10 Common Vulnerabilities that make your company less secure.
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The apps and programs run by your company can expose you to common vulnerabilities that can jeopardize your cyber security.
Cyber attackers continue to breach companies’ security to steal or compromise corporate data. The annual cost of cyberattacks such as malware, web server attacks, ransomware attacks has maintained an upward trajectory.
The outcome for attacked companies has been business disruptions, information and revenue losses, and equipment damage. No industry or company size is spared. Companies can hardly maintain operational efficiency without technologies that are the sources of vulnerabilities. Therefore, optimizing network security across servers, endpoints, and devices should be an immediate priority for your company.
What is a vulnerability?
Most security breaches for companies involved a vulnerability emanating from weakness within their network. Vulnerability represents a bug or design flaw that weakens and compromises a system or network security and allows cyber attackers to manipulate, exploit and cause harm to companies relying on the system.
Vulnerabilities often go undetected when the system and devices are not regularly scanned. In such cases, companies or users would be unaware that they are vulnerable or under attack. Unaware companies are less likely to apply the necessary patch(es), even when available. Companies seeking to optimize their network security must use a proactive approach that includes
- an awareness of the various sources of vulnerabilities that can compromise company security, and
- deliberate measures for securing the company’s security network.
What are the common sources of vulnerabilities for your company?
With the ever-growing variants, your awareness of the following sources of vulnerabilities keeps you on guard to minimize exposure to them.
- Malware attack
Malware programs seek to gain access to and steal your sensitive corporate information and use them in nefarious ways that are devastating to your business.
One way is through old and rehashed malware programs that are unrecognizable to antivirus programs. One malware attack type is a Ransomware attack that can be used to encrypt your data storage drives to prevent you from accessing them unless you pay a ransom within a stipulated time. Any refusal to meet such a demand may cause the attacker to delete the encryption key while your data may be lost forever.
There are also Trojans disguised as legitimate programs by attackers who trick users into installing a program on their device. Attackers use this to gain backdoor access into the unsuspecting user’s system to steal sensitive company data or carry out harm.
Additionally, Worms self-replicate and spread through the system, searches for some form of contacts database or file-sharing system, and sends itself out to unsuspecting recipients as the message is coming from the person whose computer has been attacked. This malicious content could be in the form of an email attachment or link that infects the computer when clicked.
- Hidden backdoor programsexploitation.
Attackers can exploit the program or code that a computer component manufacturer installs on computers for remote access for carrying out diagnostics, configuration, tech support, etc. Although this functions as a hidden backdoor, it can also become a software vulnerability when attackers exploit it to gain unauthorized access to the computer system and the network it is connected to and do harm.
- User account type, access privileges, and employee negligence.
User account access-related vulnerabilities come from companies’ failure to restrict or manage user account privileges that determine access to sensitive corporate data. Granting every employee an administrator user account and unlimited access to all corporate information/resources exposes the company to potential data breaches. This could result from IT personnel granting access at request. It could also result from a flawed computer security configuration that allows users to create administrator-level user accounts for themselves.
Additionally, employees’ mistakes, such as clicking on the wrong link in an email or downloading the wrong file from a website could make your company vulnerable. Employees could also be negligent by ignoring update reminders for the latest security patches, especially for discovered vulnerabilities.
Negligence could also come from employees giving their account credentials to others or allow unauthorized persons to use their accounts. In some cases, employees may engage in the intentional act of malfeasance, which exposes your company’s network security to attacks.
- Automated settings for running scripts.
By setting web browsers to automatically run scripts without malware or virus checks, attackers can mimic a trusted code and trick the browser to run malware without the knowledge or input of the user.
- Unknown and unpredictable Security Bugs
Programming issues and conflicts within the software can create security vulnerabilities for your company which attackers are keen to exploit. The vulnerability level rises even further when two interfacing programs have programming bugs or unanticipated code interactions which are predictable on single computers or the entire network.
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are a form of social engineering attack and email fraud. It is often delivered as an email pretending to be from a legitimate or trusted entity. The email tricks unsuspecting employees into handing over sensitive corporate information such as account credentials, credit card details, and passwords. The email could also request the user to click a provided link to reset or secure their password. The link leads to a website that downloads malicious software to the user’s computer, which causes a data breach that compromises the company’s system.
- Drive-by “download” Attack
The drive-by-download attack happens when someone from your organization visits a website that downloads malware on their computer through content such as banners, advertisements, or other means. Such websites are either compromised or under the direct control of the attacker.
- Zero-day exploit
The zero-day exploit is also known as O-day. Here, attackers exploit security vulnerabilities in the software applications, web browsers, and operating systems your company uses before your vendor is aware of it and fixes it with a patch or an update. With this exploit, the attackers would gain unauthorized access to spy on your company, steal or damage company data.
- IoT attacks
IoT attacks happen when attackers compromise the security of your company’s IoT devices and remotely access their software system to manipulate or extract sensitive company data. IoT devices such as refrigerators, printers, coffee makers, and the likes can practically be hijacked and exploited by attackers without your company’s realization.
- End of Life software – EOL issues
With EOL, the software manufacturer ceases to develop the software, such as no more bug fixes, security upgrades, technical support, or improvements of any sort. If your company uses EOL software, you are likely to encounter compatibility and security issues. More so, the vendor no longer develops a patch that you can rely on to rectify any vulnerability.
How can you protect your company from vulnerabilities?
To protect your company from vulnerabilities require deliberate preventive measures that are implemented on an ongoing basis at different intervals. Consider the following
- Prioritize and update employee cybersecurity awareness training.
- Prevent employees from visiting untrustworthy websites that can run malware and disable the automatic running of files.
- Implement multi-layered security solution comprising email virus scanners, antivirus, deep-packet inspection firewalls, and intrusion detection systems (IDSs).
- Limit users’ account access to what they need to do their job. Also, restrict created accounts from being able to create accounts or have administrator-level access and privileges.
- Deploy Email Virus Detection Tools and Multifactor authentication to check email attachments for malware and make it harder for attackers to access user accounts with stolen usernames and passwords alone.
- Add extra layers of protection between each of the individual assets on the network by deploying a defense-in-depth approach to your network security.
- Perform a periodical security audit of all your IoT devices and their operating systems on your company’s network.
- You should also consider them in your cyber security strategy.
Regularly scan all your software and operating systems and keep them up to date with the latest patches.
Which vulnerability remediation tool can I use?
The longer you leave your endpoints unprotected, the more likely your company will be exposed. Security patches are often the only thing that stands between vulnerability and security.
SecTeer’s VulnDetect offers an extensive vulnerability detection and patch management solution. VulnDetect makes it easy for you to keep all your windows servers, endpoints, programs, apps, and desktops up to date and secure.
Be on the safe side! Start with SecTeer’s FREE Vulnerability Assessment today and get help if needed.