What comes to mind when we hear of terms like vulnerabilities, security incidents, security breaches, compliances, potential threats, etc.? Boasting millions and billions in turnovers each year, if there is one single thing that can literally shake up the foundations of the biggest of organizations, then that is – Cyber threat. It does not differentiate between the sizes of the organization, but of course, there is much more at stake when the numbers are bigger.
Statistics show that there has been a rise of 600% in the occurrence of cyber-attacks during COVID itself as it has given way to work from home culture, hence more vulnerability as laptops/PCs are connected to other networks which could be compromised.
Recent Examples worth your while
As they say, the bigger the sea, the bigger the impact. Hacking / Cyber Crime is not restricted to a particular organization size or an industry type. The threat is everywhere.
- As recently as October 2020, the data records for 500 million LinkedIn users were compromised and put for sale on a popular hacker’s forum, with another 2 million records leaked as proof–of–concept samples by the post author.
- In 2022, data for over 2 million Facebook users were compromised, with the social media giant revealing that it had discovered over 400 fraud Android and iOS app users tried to steal information from the users.
- The very famous Uber data breach that began with a hacker purchasing stolen credentials belonging to an Uber employee from a dark web marketplace.
And the list goes on.
What is Cyberthreat?
Cyber threats can be defined as vulnerabilities, security threats, or basically any loopholes in the software/product/programs that are being used on your machine that can be used to get unauthorized access to data and in some cases even money by planning a social engineering attack very commonly known as – Hacking.
Now, Hacking is not a new or uncommon practice with the first major cyber-attack on the Internet termed – ‘The Morris Worm’ executed by Cornell University grad Robert Morris as early as 1988 which was a year before the World Wide Web had even debuted.
Types of Cyber Threats
In today’s day and age when more than most people are technologically well-versed and have either a smartphone, tablet, or laptop at their disposal, it has become more common than usual to be prone to these attacks, and threats. All this has factored in a steep rise in the types and ways that cyber-attacks are being executed, naming a few here-
- Malware – A very simple and quick trick to get into an organization’s network is Malware which basically means inserting a malicious program/ virus or code into a system as simple as using a corrupt USB, Drive, etc. which can go on to create major havoc and can have a vast impact in terms of losses and damage.
- Phishing – One of the very common cyber breach attempt types is Phishing which involves sending emails to users with unwanted emails and messages which contain suspicious links, clicking on which can automatically download countless viruses and just damage and hack the system.
- Whaling – This is usually targeted at the senior officials in big organizations, which the cybercriminals try to impersonate them and can enable digital fraud or by sending messages/ emails to the employees for a fund transfer etc.
- SQL Injection – This can be one of the most common techniques that are used to hack the databases of big organizations by placing malicious code in the SQL statements.
- Password Attacks – With so many passwords to remember for banking, work, social media, and whatnot, it becomes very difficult to remember so many of them or for that matter to have unique passwords for every login type. People generally end up having similar passwords for multiple accounts which could lead to hacking as hackers can try to steal your password and leave your credentials compromised.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with actual Cyber Criminals delving much deeper into our daily lives and compromising our social security, finances, identity theft etc.
Types of Cyber Security Testing
- Penetration Testing – Or very commonly known as Pen-testing is actually done in a way that mimics a real Cyber Security attack and it is then ensured that the system/software is completely barricaded against any of the attacks that can be planted on a software/system. Pen testing requires to be performed and conducted by designated experts who are security certified as well.
- Vulnerability Scanning – As the name suggests, it involves scanning the software/system for all the vulnerabilities, and all the weak points that can get past the anti-social elements. It includes automation as well as manual testing with a focus on what aspects of the system security can be taken care of with manual process and what is easier to catch up on using automation.
- Security Audits – A mission-critical software that requires utmost security needs to undergo regular and frequent security checks internally as well as some organizations regularly get third-party security audits conducted as well to stay on top of their security mechanism. This is done in order to find out the loopholes in the system whether it is related to machines, failed password policies, encryption of data, sensitive emails, and everything that can compromise a system and cause a breach. Audits require organizations to follow a certain standard and meet a level of compliance.
- Ethical Hacking – It basically means impersonating someone else’s identity and get unauthorized access to their data, emails, passwords, applications, etc. but having gotten authorized to perform this kind of test. It involves getting into the system and assessing how easy or difficult it is to hack a machine/system/network.
- Security Scanning – It includes the assessment and scanning of the security networks, their configurations, routers, switches, how secure are they, etc.
- Static Application Security Testing (SAST) – This type of Security testing is done in order to identify the security vulnerabilities in the source code of the program which could be anything like – SQL Injection, buffer overflows, cross–site scripting, etc. It can scan an application even before the code is compiled thus getting not just the vulnerabilities fixed but also giving the developers more confidence in their code. It is a type of white box testing technique.
- Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) – This Security testing technique actually evaluates a software application by stimulating the actions if someone is trying to break into your application maliciously. It does real-time scanning against unauthorized access or break-ins etc.
- Security Posture Assessment – It is a cyber-security assessment program that is designed and tailored to have a structured approach for the risk and vulnerability assessment. A set of rules are created and applied to build a level of trust and to develop resilience and maturity in terms of minimizing cyber threats and security breaches.
Tools used for Cyber Security Testing
- Air crack-ng
- John the ripper
- Burp suite
It is not possible to avoid security breaches, cyber mishappenings, and loopholes by 100% but yes it is definitely possible to narrow them down and get to the root of what is causing them and developing effective solutions to minimize them and growing resilient and mature in terms of how we deal with cyber security threats/ crimes and most importantly how quickly and efficiently we bounce back and if we have backup contingency plans in place and how we crack on with the Business Continuity planning.