The web just isn’t a safe place anymore. Cyber threats have matured over the years and everyone—netizens or not—have already suffered untold human cost. There are direct and indirect losses involved. Cyber attacks have especially inflicted long-lasting harm to many organizations and businesses. The growing concern for cyber security, according to a report by Burning Glass International, explains why US demand for cyber security experts increased 3.5 times faster in five years alone.
Here are five threats every prospective cyber security professional needs to know:
Malware is any malicious software designed to disturb a computer’s operation and illegally harvest sensitive information such as passwords, account details and financial data. Computer malware is not an entirely new concept; malware for mobile technology is significantly increasing in the past few years. Malware attacks on mobile devices, in fact, grow at an alarming rate of over 600 percent.
Android users are especially advised to install the latest version of the software to get the essential malware patches for mobile security. Some malware may include spyware; another pesky malicious kind of software that tracks the user’s every move to obtain passwords and other sensitive data.
It only takes a few seconds or a single click for users to fall victim. Criminals either trick users to download malware by accident or download what seems like a free software. Malware can also be spread on Facebook by unknowing friends and colleagues whose account may be compromised.
Everyone with an email account knows what a “spam” is. It’s junk mail, a malicious email that prompts users to download a computer virus or defraud them. It can even cause users to defraud a friend or everyone in their address book. Criminals can hack into a user’s account and use it to send an email asking for money.
The Internet is everywhere. Almost every consumer device can now connect to the Internet: computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, TVs, gaming consoles, and many more “smart” household appliance. It’s a very convenient setup but it comes with significant risks. In fact, many home wireless Internet networks remain unsecured and therefore vulnerable to cyber criminals. Once hackers pass through a network, they are able to illegally access a device and compromise its security.
Since 2012, many of the world’s most popular brands were compromised by hackers. Cases of data breaches exposed thousands and thousands of usernames and passwords. Yahoo, Evernote, LivingSocial, Global Payments, LinkedIn—all have been attacked in 2012.
Just this week, 2.9 million Adobe customers were hit by a massive data breach. What’s more, the company revealed that the attack exposed financial data—that’s nearly 3 million customer credit card details. Massive data breaches compelled websites to implement two-factor authentication. It’s an additional step to enhance cyber security, although security researchers are looking for more ways to help keep user data safe.
DDoS stands for “distributed denial-of-service” and attacks of this kind are increasingly becoming popular among hackers. The aim is to make a service or system unavailable to users. DDoS attacks are larger in scope. Prolexic, a DDoS mitigation firm, disclosed an 88 percent rise in the number of DDoS attacks in third quarter of last year. Prolexic reported that these attacks have increased both in duration and the amount of bandwidth involved. Their targets, mostly large U.S. financial firms, have greatly suffered from a massive attacks that exceeded 60Gbps. Compare this to the 5–10 Gbps attack typically perpetrated.
There are many other threats to cyber security you need to know. If you’re considering a career in business intelligence or cyber security, familiarize yourself with these five and increase your knowledge with information security management courses.
Author bio: Blake Pappas completed his undergraduate degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Blake has also recently worked in higher education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business.