Computer networks have always been vulnerable to attack, and there's a constant game of cat and mouse between the people trying to damage them and those trying to protect them.
Attackers can be criminal organisations, individuals, or even states. These are the biggest cybersecurity threats to look out for in 2023.
Malware is a type of software that is designed to damage networks disrupt computer systems. It can take many forms, including viruses, worms, and trojans.
Malware can be distributed through hacked files, over email, or even injected via the web pages you visit.
Often attackers will use malware to gain a foothold in your computer and network before encrypting it, and holding it hostage in a ransomware attack.
Phishing attacks are a type of social engineering attack where the attacker attempts to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information, by posing as someone trustworthy.
Typically, phishing attacks involve emails or text messages from a friend, relative, or organisation you trust. You should never click on links in emails, or respond to any message which isn't completely believable.
Espionage is the practice of gathering sensitive information from individuals or organisations. This can be done through a variety of means, including hacking into systems and networks, using malware, or using social engineering techniques. Attackers can be rival organisations seeking a competitive edge, criminals, or even nation states.
Digital attacks on infrastructure
It's no secret that there's currently a war happening in Eastern Europe. In the run up to Russia''s invasion of Ukraine, digital attacks were launched against the country, with criminal hackers targetting and attempting to disrupt the normal functioning of Ukraine's government, and its wider infrastructure.
As the war progressed, and it started to become clear that Ukraine's allies would stand by the nation, Russia affiliated hackers stepped up their cyberattacks on allied nations, with attacks targetting hospitals, energy companies, and banks, in the US, the UK, and further afield.
Denial of service (DoS) attacks
DoS attacks are a type of cyber attack in which the attacker attempts to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users. This is typically done by flooding the target with traffic or requests, overwhelming its capacity and preventing it from functioning properly.
Denial of service attacks are one of the oldest offensive tactics on the internet, and can easily be carried out using a botnet of suborned and infected computers.
While Denial of Service attacks can take a website offline for hours, or even days, you can protect yourself from DoS attacks by using a service such as Cloudflare.
Physical attacks on Infrastructure
While we're used to thinking of attacks on infrastructure as being limited to taking services offline by DoS, hacking, or other digital means, it's easy to forget that physical damage can take out a data centre more effectively and permanently than a virus - as the missiles currently slamming into targets across Eastern Europe can attest.
One interesting but underused tactic is a hybrid attack which can use digital intrusion and malware to physically damage infrastructure. One major example of this was the Stuxnet worm, which caused substantial damage to Iran's nuclear program in 2010.
Take care of your digital security in 2023
Someone is always out to get you, and it's important for you and your organisation to be aware of these and other security threats
Take steps to protect yourself by implementing strong security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and authentication, as well as regularly updating software. Make sure you always use strong passwords, and keep your antivirus program up to date.