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    6 Common Network Security Threats & Protection Strategies

    Computer networks are fast and reliable ways to share information and resources within companies. They help businesses make the best use of their IT systems and equipment. They also increase storage capacity since some files can be stored remotely on network-attached storage devices.

    Despite the various advantages that networking computers afford, networking increases the potential for security problems like security breaches and data loss. Network security is quickly becoming an issue of grave concern for companies of all sizes. Both large corporations and small businesses are targets for different network attacks that can cause considerable damage to businesses. That has necessitated a way to protect systems, data, and software. That said, you cannot protect your network from threats you do not know.

    Let’s look at the various attack vectors that malicious hackers use to infiltrate business networks:

    Network Security Threats

    Ransomware

    Ransomware is a form of malicious software that hackers use to encrypt their victims’ files. The attackers then go ahead to ask for payment before they can restore access to the files. The attackers can ask for a fee ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. With this kind of attack, victims cannot decrypt the files without a mathematical key that only the attackers know.

    The victims only get a message notifying them that they won’t access their files until they comply with the attackers’ demands. Ransomware is quite commonplace, with businesses falling victim to the attacks every 14 seconds. Ransomware attacks are rampant, with gangs making more than 300 million dollars in 2020.

    Phishing attacks

    Phishing attacks are a kind of social engineering attack. They are made to intercept confidential data like passwords, credit card numbers, and usernames. The attackers impersonate reputable sites, institutions of personal contacts to reach their targets. They then send messages or emails that they design to appear legit. Replying to the emails or opening a link provided in the fake emails prompts the victims to enter their sensitive details, which then get in the hands of the malicious source. The hackers can then use the credential to wreak damage.

    Trojan horse

    Trojan horses are programs that are downloaded into a computer. They may appear harmless but are indeed malicious. The programs appear legitimate, but they tend to have several viruses. When a trojan horse gets network access, it can log keystrokes to steal highly classified information. Trojan horse attacks are mainly distributed through email just in the same manner phishing attacks work. Trojan horses can even hijack the webcam and access the most sensitive information.

    Botnets and DDoS

    Botnets are not malware, but they are still among the biggest threats to network security. Botnets are a potent network of compromised computers that can be remotely controlled. Attackers use them to launch vast attacks. The botnets carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to overwhelm the victims. DDoS attacks overwhelm hosted servers, therefore, making them completely inoperable.

    DDoS attacks are especially harmful to businesses that make money through online operations. Companies can lose even up to millions of dollars when their websites are down. With DDoS attacks, the computers in use for the attacks do not all belong to the attackers. The hackers get most of them to their compromised network using malware that they distribute widely using botnets.

    Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

    APTs are sophisticated attacks where the attackers code their way into accessing a system network and remain in the system undetected for a while. APTs are not hit-and-run attacks. The attackers remain in the system siphoning critical information throughout their stay in the network. The APT hackers use various techniques from malware, exploit kits, and other means to access networks.

    SQL Injection attacks

    SQL injection attacks use malicious SQL code to conduct backend database manipulation and access sensitive information. SQL attacks are data-driven attacks that prove to be a dangerous privacy issue. They are common since most e-commerce platforms still use SQL queries to do inventory and order processing.

    Protection Strategies

    These are only a few attack vectors that attackers use to hijack networks and cause regrettable damages. Companies hold endless amounts of business data that they can not risk losing. And with data breaches costing millions, there is a need to put in place some prevention strategies. Here are some network protection strategies you should employ in your business to safeguard yourself:

    Update your software

    Those pesky update alerts are actually trying to help. Updating your systems is essential to your network health. Newer software versions usually fix any security vulnerabilities that could be an access point for attacks. It is necessary to ensure that all your software and operating systems are running on the latest versions with no bugs. If you find manual updates too time-consuming, you can opt for automatic software updates for most of your programs.

    Install a firewall

    Firewalls protect computer networks by managing network traffic. Firewalls can block unwanted traffic and validate access by analyzing incoming traffic for anything unwelcome like malware that could infect your systems.

    Use products from top security vendors

    Hackers are always trying to come up with novel ways to penetrate networks and capitalize on weak systems. You, therefore, cannot afford to miss a cybersecurity strategy for your networks. Always ensure that you only purchase security products from top vendors like Malwarebytes and FortiSwitch . These vendors work around the clock to stay one step ahead when coming with innovative solutions to protect their customers.

    Get Intrusions Prevention Systems

    Intrusion prevention systems scan your network and traffic for attack vectors and respond to any suspicions quickly. IPS systems also have a database of the common attacks methods making it easier to recognize threats.

    Perform regular backups

    Be proactive with doing regular backups. Backups come in helpful in the event of any data loss from hardware or software failure, human error, or malicious attacks. Always have your backups away from your network. That way, you can access them even when the network is compromised. It will save you from business interruption and added costs that you may incur by paying ransom in case of a ransomware attack.

    Network segmentation

    Your network has various kinds of traffic, and each of them has different security risks. Network segmentation helps you give access to the right traffic and eliminate traffic from suspect sources.

    Conclusion

    Network security is of utmost importance to businesses and individuals too. Knowing the common threats and ways to mitigate the risks from possible attacks ensures that you keep the attackers at bay.

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