10 of the Most Dangerous Network Vulnerabilities and How to Avoid Them

by | Dec 21, 2022

Network Vulnerabilities

Businesses today are more at risk than ever before when it comes to network security vulnerabilities.

Thanks to the rise of the remote work culture, malicious actors now have a greater number of potential targets to choose from. And with 68% of business leaders saying their cyber risks are increasing, making sure your sensitive data is protected has never been more important

In this blog post, we will list and describe in great detail all of the major types of network security vulnerabilities that businesses face. We will also explain how businesses can avoid or prevent these threats from causing damage to their networks.

What Are Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities?

Before delving into the specific types of network security vulnerabilities, it’s important to understand what these terms mean. A cyber threat is any potential risk that can cause harm to a computer network and the sensitive data it holds.

An information security vulnerability, on the other hand, is a weakness in a network’s system or infrastructure that could potentially be exploited by a cyber threat. In other words, a cyber security vulnerability is the entry point for many types of attacks in network security.

The 10 Most Dangerous Types of Network Security Threats and How to Avoid Them

Here we will discuss the most dangerous and most common network vulnerabilities and types of vulnerabilities in network security that all businesses face today.

1. Malware

This catch-all term refers to any type of malicious software that can harm a computer network. Some common types of malware include viruses, ransomware, and spyware.

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To avoid falling victim to this particular cyber vulnerability, it’s crucial to have strong anti-malware software in place and regularly update your operating system and applications. It’s also important to educate employees on the risks of clicking on suspicious emails or links, as well as proper internet browsing habits.

2. Phishing

Phishing is a form of social engineering and an attempt by cyber criminals to steal data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details through fraudulent communication methods such as emails or text messages. These communications often appear legitimate, making them particularly dangerous to a business’ network security.

To prevent falling victim to this major security risk, it’s important to educate employees on identifying and reporting suspicious emails or messages. It’s also important for businesses to use multi-factor authentication for sensitive accounts and regularly update passwords to prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access.

3. DDOS Attacks

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurs when cyber criminals flood a network with large amounts of traffic, preventing legitimate users from accessing the network or its services. These cyber attacks can have major repercussions for businesses, including loss of data and revenue.

Preventing DDoS attacks can be difficult, as they often originate from multiple sources at once. However, having a strong firewall in place, monitoring network activity and conducting vulnerability scans can help identify and prevent these attacks.

It’s also important to have a plan in place for how to quickly respond to a DDoS attack if one occurs.

4. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

In a man-in-the-middle attack, cyber criminals intercept and manipulate communications between two parties, potentially gaining access to sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and financial details.

To avoid falling victim to this type of attack, it’s important to use encrypted communication security controls such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and secure websites with HTTPS. Ensuring that all Wi-Fi networks are secure is also crucial in preventing man-in-the-middle attacks.

5. SQL Injection

In a SQL injection attack, cyber criminals gain access to sensitive information by inserting malicious code into a website’s input fields. This allows them to manipulate and exploit the underlying database.

To prevent this type of attack, businesses should regularly update their websites and use parameterized queries to ensure input fields cannot be manipulated by malicious code. It’s also important for businesses to properly secure their databases, perform penetration testing and regularly monitor for suspicious activity.

6. Weak Passwords

One of the simplest yet most common network security vulnerabilities is weak or reused passwords. These can easily be guessed or cracked by cyber criminals, allowing them access to sensitive information on a network.

To prevent weak password attacks, it’s crucial for businesses to enforce strong password policies and regularly update passwords. It’s also important to educate employees on the importance of creating unique, difficult-to-guess passwords, as they are very much the first line of defense against this particular cyber vulnerability.

7. Unpatched Software

Outdated software can contain network vulnerabilities that can easily be exploited by cyber criminals. This includes both operating systems and applications, making it crucial for businesses to regularly update all software on their network.

To avoid falling victim to an attack through unpatched software, it’s important to set up automatic updates where possible and regularly check for updates on all software used on the network. It’s also important to properly secure any internet-connected devices, as they may also contain unpatched software vulnerabilities.

8. Insider Threats

Insider threats involve employees or individuals with authorized access to a network using that access for malicious purposes. This can include theft of sensitive information or sabotage of the network.

To prevent insider threats, it’s important for businesses to properly vet and monitor employees with access to sensitive information and networks. It’s also crucial for businesses to have a plan in place for how to quickly respond if an insider threat does occur.

9. Unsecured WiFi Networks

Unsecured WiFi networks can easily be accessed by cyber criminals, allowing them access to a network and the sensitive information it contains.

To prevent this type of attack, businesses should use strong encryption on their wireless networks and regularly change network passwords. It’s also important for employees to avoid accessing sensitive information on public or unsecured WiFi networks.

10. Privilege Escalation

Privilege escalation involves cyber criminals penetrating the network through a configuration error or software bug and expanding their reach. Gaining access to adjacent systems is known as horizontal escalation; while gaining a higher level of privileges is known as vertical escalation.

It allows the cyber criminal to perform unauthorized actions on systems, potentially allowing them to install malware, steal and erase data, and even lock out legitimate users.

Preventing privilege escalation attacks can be done by having experienced IT professionals administer network privileges, patch applications and OSes, and by conducting regular audits of user privileges.

Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities

Protecting Your Business from Network Security Vulnerabilities with the Help of a Leading MSP

In conclusion, there are a variety of network security vulnerabilities that businesses must be aware of and take steps to prevent and protect against. By staying informed and implementing the necessary security measures, businesses can minimize the risk of a potential attack and its resulting damage.

Here at Computers Made Easy (CME) our team provides services that adapt to your company’s needs, ensuring our offerings are always in line with what you hope to achieve. We understand that not all companies want or need the same level of commitment from us, so we offer both short- and long-term options for those who require different levels of assistance.

If you want to learn more about how we can strengthen your business’ cyber defenses to better protect against the multitude of online threats that exist today, simply schedule a free consultation with us today!