduits for installing hard to remove viruses and adware on systems.
Ransomware encrypts victims’ data and then forces them to part with money before unlocking the data. By the time a ransom alert is seen, it is usually too late to recover the files without paying.
Rootkits are an especially dangerous computer security threat. They acquire administrative privileges and make themselves and associated malware look like system files that are essential for computer operation. Hence, they are very difficult to remove.
This form of threat may not involve malware. Hackers on the same network can intercept and sniff confidential and login credentials.
They may also take advantage of an insecure server or poorly configured firewall to hijack your system and steal users’ data.
8. Social Engineering and Phishing
With this form of attack, even cybercriminals with little technical skills are a threat to businesses.
A criminal can impersonate the boss or high-ranking employee to demand a password reset, fund transfer, or access to business computers.
Social engineers can also pose as business partners or support to hijack a system and lock out legitimate users.
Ways To Protect your Business Against Computer Security Threats
- Install and keep your antivirus up to date
- Install strong firewall system-wide
- Have a robust email security system in place
- Train your employees on best computer security practices
- Tighten up browser security settings
- Use VPN to encrypt network data
- Implement a Two-Factor authentication policy in your organization
- Set up an active backup to multiple locations
Computer systems are at risk from cybercriminals. In this digital age, an unprotected computer system is vulnerable to all sorts of attacks that can disrupt your business. To learn more about adding an extra layer of security for your business, please contact us today. A team member would be happy to share with you information about our cyber security programs, secureTEK and secureTEK BDR.