Cybersecurity Threats Explained for Business

Cybersecurity Threats: Types, Detection & Prevention

What are the cybersecurity threats?

A cybersecurity threat is an event or software that can exploit a cyber vulnerability in the information system and bring damage to an organization. It bears multiple risks and may or may not result in a cyber incident. 

Types of cyber threats

There are multiple ways to categorize cybersecurity threats.

By source:

  • Physical damage. For example, a natural disaster destroys the company’s hardware causing data loss.
  • Social engineering. For example, a cybercriminal manipulates an employee into giving him the PII of a CEO.
  • Cyberattack. For example, a successful hacker attack on a network results in the leak of sensitive information.
  • Malware. For example, malware infects the computer and uses it for a botnet. The computer is constantly lagging.
  • Software error. For example, a bug in an application corrupts the data and the team has to begin the project from scratch.
  • Hardware malfunction. For example, a break of an internet router causes downtime in the work of an entire office.

By objective:

  • Intentional threats occur as a result of an ill will of a cybercriminal.
  • Unintentional threats are caused by a mistake or occur by chance.
    • Physical damage, software errors, and hardware malfunction.

The outcomes of both intentional and unintentional threats can be equally damaging for an organization. That’s why a company’s cybersecurity experts should treat them in the same manner and never overlook the second type.

By target:

  • Individual. For example, a phishing email aims to obtain the credit card data of a person to steal money.
  • Organization. For example, a DDoS attack on a server intrudes in an esports match.
  • State. For example, cyber espionage undermines the economy of a country.

By the type of vulnerability they exploit:

  • Procedural threat relates to how business processes using information systems are organized in a company.
  • The architectural threat takes advantage of the weakness in components of the information system.
  • Human threat exploits the errors that employees make.

Top cyber threats in 2021:

  1. Social engineering attacks
  2. Ransomware
  3. Shadow IT
  4. Fileless attacks
  5. Insider threats: human errors and man-in-the-middle attacks
  6. Exploit of the internet of things

Cybersecurity threats and preventive measures

On the national level, threats can be controlled by: 

  • Adopting respective laws;
  • Monitoring cybercrime;
  • Raising awareness on cyber threats; 
  • Arresting cybercriminals.

The protection measures for a company include:

Cyber threats vs. Vulnerabilities and Risks

Vulnerabilities, threats, and risks are sometimes used interchangeably. However, cybersecurity experts emphasize that they’re different terms.

Check out the table that will explain the difference between them:

A cyber incident and related risks will only occur in case the vulnerability and the threat that can exploit it concur in time and space.