For those of you who don’t believe data theft to be a serious threat to your business, consider that 95% of cybersecurity incidents at SMBs cost anywhere between $826 and $653,587!
With figures like that, it’s no wonder that some SMBs close up shop forever after being hit by a devastating cyber attack.
To help you from becoming another shuttered business statistic, we’re going to fill you in on what the top 10 most exploitable and most common network vulnerabilities hackers prefer to target today—and how to either prevent or mitigate the resulting damage to your business’ bottom line.
What Are the Differences Between Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities?
In the world of cyber security, vulnerabilities and threats are often used interchangeably.
However, there is a key difference between the two concepts: while network vulnerabilities refer to weaknesses in your system that can be exploited by hackers, network threats are specific actions or behaviors that could lead to such an exploitation.
In other words, network vulnerabilities describe potential entry points for hackers, while network threats describe the actions they could take once they’ve gained access to your system.
The 5 Most Common Types of Attacks in Network Security
There are many different types of network attacks that hackers can carry out once they’ve gained access to your system, including:
- Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which overwhelm a network or web application with traffic and prevent it from functioning properly. One frequently used method to achieve this attack is when attackers make their way in via misconfigured firewalls.
- Man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks, which involve intercepting and modifying data in transit between two parties.
- Malware attacks, which involve introducing malicious software or malicious code into your network to disrupt or disable it.
- Phishing attacks, which trick users into divulging sensitive information or clicking on links that could compromise their operating system and network security.
- Brute force attacks, which attempt to guess login credentials by trying millions of different combinations until the correct one is eventually found.
The 10 Most Exploitable Types of Vulnerabilities in Network Security
To help you protect your computer networks from these and other types of cyber attacks, here are the 10 most exploitable and common network vulnerabilities that businesses need to be aware of:
1. Weak Passwords and Lack of Two-Factor Authentication
One of the simplest ways for hackers to gain access to a system is by using brute force attacks on weak or easily guessed passwords.
To prevent this, all users in your organization should be required to use strong, unique passwords, and use two-factor authentication wherever possible.
2. Unpatched Software
Outdated and unpatched software is another common entry point into networks due to its susceptibility to malware attacks such as ransomware, which can quickly spread throughout a system if it’s not fixed immediately.
To keep your software up to date, it’s important to have a comprehensive patch management policy in place that identifies and regularly fixes all known cyber vulnerabilities.
3. Insufficient Network Segmentation
By segmenting your network into different zones with limited privileges, you can significantly reduce the damage caused by cyber attacks like malware and ransomware infections.
For example, if an infected device is contained in a restricted zone, other devices within the same zone will be protected from infection as well.
4. Unsecured Remote Access Points
Many businesses today allow their employees to work remotely, which can pose a security risk if proper precautions are not taken when granting such access.
One way to mitigate this risk is by using two-factor authentication to protect remote access points and requiring employees to use secure virtual private networks (VPNs) when accessing sensitive data from offsite.
5. Unencrypted Communication Channels
Data that is sent over unencrypted channels such as email and instant messaging can be easily intercepted by cyber attackers, allowing them to gain unauthorized access or even manipulate the content being transmitted.
To prevent these types of network security threats, businesses should encrypt all network traffic using strong, industry-standard encryption protocols like TLS/SSL whenever possible.
6. Lack of Awareness Training for Employees
Another key risk factor in any network security system is human error—in particular, employees who are unaware of common cyber threats and how they can put the business at risk.
This is why it’s essential to provide ongoing security training for all employees and to regularly reinforce best practices like using strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links, and keeping devices updated. Considering that employee negligence is the leading cause of data breaches for businesses, consider a robust cyber awareness training program your first line of defense against cyber attacks.
7. Insufficiently Hardened Network Infrastructure
Many businesses overlook the importance of securing their network infrastructure against cyber attacks, leaving critical vulnerabilities like weak firewall configurations or unpatched Wi-Fi routers that can easily be exploited by hackers.
To protect your network from these threats, it’s important to continuously audit your system for any potential weaknesses and implement security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and restricting access wherever necessary.
8. Lack of Data Backup and Recovery Solutions
One of the major network vulnerabilities is the loss or corruption of critical data due to natural disasters or other unforeseen events.
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To prevent these types of issues, it’s important to have a robust backup and recovery solution in place that regularly backs up your data and allows you to quickly restore it in the event of a disaster.
9. Unmonitored Network Traffic
Another common network vulnerability is the lack of proper monitoring tools, which can make it difficult to detect malicious activity or identify potential threats before they cause serious damage.
To solve this type of vulnerability in network security, businesses should implement security monitoring tools such as intrusion detection systems across their network infrastructure and use them regularly to analyze all incoming and outgoing network traffic for signs of malicious activity.
10. Targeted Phishing Campaigns
Finally, perhaps one of the most common cyber threats faced by businesses today comes from targeted phishing attacks (a type of social engineering) that aim to trick employees into divulging sensitive information or installing malware on their devices.
To prevent these types of attacks in network security, it’s crucial to educate your employees about common phishing techniques and provide them with simple tips for recognizing suspicious emails and other messages whether received on their mobile devices or on company computers.
Patching Your Information Security Vulnerabilities with the Help of a Leading Managed IT Service Provider
With the rise of remote work and a growing reliance on digital technologies across all industries, businesses today are highly vulnerable to network security threats like data breaches and system outages.
To protect against these cyber security vulnerabilities, it’s important for companies to understand their unique information security vulnerabilities and implement strategies for reducing them.
One effective approach is to partner with a leading managed IT service provider like powersolution.com, which can help you patch your network vulnerabilities and protect your business from potentially devastating cyber attacks.
At powersolution.com, our team of experienced cybersecurity experts has extensive knowledge of the most common network security vulnerabilities that businesses face today. We offer a wide range of services designed to help you shore up your system against threats like malware, ransomware, phishing scams, and more.
With our help, you can rest assured that your network is protected from the various risks that threaten businesses in today’s online environment.
So if you’re looking for a trusted partner to help you secure your network and keep your data safe, contact us today for a free consultation.