6 Cyberattack Vectors and How to Prevent Them


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According to ConnectWise, around 79% of companies expect a cyberattack this year. Cyberattack vectors (also known as threat vectors) are pathways through which cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to an organization’s computer systems, networks, or data. These vectors can exploit vulnerabilities in hardware, software, human behavior, or a combination of these elements.

1. Phishing attacks 

  • Phishing attacks are one of the most commonly used attack vectors that are delivered through deceptive emails or messages. They involve tricking individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card numbers.

Prevention strategies for phishing include:

  • Email filtering: Email filtering protects your organization against inbound threats and prevents forwarding potentially damaging emails.
  • Security awareness training: Comprehensive training can educate employees about the risks and signs of phishing. This includes recognizing social engineering tactics, understanding the importance of data protection, and reporting suspicious activities.

2. Ransomware attacks 

Ransomware attacks are malicious incidents where cybercriminals access a computer system or network, encrypt the victim’s data, and demand a ransom for the decryption key to unlock the data. These attacks can lead businesses to lose sensitive information. Even if you pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee that the attackers will send the decryption key. Besides, the brand damage alone is devastating for many organizations. 

Prevention strategies for ransomware attacks include:

  • Backups: Keep regular and automated daily backups and ensure offline storage is also done.
  • Access control: Enforce access controls and review user permissions to prevent unauthorized access to critical data.
  • Network segmentation: Divide your network into segments to limit the lateral movements of ransomware in the event of an infection.
  • Data encryption: Encrypt sensitive data to prevent unauthorized access.  

3. Malware infections 

Malware refers to a wide range of software that is created to damage and gain unauthorized entry to computer systems. Malware can come in different forms, such as viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, and adware. For example, once a virus attacks your system, it can multiply and spread to other systems and networks. Similarly, spyware can track user activities and steal sensitive corporate information.

Prevention strategies for malware include:

  • Firewall protection: Install a firewall to monitor and block suspicious incoming and outgoing activity. 
  • Endpoint security: Endpoint security means to protect your individual devices (known as endpoints), such as laptops, phones, and servers. You can do this by installing anti-virus, anti-malware, and intrusion detection software to identify malware infections and remove them before they can do anything dangerous. 
  • Pentesting (penetration testing): Pentesting involves emulating the techniques that malicious actors would use in a safe environment to determine your security status and adjust accordingly.

4. Insider threats

Insider threats refer to the risk posed by individuals within an organization who might misuse their access to harm the organization. Insider threats can either be malicious or accidental.

Prevention strategies for insider threats include:

  • Thorough employee screening: You can prevent malicious insider attacks by running thorough background checks before you hire employees who are expected to deal with sensitive business information.

5. Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits target software vulnerabilities that are unknown to the software vendor or have remained unpatched. Cybercriminals use these vulnerabilities to breach systems before the vendor can release a patch. Zero-day exploits pose a significant threat because there’s no defense in place to counter them when they’re first discovered.

Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access, steal data, install malware, or disrupt operations. If an organization is exposed to zero-day vulnerabilities for an extended period, it increases the likelihood of a successful breach.

Prevention strategies for zero-day exploits include:

  • Patch management: Regular assessments can help to identify vulnerabilities. Establish a systematic process for identifying, testing, and deploying patches for your systems. Automated patch management can help streamline this process, reducing exposure to zero-day threats.
  • Network segmentation: By isolating critical systems from less secure areas, you can limit the potential lateral movement of attackers who have breached the organization’s network. This containment can prevent the spread of an attack from one system to another and protect sensitive data.

6. Credential attacks 

Credential attacks occur when cybercriminals gain access to a network or system using legitimate login credentials, often stolen or obtained through social engineering. These attacks are difficult to detect as they appear as authorized access.

Prevention strategies for credential attacks include:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA adds an extra layer of security, requiring users to provide a second form of verification.
  • Security Information and Event Management Systems (SIEM): SIEM systems can detect suspicious login activities and trigger alerts for potential credential-based threats.

Yeo & Yeo Technology’s cybersecurity management solutions

From zero-day exploits to supply chain breaches, these cyberattack vectors continually evolve and put your online security at risk. Yeo & Yeo Technology can help your organization implement robust security measures to protect your data. Our team can minimize the risk of cyberattack vectors while also helping with a swift response if an incident happens. Get in touch today.

Information used in this article was provided by our partners at ConnectWise.

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