Cybercrime is arguably one of the fastest-growing crimes that continue to damage businesses regardless of size and industry. If you don’t want to end up in the news because of a security breach, you must know the most effective cybersecurity tips and practices.

However, keeping yourself protected from cyberattacks is often challenging. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated over time, forcing businesses to invest a lot in developing robust security solutions to prevent data breaches.

In 2022, the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. was USD$9.44 million. Unfortunately, 60% of those affected were forced to close permanently. No one wants to end up like that. Thus, cybersecurity has become a developing concern for businesses across various industries.

Cyberattacks come in different forms, from malware and pretexting to SQL injections, man-in-the-middle, and zero-day exploits. However, most firms don’t know where to start or don’t have sufficient resources to keep threats at bay.

In this article, you’ll learn the different types of cyberattacks and some high-priority solutions to prevent them from infiltrating your system.

What Are The Types Of Cyberattacks And How To Prevent Them?

Below are the common forms of cyberattacks most cybercriminals use to hack or attack a system, including some helpful tips to prevent them.

1. Pretexting

Here’s a pretexting definition: Pretexting is a common method social engineering attackers use to access confidential information through deception.

Attackers use various techniques to earn the trust of unsuspecting individuals and encourage them to disclose sensitive information. These techniques take advantage of people’s emotions by creating a sense of urgency through offers that seem too good to be true.

Common pretexting techniques are as follows:

  • Phishing: Phishing attackers deliver emails to unsuspecting individuals by impersonating a well-known organization.
  • Vishing: Also known as voice phishing, vishing involves calling a victim and encouraging them to give up sensitive information.
  • Baiting: This involves making promises to earn the trust of a victim, encouraging them to download an attachment that contains malware.

Here are some helpful tips to prevent pretexting:

  • Secure Your Emails: Emails are the main entry point for pretexting, so implementing additional email security measures should be on your list.
  • Build A Cybersecurity Policy: Cybersecurity policies will help you and your team be more aware of the risks and threats you may face every day.
  • Educate Your Staff: Your employees are the weakest point in your system. That’s why educating them about the dos and don’ts of cybersecurity is necessary.

The most effective way to prevent pretexting is to empower your employees. Provide regular training and simulations, so that attackers won’t be able to fool them easily.

2. Malware

Malware, or malicious software, is an umbrella term that describes a range of malicious programs or codes that may harm a system. 

Attackers use malware to invade, take over, disable, or damage computer systems, networks, and mobile devices. It’s similar to how flu works, interfering with normal functioning.

There are many reasons why attackers use malware. It could be one of the following:

  • Making money off unsuspecting victims
  • Preventing victims from completing their work
  • Making political statements

Since malware is ubiquitous, you should know how to tell if your system is infected with one. Here are some telltale signs that indicate the presence of malware in your system:

  • The computer starts slowing down.
  • Annoying ads continuously appear out of nowhere.
  • The system suddenly crashes (e.g., freeze or BSOD—the blue screen of death).

To protect yourself against malware attacks, follow these simple prevention tips:

  • Keep Everything Updated: Updates contain new technology that helps prevent cyberattacks like malware. So, keep your system and software up to date at all times. 
  • Use Antivirus Software: Antivirus software scans downloads and the entire system to prevent malware from spreading and causing severe damage.
  • Limit File Sharing: File sharing methods expose your system to malware, often disguised as a popular album, game, or movie. So, limit file sharing as much as possible.

Furthermore, make sure to think twice before you click or download anything. If something seems too good to be true, then it’s most likely a scam containing a malicious program. In other words, never trust a site that doesn’t seem reliable.

3. SQL Injection

SQL injection, or SQLi, is a common web hacking strategy in which attackers use malicious SQL codes to access sensitive information. Such information may include confidential company data, user lists, and customer details.

SQL injection can be detrimental to businesses. If launched right, the attack can lead to unauthorized data viewing, deletion, and manipulation, all of which can cause severe damage to a business.

Here’s how you can prevent SQL injections:

  • Use Parameterized Queries: Parameterized queries and statements ensure that every parameter in the SQL statements is appropriately addressed.
  • Use Object-Relational Mapping: Many teams use object-relational mapping to translate SQLs into code objects smoothly.
  • Escape Inputs: This is an easy way to protect your system from SQL injections. Escape characters tell SQL values that injections should be considered a string, not a command.

