Technology redefined the way we live. Nearly everything is digitised and information is available on the Internet for public consumption.
With this shift, there have been risks, threats and attacks on computer networks and systems to destroy or steal sensitive information to use for malicious purposes.
Despite a rigid cybersecurity system, there have been many threats that have been identified and some prevented at their conception.
These cybersecurity threats are perpetrated by hackers and cybercriminals.
Some of these threats may go unnoticed, because of the ever-evolving nature of cyberattacks.
Protecting computer systems and networks from cyber threats ensures that society keeps on functioning.
To avoid cyber threats, users of computer networks and systems should understand and follow basic cyber security rules and principles.
What is a Cyber Threat?
A cyber threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal or disrupt digital life in general.
These cyber-threats are aimed at accessing, changing or destroying sensitive information, extorting money or interrupting normal business processes.
An organisation should protect its computer systems, networks, devices and programs from any type of cyber threats.
Cyber threats have the potential to cause serious harm to a computer system or network and must therefore be handled with so much skill and alertness.
Most Common Cyber Security Threats
Corporations are increasingly hitting the headlines for being the subject of security attacks or data breaches.
The digital world has transformed modern business, but wherever there is an opportunity, there are also risks.
Some of the most common cyber threats you should be aware of include:
This refers to a type of malware that holds the data of a computer user for ransom, usually requiring or claiming to require payment to restore access.
It is software that has been designed to operate in a malicious, undesirable manner.
Malware is software that is released as open-source only in exchange for payment.
Ransomware has become rife over recent years. Ransomware involves a computer user being locked out of their system or blackmailed over personal details until you pay a release fee.
This cyber threat, aimed at extorting money is becoming more and more common. Ensure that all your weaknesses are covered to protect yourself from the increased use of ransomware.
Phishing has been a top cyber threat for more than a decade. Phishing involves the malicious act of keeping a false website or sending a false e-mail with the intent of masquerading as a trustworthy entity in order to acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
When a computer user (target) clicks on a false link, they install malware into their computer that exposes sensitive data.
Phishing is getting harder to spot.
Professional cybercriminals are doing really sophisticated things online and even complimenting it with highly convincing activities offline.
It is important that you keep your information safe from this type of cyber threat.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack
As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so will DDoS. Millions of new devices are coming online. Everything from fridges to cars used digitised technology.
If these systems are not secured, they could all be hijacked by hackers to bring down the websites.
Cybercriminals are now using artificial intelligence to perform DDoS on these devices and programs.
An organisation should stay on top of this threat at all times because the Internet of Things means more DDoS.
- Data breach
Data remains to be a critical component of many organisations. Data must be consistent, accurate, timely, accessible and complete.
Without these features, there is possible tampering of data by hackers.
The well-publicised and disastrous financial leaks of recent times will be much more common unless companies with large amounts of personal data improve their security policies.
Personal data, intellectual property data and financial data should always be secured from cyber threats.
- Insider threats
Insider threat is an unavoidable cyber threat.
Whether careless or malicious, your employees are the ones that most easily compromise your valuable data. Companies need extra help.
As cyber threats keep growing, organisations are looking for employees who are more aware of what cyber security entails so that they can trust them with their computer systems and information.
- Computer viruses
A computer virus is a program that can covertly transmit itself between computers via networks (especially the Internet) or removable storage such as disks and USB drives, often causing damage to systems and data.
Computer viruses still remain a potential cyber threat to networks and systems and cyber security experts should be up to date with the challenges this threat creates and how to cover the losses arising from this risk.
- Social engineering.
This is the practice of tricking a user into giving, or giving access to, sensitive information, thereby bypassing most or all protection. Social engineering attacks include phishing emails and scareware.
How to Prevent Cyber Threats
The cyber security process should be clearly defined with measures that guide you on how to identify cyber-attacks, protect your network system, detect and respond to cyber threats and successfully recover from attacks.
Cyber security equips an individual or an organisation with the tools needed to protect themselves from cyber threats.
To prevent cyber threats, you must do the following.
- Create a strong password
The password you settle on should be strong. Avoid using names. You can use a set of letters, numbers and symbols to create your strong password. Your password should be private and known only to you.
If you do not know how to create a suitable password, use password managers like Dashlane or Roboform for free or at a small fee.
- Use a security software
This is software that is designed to protect information and computer systems. Install reliable antivirus software in your computer system and update it regularly. Popular antivirus software includes Kaspersky and Defender.
- Avoid suspicious links and sites
Be careful with the links that you download. Hackers may develop false links which contain malware or viruses that can be transferred to your computer.
- Update your browser settings
Use suitable browsers, for example, Google Chrome and Firefox and make sure you update your browser settings regularly.
- Keep track of your online activities.
Always follow up on your online activities. Knowing what site you visited and when can help you spot anomalies that could be a potential cyber threat.
Common Questions About Cyber Threats in Kenya
What are the common cybersecurity threats in Kenya
Man in the Middle
Denial of Service
Internet of Things
How often do cyber threats occur?
Every time you access the internet you open yourself to a vulnerable possibility of a cyber attack.
What’s the most common cybercrime?
Where do cyber attacks come from?
Easy to guess passwords.
Which country hacks the most in the world?
What are the Major Types of Cybercrimes?
Email and internet fraud
Theft of credit/debit card payment data
Theft and sale of corporate data.
We keep going digital and opportunities arise from going digital like starting a cybersecurity business.
Government agencies, organisations and individuals should be prepared to think and act securely. It is possible to ensure cyber security on your own.
If you are handling large volumes of sensitive data, say for a big corporation, it is important that you employ cyber security experts who will monitor the system of any cyber threats 24 hours a day.
Businesses and other organisations must be protected at all times because of the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats.
Learn about the types of cyber threats that exist and ways to combat these threats from growing into full attacks on your computer system or network.