Opening a seemingly innocent email from your grandmother or simply looking at a favorite website is enough to trigger an IT security threat on a network. The top IT threats are increasingly sophisticated and can sometimes go undetected for months regardless of the size of a business or network, so it’s important to keep your security programs running at all times and continuously updated.
5 Mobile Threats
Mobile threats on smartphones and other mobile devices with an Internet connection are increasing, as are the consumers who use a cell phone to correspond and complete business tasks. Forbes explains that hackers can remotely access a smartphone’s camera and recording app to see what you’re doing and hear your conversations, including the moments when you mumble important passwords to yourself. New technologies that allow you to wirelessly print to a networked printer from a smartphone, or perform any tasks like uploading information or files, can expose the network to viruses and malware that infiltrated a mobile device.
Advanced persistent threats, or APTs, are quiet intrusions designed to go unnoticed by a victim. They generally steal information. A December 2012 “Forbes” article notes that government networks and large companies have dealt with APT intrusions. APTs work slowly so they don’t slow down computers, Internet connections or networks like traditional viruses do. According to “Forbes,” APTs can target vulnerabilities in an operating system, computer applications and embedded systems.
A botnet is a type of malware that infects several computers at once with malicious software that intruders control from a remote location. When a botnet infects a network, the computers automatically perform tasks over the Internet, like upload viruses, send spam emails with a copy of the botnet in them to everyone in a computer’s address book, steal data, or help the intruder commit crimes. Antivirus programs don’t tend to search for malware, spyware or botnets, so it’s important to use a program that’s specifically designed to detect and eliminate such threats.
2 Worms and Viruses
Viruses and worms are the most prevalent networking threat, according to Cisco. The company states that at least 75 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses contract at least one virus per year. A powerful worm or virus can infect a network in seconds, and computer users often invite them in by downloading items that aren’t trustworthy, opening email attachments that they don’t expect from a recipient and visiting sites that they didn’t know were malicious.
1 Cloud Security
The cloud is hot, and all the cool kids use it. The problem is, however, that companies sometimes put sensitive information or critical data on public clouds, turning them into prime targets for a network attack. Alternatively, a company may not properly review a vendor’s security protocols and guarantees regarding intrusion prevention when signing up for a new contract. Using a cloud for personal use, or not monitoring who has a password to the business’ cloud, can also leave the door open to threats.