Top Cyber Attacks that Businesses Face: Stolen Credentials, Insider Threats, & Third-Party Threats

Cyber threats come in all shapes and sizes. Some may seem obvious and others can slip right under the radar. Either way, the first step to securing the enterprise is becoming educated on cyber attacks that threaten businesses.

At vTECH io, we have found the top cyber attacks that businesses face. Vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices and malicious emails make up 79% of the top cyber attacks that confront businesses. The other 21% of top cyber attacks include stolen credentials (5%), insider threats (3%), third-party threats (5%), pre-existing malware infections (3%), and brute force threats (5%). This article will cover stolen credentials, insider, and third-party threats.

Even though these threats make up a smaller percentage, they are still some of the top threats businesses face regarding cybersecurity. Each unprotected threat can cause a loss of money, customers, and brand reputation. Vigilance and proactiveness are essential to mitigating the risk of a cyberattack.

Stolen Credentials

Cyber attacks can happen when a cyber actor successfully steals system credentials from an employee. This often occurs through phishing, where an email is sent to an employee that looks legitimate but comes from a hacker. The cyber actor may convince an employee to share their credentials through email by threatening to shut down their account.

Attackers may also target corporate leaders. Corporate credential theft is more strategic. Cybercriminals will look through social media accounts like LinkedIn and find users who have credentials that will grant access to high-value data. The attackers use realistic websites and emails to deceive executive leaders into sharing their credentials.

Once credentials are stolen, attackers may use them in different ways. The credentials can be used to gain access to sensitive data. This can lead to ransomware when a cybercriminal steals data and holds it until a ransom is paid. They may also release malware into the systems to shut down or slow operations. Some cybercriminals may sell the credentials for monetary gain.

Since the hacker will use the stolen credentials to access data, it is challenging to spot when this occurs. Similarly, phishing attempts can be challenging to differentiate from a legitimate source. Preventing the threat from happening in the first place is the best form of protection.

To protect against someone stealing credentials, businesses can implement a policy-based, multi-factor authentication process for the network. Training employees on cybersecurity hygiene is also imperative to preventing a cyberattack. It is wise to run phishing attempts and educate employees on red flags to watch out for regarding emails. Implementing these protection strategies will safeguard the enterprise against future threats.

Insider Threat

In some cases, educating employees isn’t helpful when they are the ones posing the threat. An insider is a trusted individual who has access to an organization’s resources. The Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) describes an insider threat as when, “an insider will use his or her authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to harm the Department’s mission, resources, personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, or systems.” This can manifest in several different ways, one being a cyberattack.

An insider may be motivated to inflict a cyber attack for monetary gain or by “getting even” with their company. Whatever their motivation, they can cause harm by leaking sensitive information, stealing proprietary data or intellectual property, stopping business operations, inserting malware, damaging networks, and much more.

It is challenging to protect the network from an attack when the threats seem invisible and can easily go unnoticed. To protect the enterprise from an insider threat, it is important to implement a mitigation plan. CISA has a robust guide on creating this plan called the Insider Threat Mitigation Guide. They outline clear actions to take to proactively protect the enterprise and reduce the risk of a future threat.

Third-Party Threat

Threats coming from trusted people are sometimes more challenging to spot and more expensive to remediate. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit businesses, even through their extended partnerships. Businesses have to be aware of the cybersecurity measures their vendors use as well as their own.

A third-party threat can happen from a contractor or vendor who is not an employee of an organization but has some authorized access to organization resources.

A third-party threat happens when a hacker finds third-party credentials for a business, often through phishing. The hacker can easily break through firewalls and access sensitive data.  These threats can be directly targeted or caused indirectly by vulnerabilities in the third party’s network.

To avoid a third-party threat, the first step is to ensure that all vendors use cybersecurity plans and best practices. Third parties should use regular penetration testing and social engineering testing. These tests should be documented and vulnerabilities should be remediated. Third parties should be regularly training their employees as well.

It is also advised to include a requirement to be notified when a data breach happens in the contract with vendors. Additionally, it is important to set cybersecurity expectations and requirements with all third-party vendors and contractors. Third-party vendors should comply with these safety measures to protect themselves and the businesses they work with.

vTECH io Can Help Protect Your Business

Cybersecurity threats confront businesses from all angles. With so many different threats, it is essential to determine the best security solution for your business.

vTECH io is here to partner with your business to help you safeguard against cyberattacks. Using Advanced AI technology, we can conduct customized spear phishing attempts and determine if your employees are your first line of defense against a cyber-attack or your weakest link.

We can also help you determine the best security solutions for your business size and needs. Our on-call experts are happy to assist you. To partner with vTECH io all you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and we will take it from there.