Preventing and remedying network vulnerabilities is a leading priority for modern businesses, especially those handling sensitive financial or personal data.
As the third quarter of 2022 saw a 28% increase in cyber attacks on organizations globally, there is a growing need for heightened network security .
Our guide to common network vulnerabilities covers the top 10 types of network security threats that businesses face and how they leave room for cyber attacks . We’ll also discuss some of the steps that businesses can take to protect themselves from the least severe to most damaging types of attacks in network security.
Mitigate Network Security Vulnerabilities With a Trusted Partner
10 Types of Vulnerabilities in Network Security
1. Computer Viruses
Viruses are one of the most prevalent and immediate types of vulnerabilities in network security . They work by exploiting standard weaknesses in everyday practices, getting users to download, install, and execute malicious code across the network.
Like a real virus, a computer virus spreads between host devices, damaging the system or corrupting data in the process.
A new practice called cross-site scripting allows cybercriminals to run malicious code on a site user’s computer without them knowing. This technique tricks the user’s web browser into believing the code is coming from a secure source, allowing the hacker to obtain secure data like log-in credentials..
2. Mobile Device Theft
In today’s BYOD environment, mobile devices are at high risk of being compromised. Employees may leave devices in public areas or use them on unsecured WiFi networks. These bad habits open up the opportunity for bad actors to gain digital or physical access to sensitive information without the device owner knowing.
A trusted IT partner can develop security strategies to help identify and intercept sophisticated methods that cybercriminals use to gain access to mobile devices .
3. Single-Factor Authentication
Today, single-factor authentication is recognized as one of the top network security vulnerabilities facing both the public and private sectors.
With single-factor authentication (SFA), there is a single layer of protection for access to an account, such as password or PIN.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) implements multiple layers of protection, such as also sending a verification code via text message or using a fingerprint. MFA is a best practice all businesses should employ.
4. Weak Passwords
When it comes to cybersecurity vulnerabilities , weak passwords are one of the most vulnerable entry points for cyber attacks . A weak password can be hacked by even a novice cybercriminal using password guessing applications or resetting.
Having protocols for strong passwords is essential as it acts as your first line of defense against a security breach . The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency offers several best practices for passwords, such as using passphrases rather than single words.
5. Using Unsecured Email Providers
Unencrypted emails present an opportunity for malicious actors to capitalize on. This type of network security risk usually involves the targeting of financial data through social engineering . For example, criminals may use email phishing as a way to trick the recipient into giving up critical data.
Having a robust security network that can detect phishing scams and prevent email vulnerabilities is essential as email scams become more sophisticated.
6. Poor WiFi Settings
Many people do not pay attention to WiFi security, neglecting important wireless security protocols. These WiFi slip-ups have become more prevalent as remote workers are more likely to use poorly set-up public networks.
Some of the top cyber vulnerabilities associated with WiFi include:
- Poor router configuration
- Outdated router software
- Failing to change factory router settings
These security vulnerabilities give criminals network access, making it easy for them to steal data . Being diligent with WiFi settings, updates, and other security practices can help prevent your wireless access from becoming a weak point in your network security .
7. Firewall Misconfigurations
A firewall is a key defense against intrusions to your computer networks . Strong firewalls restrict unauthorized access from either direct or indirect sources.
However, a firewall is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. It requires ongoing analysis to identify vulnerable points and to ensure it remains properly configured.
8. IoT Device Exposure
Companies that rely on smart technology to operate may be at risk of cyber threats. Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices leave multiple access points to gain entry to computer networks .
With the prevalence of remote work, employees working from home and using personal IoT devices may also be leaving the door open to intrusions.
Having a strong security plan that addresses IoT network vulnerabilities is paramount in today’s increasingly digital world.
9. Outdated Software
Software companies continuously update their products to fix bugs and add features or to comply with new industry regulations and best practices. It’s up to users to install updates to ensure they’re running the latest version.
Keeping your operating system software up-to-date is a security best practice. Updates often involve improvements to security after developers identify cyber threats and vulnerabilities in the system.
10. Insider Threats
When it comes to information security vulnerabilities , there is no bigger threat than one from within.
Employees can cause the most widespread and costly level of damage to an organization than any other threat. Employees can have access to sensitive data that can be used to extort or cripple an organization through ransomware.
Though malicious intent is a concern, insider threats are mostly attributed to negligence. The 2022 Ponemon Cost of Insider Threats Report claims 67% of businesses faced between 21 and 40 different insider threats, mostly from mishandling or losing privileged information. On average, these incidents cost businesses $6.6 million annually to remediate.
Restricting access and identifying behaviors that lead to unauthorized access are tactics companies can use as part of a broader insider threat mitigation strategy.
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Protect Your Business From Network Vulnerabilities With NetGain
With the growing number of vulnerabilities in network security , it’s vital for organizations to invest in cyber security management.
Working with a managed service provider is your best solution for preventing and mitigating threats from network vulnerabilities .
Partner with NetGain Technologies and discover how to prepare your organization for increased cyber security threats. We also offer an array of cybersecurity services , including security assessments, vulnerability scans, and email protection.
Contact us today to speak with one of our network security experts.
Featured image credit: Gorodenkoff