types of threats to data security,

In an era of digitized information, Cyber security Threats is an ever more prominent issue, one that all business organizations need to deal with decisively.

Many business managers/owners are of the opinion that data threats are only relevant to larger organizations, but to hold this opinion would be a mistake as every business entity that crunches data or processes credit card information is at risk.

Whilst it can’t be denied that large business are more susceptible to the risks that ‘hacktivists’ and other ideologically motivated cyber criminals present, the threat of cyber crime still persists and therefore poses a threat that must be dealt with in a decisive manner.

Here are ten of the most common cyber security threats to business organizations and individuals alike according to leading internet security firms Cisco and Norton Security, some of which, like SPAM, often seem a lot less harmful than they have the potential to be.

  1. Adware

Adware poses a low-level threat to computers but it’s a highly prevalent one.

Whilst adware is essentially computer software that displays or downloads advertisements to computers, sometimes it’s actually malware or spyware in disguise.

Most antivirus packages can detect both adware and spyware and some make separate adware/spyware detection modules available.

  1. Botnets

The threat that botnets pose is as menacing as the name sounds.

Botnets are essentially groups of internet-connected computers controlled by hackers using computer viruses or Trojan horses and are often used in denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

A trial-and-error approach is often used to detect ‘bot’ activity though many security companies offer botnet detection programs.

  1. Computer worms

Computer worms are moderately prevalent but pose a high-threat to computers.

These are self-replicating, malicious software programs that can spread on their own without attaching themselves to other programs.

Keep up-to-date with the latest security updates and don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognize.

  1. Keystroke logging

A high-level, highly prevalent threat, keystroke logging entails the use of a program installed on a computer by hackers that harvests sensitive information by recording user keystrokes.

At the present point in time there’s no simple way to detect keystroke logging, though you’re advised to use current anti spyware programs and keep your firewall enabled.

  1. Phishing

Phishing, as with farming, is a form of spoofing where people or computer programs masquerade as others, usually in an attempt to harvest sensitive information.

This is a high-level, highly prevalent threat that is best dealt with in a vigilant manner by not opening suspect emails.

  1. Rogue security software

Rogue security software is increasingly prevalent and usually appears quite legitimate and innocuous as it comes in the form of pop-up windows advertising security alerts and updates.

Vigilance is the best way to deal with the threat rogue security software poses and there’s plenty of information on the subject which you’re advised to access.

  1. Rootkit

Rootkits can be defined as collections of tools used to obtain administrator-level access to computers and often contain spyware that’s used to log keystrokes with which to harvest information like credit card information and passwords.

This is a high-level threat that’s best dealt with by keeping antivirus software current.

  1. SPAM, SPIM and SPIT

These are low-level yet highly prevalent data threats which are usually more annoying than they are dangerous.

The biggest threat that SPAM, SPIM and SPIT pose to computers is to be used as a botnet that distributes SPAM, SPIM or SPIT.

Use SPAM filters to reduce the amount of SPAM your computer receives.

  1. Spyware

Another high-level, highly prevalent threat, in this case found in the form of computer software that either interferes with or monitors user activity.

The best way to deal with spyware is to keep your antivirus programs current.

  1. Trojan horse

Trojan horses damage computers by corrupting files, erasing or overwriting data, installing malicious programs, deactivating antivirus programs and firewalls and enabling hackers to use computers in DDoS attacks.

Keep antivirus software current so it’s able to detect and remove threats automatically.

The nature of cybercrime means that no one; MNCs, SMEs, start-ups and even individuals, can afford not to adopt an up-to-date cyber security strategy to protect themselves, their business interests and personal information from the dangers cyber threats pose.


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