Every device in your network is open to attack or compromise. Some threats are well known; others less so. Yet, a thorough IT security program demands that you and your team are on top of malicious actors, recognizing what they are and how they seek to undermine your digital system.
This is a growing concern. As Brian Contos states in Dark Reading, the explosive adoption of connected devices “has created a vast, diverse and largely unmapped attack surface that sophisticated adversaries are already exploiting.” The Internet of Things (IoT) has essentially thrown Pandora’s Box wide open for cyber assaults that can do far more damage on a much wider scale than organizations may be used to.
To keep your reputation and sensitive data intact, it’s worth exploring what some of the most dangerous network threats are today — and how you can stop them in their tracks or prevent them from exploiting your hardware.
What makes a network device vulnerable?
Users don’t have to surrender their passwords to compromise a device. While phishing is still a common tactic to fool someone into handing their credentials over, remote attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Hacking software can scan IP addresses to find vulnerabilities such as unencrypted firmware, unpatched software or poorly configured firewalls. Authorities like the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also point to insufficient controls on VPN servers, which expose any devices connected to them. So, employee awareness is by no means the only issue. Technical issues can leave hundreds or thousands of pieces of hardware open to a breach.
The “most wanted” list you need to know
Threats to your devices are increasing every year with astonishing pace and invention. That means we can add more to this list soon enough; cybersecurity is an ongoing arms race in which you have to be up to speed with new threats arising, but also the ways in which existing threats are changing.
At present, some of the most notorious and crippling network device risks include:
Malware, ransomware and trojans
By exploiting holes in your software or IT security, these viruses can lie dormant in your network for days, weeks or even months, gathering data and infecting files. Ransomware in particular can be devastating, shutting down every digital operation while demanding huge sums of money. They also have many methods of gaining access, such as redirecting users to a malicious website or hiding in a downloadable file’s code.
These threats lie between two servers as they communicate, allowing a cybercriminal to eavesdrop on the “conversation” and imitate each target so neither detects a security issue. Hackers use several techniques to become the man-in-the-middle — for instance, by setting up a rogue wireless access point or looking into data packets sent from the endpoint to the server.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
By flooding devices like routers and switches with requests for information, cybercriminals can overwhelm your network and bring everything to a halt. This leads to repeated crashes and downtime. Typically, DDoS assaults exploit multiple devices at once with seemingly legitimate behavior, making them one of the hardest threats to fight without sufficient security.
With the rise in remote working, trusting on-premises security is no longer viable. An infiltrator can hack home routers and tweak DNS settings to reroute internet traffic to their own destination. This is often a pharming website that acts as a phishing tool or another method to seed malware into a device. From there, the attack can spread to other network endpoints.
How patch management helps protect network devices
As we stay vigilant for insidious activities online, it’s worth asking how to lock down devices with greater assurance on any scale. After all, as Forbes reports, there are still “high rates of known (i.e., patchable) vulnerabilities that have working exploits in the wild … such as exposed remote login and data stores.” Patching enables your devices and associated software to cope with threats that emerge in the cyber landscape, giving them a much higher chance of recognizing the signs of a potential attack and informing your safeguards in remote or hybrid environments.
Consistent, necessary software updates will improve your security posture across the board, ensuring that hardware, firmware, drivers and applications can block suspicious network requests and keep data encrypted. Our Deep Freeze Cloud solution makes those updates at the perfect time, shutting your endpoint connections and restoring the system with everything intact. There are no gaps for zero-day threats — or unknown vulnerabilities — to creep into your cloud architecture. You’ll stay compliant, productive and confident that your network devices are as impregnable as they’re able to be. Speak to a Faronics expert today for more information.