CMI Blog

Your Guide to the Top 5 Cyber Threats

It_support_companies_london_cyber_threats_guide.jpgThis may come as a shock. There is no such thing a catch-all security software that your IT provider can implement to keep your company safe. Instead IT support companies must rely on a range of different techniques, software, hardware and IT expertise to help ensure your business does not fall victim to one of the increasing number of cyber threats. 

The reason why an all-encompassing security software application hasn’t been developed, is that threats come from many different directions, via a spectrum of mediums, all targeting different elements of your IT infrastructure.  It would be physically impossible to implement a single program that accounts for all of them.

As such, your company’s safety is left in the hands of your IT provider’s security expertise, proactivity, experience and diligence. But you can equip yourself with the knowledge needed to ask the right questions by becoming aware of the top 5 cyber threats most likely to hit your business.

Network Probe / Hostile Scan

In any given moment, there are millions of self-propagating malware infections looking for network vulnerabilities. For example, Moon Worm was a self-replicating program that infected Linksys routers by exploiting an "authentication bypass" vulnerability. It moved from router to router by scanning for its next victim. If it didn’t find a vulnerable router it moved on to the next IP address. To combat against this type of threat, you can move services to the cloud, close unnecessary internet ports and ensure you are equipped with a next generation firewall.

Distributed Denial of Service

About a year and a half ago, both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live went down after a group called LizardSquad began to attack the network connections. They leveraged poorly secured routers that had default passwords. As a result, thousands of routers were turned into evil machines that blasted Internet traffic at the IP addresses critical to the gaming networks. This is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.  It means that huge amounts of traffic can quickly overwhelm your infrastructure and effectively knock it off the Internet. Can you imagine what that would mean for your business?

Brute Force Attacks

Brute Force attacks usually target a single service exposed to the Internet, such as Remote Desktop, VNC, Outlook Web Access, or email services. Attacks consist of a predictable and systematic checking of all possible passwords until the correct one is found. This then grants access to the network, which in many cases ends up being with domain administrator privileges. One of the most commonly attacked platforms is WordPress because it has an easily located admin login page. Once the attackers have guessed the password correctly, they gain unrestricted access to that account. If the Wordpress account is hosted inside the company’s network, then complete network exploitation is likely.

Phishing Attack

A couple years ago, there was a mass email attack targeting tens of millions of customers of UK SMEs. The emails carried an attachment that appeared to be linked to the message—for example a voicemail, or details of a suspicious transaction or invoice. The attached file was actually a piece of malware called CryptoLocker, which when opened, began encrypting files and then demanding a ransom to unlock them. While CryptoLocker is one of the most infamous pieces of malware delivered via this type of attack, every month thousands of businesses fall victim to other phishing attacks with email attachments that lead to serious network compromise.

Spear Phishing Attack

A US company called Scoular fell victim a few years ago to what is called a spear phishing attack.  Hackers sent extremely legitimate looking emails to its financial controller, convincing him to send a series of wires – totalling $17.2 million – to a bank in China. The emails also instructed the controller to get the wire instructions from a genuine employee of the company’s actual accounting firm, KPMG. While the KPMG employee did exist, and the email looked like it came from a valid KPMG email address, it was actually based on a server in Russia and the telephone number listed was a Skype account registered using an IP address in Israel. This attack was successful.

Your company doesn’t have to be one of the thousands of businesses compromised due to poor IT security.  The tools and expertise exist to ensure you have the best chance of beating cyber threats.  Don’t take chances, ask an IT support company you trust to give you a risk assessment today.


About BTA

BTA is a London-based IT provider providing comprehensive managed IT services.  As one of the most established IT support companies in London and the South East, BTA is able to provide the experience and expertise needed to ensure your business is as safe as possible from cyber threats.  Contact BTA for a free risk assessment at or on 020 8875 7676.

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