Other techniques to prevent SQL injections include password hashing, firewall application, update and patch installation, and third-party authentication.

4. Man-In-The-Middle Attack

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack involves a perpetrator (attacker) in a conversation between an application and a user. They may either impersonate one of the parties involved or eavesdrop, making it appear like normal communication.

MITM attacks aim to steal personal information (e.g., credit card numbers, account details, and login credentials) for fraudulent activities. MITM attackers often target users in the field of eCommerce, SaaS businesses, and financial applications.

Any information obtained through MITM attacks could be used to steal identity, transfer funds, and change passwords.

In other words, an MITM attack is like a mailman opening your letters, editing your account info, resealing the envelope, and leaving it in your mailbox. You’ll never know when, where, and how your information will be leaked.

Here are a few tips to help you prevent MITM attacks:

  • Avoid Unprotected Wi-Fi Connections: Wi-Fi connections that aren’t password-protected can leak every piece of information that passes through its system.
  • Pay Attention To Browser Notifications: Your browser will notify you whether a website is safe or otherwise. It’s best to follow your browser’s advice for your safety.
  • Log Out When Not In Use: No matter how secure an application is, it’s better to log out of it when not in use to reduce the risk of MITM attacks.
  • Avoid Using Public Networks: Public networks (e.g., hotels, malls, etc.) aren’t safe, especially when making sensitive transactions. Hence, it must be avoided. 

You can also encrypt transmitted data to secure communication protocols (e.g., HTTPS and TLS) to reduce the risk of spoofing attacks. This helps prevent site traffic interception and block sensitive data decryption (e.g., authentication tokens).

5. Zero-Day Attacks

Zero-day attacks are a common hacking technique in which hackers use recently discovered vulnerabilities (also known as zero-day vulnerabilities) to infiltrate a system. The term ‘zero-day’ means the developer has zero days to fix a flaw that they just recently discovered. 

Zero-day exploits infiltrate systems using a previously unknown vulnerability. Because businesses are unaware that such vulnerabilities exist, they may not have patches to prevent them, making attacks more likely to succeed.

Although zero-day vulnerabilities are difficult to discover, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to identify them. Here are some techniques to detect zero-day vulnerabilities as early as possible:

  • Use existing malware databases to determine how zero-day vulnerabilities behave.
  • Check the interactions of potential vulnerabilities with your systems. This can help determine whether they come from malicious action.
  • Invest in machine learning. Machine learning (MI) can help detect vulnerabilities from the data of previously recorded exploits and past interactions with your systems.

Once you’ve determined the vulnerabilities hackers can use, it’s time to find out how to protect yourself from zero-day attacks. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Update Your Systems: Developers release new patches to cover recently discovered vulnerabilities. So, keep your systems up to date to secure everything.
  • Delete Unnecessary Applications: It’s best to use only what you need. The more applications you have, the higher the chances for vulnerabilities to exist.
  • Use A Firewall: Firewalls help protect a system against zero-day attacks. Configure your firewalls in a way that only allows important transactions to ensure optimum protection.

Don’t forget to educate and empower your employees to keep them safe online and protect the entire organization from zero-day vulnerabilities, exploits, and attacks.

What Are Other Things You Can Do To Prevent Cyberattacks?

Aside from the tips above, here are other things that may help you prevent cyberattacks:

  • Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN): VPN helps protect a system by encrypting connection and securing private information, even from your internet provider.
  • Check Before You Click: Attacks are often disguised as links, so double-check before clicking them. Hover your cursor over the link to see where you’ll be redirected.
  • Create A Strong Password: This prevents attackers from accessing your information. Combine numbers, letters, and special characters to ensure optimum password strength.

Final Thoughts

That’s the end of the list! 

Cyberattacks can cause detrimental and costly damage to a business. The damage it can cost you can reach up to billions of dollars, especially if left unattended. That’s why it’s essential to understand the importance of cyberattack prevention. Use this guide to learn how to boost your company’s cybersecurity solutions.