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How to Identify Network Security Threats: 7 Tips

In today’s cyber-driven landscape, there is a lot more focus on the quick development of applications. This however leaves room for error as the rush to produce limits the time spent on secure design. The conversation around network security is a widespread one as businesses struggle to contain their networks and essentially protect themselves from attack.

One of the more common ways that attacks are being made is through the staggering use and growth of social media. For example, retail businesses are some of the hardest hit as they deal with people’s private financial information. It’s like Candyland for hackers.

The question now is how to protect against these attacks? The first thing to be understood is what network security is and what types of attacks or threats are out there. It’s also important to understand how each one of these can damage your network and ultimately business. There is also the cloud concept that many businesses are adopting. However, they go into it with the idea that once the information is there you can forget about it. The professionals from 360 visibility in their article on Microsoft 365 Security titled, “Your Cloud Security Journey: 4 Steps to Protect Your Business” talks about this and why you have to be actively involved in setting up your security network. Cloud solutions should be incorporated into the network security structure along with a plan to maintain and keep your cloud services safe.

As mentioned before you can go into network security threats you need at the minimum a basic understanding of what it is. Network security is any activity used to protect the security and integrity of your network’s data. It uses various technologies (hardware and software) to identify threats. Once targeted its function is to stop them from spreading and harming your network (think all of the computers in your office are connected and a disease spreading from one to the next).

1. Phishing
Tip #1: Clicking on or opening emails with some form of embedded link is one of the easiest ways to encounter a phishing attack. These links generally hide in unassuming places and use familiar language or other gimmicks to get you to click open them.

What to do: The best way to avoid this is by educating employees on what to look for. They should pay attention to things like unfamiliar email addresses, spelling and grammatical errors (these are usually very noticeable and more than the average person). Asking for information your company doesn’t send out via email.

2. Probes

Tip #2: Probes scan your system for weak spots that can be used for entry. These attacks aren’t noticeable at first and this is mainly due to the fact that it takes time to find an entryway.

What to do: The best way to prevent this is to have constant monitoring. By doing this you will notice any changes or breaches right away. As stated it takes time for a probe to gain access but once it is in it is difficult to remove. Have activity monitored at all times and record for future use.

3. Brute-Force Cracking

Tip #3: This is a method of trying to decode data encrypted information through hack passwords or DES keys. This type of attack is direct and usually very persistent.

What to do: To prevent this type of brute-force cracking it is best to use multi-layer authentication requirements and password lockouts. Have a system in place that actively operates like a shutter that slams into place and requires attention to unlock.

4. Drive-by Download
Tip #4: This type of attack is immediate and very dangerous. Basically a Trojan; there is a setup that gets you to click on a link and once you do the software starts to download your computer’s information. This is very difficult to stop or anticipate (hence the term drive-by).

What to do: The best and easiest way to prevent this is to keep your software and system up to date. These Trojans lay in wait in old software, web browsers, plugins, and files.

5. Distributed Denial of Services
Tip #5: DDoS is one of the most common attacks. These redirect your web configuration taking you to another website, host, or browser.

What to do: Use routers and firewalls to assist with this. You will also want to configure your browser security options to help block these redistributions.

6. Advanced Persistent Threat Attack
Tip #6: The goal of this type of attack is to gain information via rewriting code and creating smoke screens within the system. This is another type that hides within waiting for an opportunity. It can be dormant for a while making it hard to spot.

What to do: Around the clock, monitoring is the best way to catch this. You want to have detection measures in place along with data encryption and having the network separate into parts (fragmented).

7. Ransomware
Step #6: This uses malicious software to cause system shutdowns; scrambling information and other data. Then it is held ransom until a certain payout is made. These are becoming increasingly more common. The attacks are aimed and small enterprises to large cooperations.

What to do: The best way to fight against ransomware attacks is to be proactive in your security. Having things like strong anti-virus software, email protocols, web filtering technologies, and most importantly security awareness training for all employees.

You will notice that the best way to spot these threats is through monitoring and setting up security configurations that alert you to them. This is mainly because these threats are hard to spot and work from the inside out. Outside of the more obvious attempts, the use of software and other systems is usually the best and only way to identify these threats.

The demand to stay connected at all times makes issues like network security be of vital importance. Thousands of devices can be connected to one network making for an easy target. One of the most important assets to any business is its IT team. Having a team that specifically handles and monitors the integrity of your network is one way to protect against threats. Additionally, the IT team also has to have plans in place and be able to handle the issues that may pop up. For this reason, businesses spend a good chunk of change on hiring the best IT specialists available. Protecting your network is like protecting your heart; you need it to survive.

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