The number of internet users has unequivocally leveled up throughout the years, which becomes “open doors” for cybercrimes to climb. Indeed, cybercriminals are endlessly making use of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, which has posed an enormous threat to businesses of all sizes. Hence, it’s a time of the essence for organizations to seriously strengthen cybersecurity in their own system, or else, it’s no use crying over spilled milk.
So, to find the most appropriate solution for your business's healthy presence, it’s vital to grasp an understanding of the cybersecurity vulnerabilities definition, examples, and their types. Let’s delve into the basic understanding of security vulnerabilities and their examples.
Spot & Stop Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Before They Strike
1. What are cybersecurity vulnerabilities?
Cybersecurity vulnerability refers to a weakness in a system or software that can be exploited by cyber attackers to gain unauthorized access, steal sensitive data, or compromise the integrity of a system. These vulnerabilities can range from minor security flaws to critical security gaps and can have devastating consequences for those affected.
To better illustrate how cybersecurity vulnerabilities can cause harm to organizations, from small to large businesses, below are some real cases of cyber attacks that have been made through the hole of vulnerabilities:
- Equifax Data Breach: In 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies, suffered a massive data breach that affected over 143 million individuals. The breach was caused by an unpatched vulnerability in the company's web application software, which allowed cyber attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information such as social security numbers, birth dates, and credit card information.
- WannaCry Ransomware Attack: In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack infected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The attack was caused by a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system, which had been patched months before the attack. The ransomware encrypted files on infected computers and demanded payment in exchange for the decryption key.
- Target Data Breach: In 2013, Target, a major retailer in the US, suffered a data breach that affected over 40 million customers. The breach was caused by a vulnerability in the company's payment system software, which allowed cyber attackers to gain access to customer payment information.
- SolarWinds Supply Chain Attack: In 2020, the SolarWinds supply chain attack affected numerous organizations, including US government agencies and major tech companies. The attack was caused by a vulnerability in the SolarWinds Orion network monitoring software, which allowed cyber attackers to gain access to sensitive information and carry out espionage activities.
2. Types of Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
A. Software Vulnerabilities
Software vulnerabilities are weaknesses in software programs that can be exploited by cyber attackers to gain access to a system or network. These vulnerabilities can be caused by errors in code, design flaws, or even outdated software. According to a report by the National Vulnerability Database, there were over 17,000 vulnerabilities reported in 2020 alone. These vulnerabilities can affect any type of software, from operating systems to applications, and can result in data breaches, system crashes, or even ransomware attacks.
B. Network Vulnerabilities
Network vulnerabilities are weaknesses in a network that can be exploited by cyber attackers to gain access to sensitive information or disrupt network operations. These vulnerabilities can be caused by outdated hardware, unsecured wireless networks, or even misconfigured network settings. According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million, and the majority of these breaches were caused by network vulnerabilities.
C. Social Engineering Vulnerabilities
Social engineering vulnerabilities are weaknesses in human behavior that can be exploited by cyber attackers to gain access to sensitive information. These vulnerabilities can be caused by phishing attacks, pretexting, or even physical security breaches. According to a report by Verizon, 36% of data breaches involved social engineering tactics. These attacks can result in significant financial losses and reputational damage for individuals and organizations.
3. How to Prevent Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities?
A. Intrusion Detection System
The first system you may think of when talking about preventing cybersecurity vulnerabilities is an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), which is a security technology that monitors a network or system for suspicious activity or behavior. IDS can detect and alert IT security teams of potential security breaches, allowing them to take immediate action to prevent an attack. According to a report by Gartner, the IDS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.7% from 2020 to 2027. IDS can be an effective tool in preventing cybersecurity vulnerabilities, especially in large organizations where it is difficult to monitor all systems and networks.
B. Regular Software Updates
Regular software updates can help prevent cybersecurity vulnerabilities by fixing security flaws and updating outdated software. Software updates can also improve the performance of software programs and enhance their functionality. According to a report by the Center for Internet Security, 85% of data breaches could have been prevented with basic security measures such as regular software updates. Software updates should be installed as soon as they become available, and IT security teams should ensure that all software programs are up to date.
C. Effective Password Management
Effective password management is crucial in preventing cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Weak passwords can be easily guessed or cracked by cyber attackers, allowing them to gain unauthorized access to systems and networks. According to a report by SplashData, the most commonly used password in 2020 was "123456", followed by "password". Passwords should be complex, unique, and changed regularly. Multi-factor authentication can also be used to enhance password security and prevent unauthorized access.
Cyber threats in the modern era are very real and serious, maybe much more threatening and severe than what’s in your head. People and businesses need to be alert to the various vulnerabilities that exist so that they can take preventative measures. However, there’s no need to fret as we can protect ourselves and our businesses from cyber attacks and keep private data safe if we follow these measures and maintain vigilance. Also, if this seems too difficult for you to start, it’s totally alright to ask for help from a third-party organization, who have professionals and experts in this field. With 14+ years of experience in the cyber guarding field, VNEXT Global can certainly assist you in safeguarding your business online presence.
If you are looking for a trusted IT partner, VNEXT Global is the ideal choice. With 14+ years of experience, we surely can help you to optimize your business digitalization within a small budget and short time. Currently, we have 400+ IT consultants and developers in Mobile App, Web App, System Development, Blockchain Development and Testing Services. We have provided solutions to 600+ projects in several industries for clients worldwide. We are willing to become a companion on your way to success. Please tell us when is convenient for you to have an online meeting to discuss this further. Have a nice day!