Common Cyber Security Threats
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Common Cyber Security Threats

Common cyber security threats are being introduced every day with new capabilities and advanced methods causing headaches for businesses looking to secure their confidential data.

A cyber security threat is defined as:

“A type of malicious action that targets a computer system, infrastructure, network or personal computer using a variety of different methods to achieve one of the following”

    • Capture your personal or business data
    • Alter or delete/destroy your personal or business data
  • Damage your system or computer to make it unworkable

Below we have listed five of the most common cyber security threats in 2019 and how they can potentially impact your business.

Malware Attacks

A contraction of ‘malicious software’ malware is defined as unwanted software that is installed onto your workstation or computer system without your consent and often without you being aware of it. Nowadays people tend to use words like ‘Malware’ rather than the more general term ‘virus’ when they refer to a system that has been breached. Malware is often able to disguise itself within useful applications and can be difficult to locate and remove without the right knowledge of protection software. There are many different types of Malware such as Trojans, Spyware and Botnets as well as some others that we have included within our list.


Ransomware Computer Locked

Ransomware is a specific type of malware but deserves its own spot on this list due to its recent rise in prominence. