Network security threats and solutions you need to know

Australians have already lost $72 million to cybercrime in 2022. No matter what niche your business is in or the scale of your company, network threats can significantly impact your organisation's operations if you are not protected by adequate measures.

Awareness of digital security and the most common security risks can help you, your employees, and data stay safe.

What is network security?

Network security is the deployment and monitoring of cyber security solutions to protect your organisation's IT systems from attacks and breaches. It also covers policies surrounding the handling of sensitive information.

Network security involves the following solutions:

  • Network segmentation
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)
  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion  prevention systems (IPS)
  • And more

Every year, cybercriminals develop more intuitive programs to exploit businesses. Organisations that regularly invest in their IT system security and educate themselves on the latest security issues stand a better chance of avoiding and surviving cyber-attacks.

7 common network security issues

If your company is aware of the threats listed below, you can create more comprehensive strategies and practices to ensure that your organisation will not fall prey to the cyber world's worst.

1) Internal security threats

Over 90% of cyberattacks are caused by human error. This can take the form of phishing attacks, careless decision-making, weak passwords, and more.

Insider actions that negatively impact your business's network and sensitive data can result in downtime, loss of revenue, and disgruntled customers.

2) Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks

A DDoS attack causes websites to crash, malfunction, or experience slow loading times. In these cases, cybercriminals infect internet-connected devices (mobile phones, computers, etc.) and convert them into bots. Hackers send the bots to a victim's IP address.

This results in a high volume of internet traffic bombarding the website with requests and causing it to go offline. These attacks make it difficult to separate legitimate and compromised traffic.

3) Rogue security software

Rogue security software tricks businesses into believing their IT infrastructure is not operational due to a virus. It usually appears as a warning message sent by a legitimate anti-malware solution.

Once a device is infected with a rogue program, the malware spams the victim with messages, forcing them to pay for a non-existent security solution, which is often malware. Rogue security software can also corrupt your pre-existing cyber security programs to prolong their attack.

4) Malware

Malware are malicious software programs used to gather information about victims through compromised devices. After successful deployments, hackers can mine devices for classified information (email addresses, bank accounts, passwords, etc.) and use them to commit identity theft, blackmail, or other business-damaging actions.

Malware includes:

  • Worms – exploits weaknesses in computer systems to spread to other devices.
  • Rootkits – grants unauthorised access to systems in the form of fraudulent access privilege without the victim's knowledge.
  • Trojan viruses – slips under a network's radar by hitchhiking on other software and provides hackers with unprecedented access to systems.
  • Spyware – gathers information on how devices are used by their owners.

5) Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files within infected systems and holds them for ransom, forcing victims to pay for a decryption key to unlock the data. This can take the form of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS).

RaaS is like software-as-a-service (SaaS), specifically for ransomware. RaaS dealers develop codes that buyers can use to develop their own malware and launch cyberattacks. Some common RaaS examples include BlackMatter, LockBit, DarkSide, and REvil.

6) Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are scams where hackers disguise themselves as a trusted entity and attempt to gain access to networks and steal personal information, such as credit card details. Phishing scams take the form of emails, text messages, or phone calls.

Similar to rogue security software, phishing attacks are designed to appear legitimate. This encourages victims to click on malicious links or download malware-laden attachments.

7) Viruses

Computer viruses are commonly attached to downloadable files from emails or websites. Once you open the file, the virus exploits vulnerabilities in your software to infect your computer with malicious code to disrupt network traffic, steal data, and more.

Viruses are not to be confused with worms. Though they both are a type of malware, the difference is in how they penetrate networks. Simply put, computer viruses cannot infect systems until their host (the file) is opened. Worms can infect networks as soon as they enter a business's IT infrastructure.

How to protect your organisation's IT infrastructure

There are various ways companies can protect their data and networks from malicious hackers and disasters. While many of these measures can be outsourced to a managed service provider (MSP), they also require you and your staff to remain alert and responsive to potential threats.

You can safeguard your networks by:

  • Backing up data and files.
  • Investing in comprehensive cyber security awareness training for you and your team.
  • Promoting a work environment that values application security and safe practices.
  • Installing anti-malware solutions, such as next-generation firewalls.
  • Restrict access to your network's security controls for authorised personnel only.
  • Upgrade devices and secure your endpoints with multi-factor authentication, strong passwords, etc.

Taking cyber security seriously can help mitigate the chances of your company becoming a victim of data breaches and losing money and time.

Secure your network and data with a team of cyber safety experts

From mobile devices to computers, network security is not a trend that will disappear. It is a way of conducting safe, ethical business and your company's systems need to leverage the latest practices to streamline organisational growth and innovate your processes.

The cyber security consultants at Essential Tech specialise in protecting business networks with the latest software and hardware. Talk to the team today to have them improve your cyber security posture, empower your staff with industry knowledge, and achieve greater corporate safety.

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