The 2022 Global Threat Report suggests that network security threats are evolving, with eCrime actors adding layers of sophistication to the threat landscape. Besides the lone wolves wreaking havoc on supply chains, state-sponsored adversaries are developing new capabilities to evade detection and access critical infrastructure to amplify ransomware attacks. The increase in denial of service (DoS), distributed denial of service (DDoS), and man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, among others, is indicative of the rising complexity of network security threats.
What is a network security threat?
A network security threat is a security risk that can harm the corporate system and its network from various angles. Usually, cyber attackers and cybercriminals perform attacks on the corporate network to steal data, sensitive credentials, and other digital assets to harm the business or for monetary benefits. Since everything from servers and laptops to cloud services is part of the corporate network, a breach can offer attackers a broad spectrum of information and access to a wealth of digital assets.
There are two main types of network attacks:
Passive: During a passive attack, attackers fraudulently access a network and monitor/steal sensitive data. However, the attackers do not alter the source data in any manner.
Active: Under active attack, attackers gain unauthorized access and alter source data by deleting or encrypting it
After gaining unauthorized access to a corporate network, attackers often combine various attack techniques like compromising an endpoint or injecting malware to wreak havoc.
Top 5 most common network security threats
While corporate networks face several threats, here are the top five at the moment.
Network misconfiguration: According to the Verizon Data Breach investigation research report, a misconfiguration in network setup accounts for 14% of breaches. Any setup that violates the configuration policy and weakens the network security posture constitutes network misconfiguration. Such misconfiguration causes unintended behaviour. Such an error occurs when the IT team sets or changes the setting without understanding the repercussions.
DoS and DDoS attack: While hackers exploit network misconfiguration to steal sensitive information, DoS and DDoS shut down the network, making it inaccessible to authorized personnel or users. DoS disrupts regular traffic by overwhelming the traffic with multiple requests from a single system. In a DDoS attack, criminals flood the server's traffic with numerous requests from different systems or devices (usually IoT). It clogs the server and prevents regular traffic from reaching its destination.
Outdated software: Software companies regularly issue updates and patches to address code vulnerabilities and flaws. Since a network comprises several devices, continuously updating or patching software or apps (like firmware, router apps, and operating systems) keeps attackers from exploiting the vulnerabilities from the previous iteration. According to a
, in the US, enterprises report a loss of nearly US$ 1.8 billion annually due to outdated technology/software.
Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attack:
is a general attack term that represents a situation when attackers position themselves between a user and an app or server's connection. The motive of such network attacks is to eavesdrop on client-server communication, impersonate one of the parties to change the content in transit, or steal valuable credentials or data. Attacker targets SaaS businesses, financial apps, e-commerce sites, and other dynamic web apps through HTTPS & IP spoofing, DNS poisoning, and SSL hijacking, among others.
Malware: Hackers inject various types of malware, such as rootkits, viruses, Trojan horses, Spyware, and Adware, into the network to gain administrative access or remote control over networked devices. Viruses and Trojan horses inject all the systems connected to the network. Adware tracks browsing habits, while spyware secretly records personal information and sends them to its deployer. According to a
report, 2.8 billion malware attacks (roughly an 11% rise) got recorded in mid-2022.
Preventive measures against network security threats
Enterprises should perform a thorough audit to identify any misconfiguration.
is adept at conducting network audits and eliminating misconfigurations.
Modern network security tools come with load balancing and ML-based intelligence algorithms to identify artificial traffic flooding to eliminate DoS and DDoS attacks.
Enterprises should leverage web and network vulnerability scanners to detect outdated software or any known bugs in any network-associated device.
Enterprises should keep their software up to date and must install the latest anti-malware programs and firewalls to protect the network from external threats.
Use a proxy server to regulate internet access. Allow users access to sites whitelisted by the IT teams.
Use Network Address Translation (NAT) to translate internal IP addresses into addresses accessible on public networks.
Network security is critical for any business as it protects its network from unauthorized access, data leakage, and other malicious threats. Enterprises should follow the best practices and strategies to protect their networks from external threats. A thorough penetration testing can reveal the vulnerabilities in the network. Additionally, they should deploy modern tools and technologies to protect their networks from malicious threats. Network security teams would also benefit from having a strategy and staying up-to-date on the latest network security trends to ensure the protection of all connected devices.
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