Introduction to cyber threats
Cyber threat has been a life long issue facing computer users, be it an individual, organization, or even Government agencies. Cyber criminals are not picky in selecting their targets as they tend to attack all systems belonging to individuals, organizations, or even government agencies. Their attacks range widely from infiltration on infrastructure and data breaches to spear phishing and brute force. You probably know a thing or two about these terms since they are parts of our everyday life in the modern world.
A cyber security threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal data, or disrupt digital life in general. Cyber threats include attacks like computer viruses, data breaches, and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Cyber threat refers to the possibility of a successful Cyber attack on an individual or organization to gain unauthorized access to intellectual property sensitive data and even the computer network. Cyber attacks can come from trusted users or unknown parties, like hackers, hacktivists (politically motivated cyber criminals), organized crime groups, and even terrorist groups.
Accidental actions of authorized users also contribute massively to a data breach. It is in fact, the commonest source of data leaks.
Cyber threats take different forms to infiltrate different target systems, depending on the level of security such a system is fortified with. However, their sole purpose is to steal or compromise data or information.
Here are the most common forms of Cyber threats:
•Malwares: This software performs a malicious act on targeted devices. Ranging from corrupting the data to completely taking over the system.
•Phishing: This uses emails, it tricks the email recipient into disclosing sensitive information or downloading malware by clicking on a hyperlink in the email.
•Trojan: This a type of malware that enters a target system while disguising itself as something else, and then lets out the malicious code once it gets into the system.
•Ransomware: This takes full control of your system and locks you out completely until you agree to pay for it to be released. Crazy right?
•Data Breach: Simply put as theft of data by an actor. Motives of this include Crimes, which constitute mainly of identity theft, erasing of evidence, erasing names from a database, and espionage.
Agents of cyber threats
Like every other event that occurs, cyber security threats have their agents. On the spectrum of Cyber Threat agents, the following are well known :
-Accidental agents are the commonest agents of data leaks. Here, data leak occurs as a result of the careless use of the system by employees.
-Malicious agents like Ad-hoc(e.g. script kiddies) are also means, by which a system can be infiltrated and compromised.
-Organized agents e.g. Hacktivists, etc. Are less sophisticated agents of cyber threat.
-APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) are the last agents on the spectrum, and they are highly sophisticated agents. APTs are either :
Strategically motivated, that is, professional hackers engaging in cyber-attacks or cyber terrorism on behalf and for the benefit of a third party
Operationally Motivated. That is, a hacker or group of hackers that engage in cyber attacks or activities for their gain.
What is an Advanced Persistent Threat?
Advanced Persistent Threats refer to very dangerous threats that greatly affect any enterprise or brand which is targeted. Also referred to as APT, Advanced Persistent Threats are attacks through which unauthorized parties gain access to a network or system; as the case may be, and stay within the system for a long time undetected. While most Advanced Persistent Threats do not cause any serious damage to the enterprise’s local machines, network, or systems rather it is a means to get sensitive data, making it a tool for data theft. In the following parts of this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Advanced Persistent Threats.
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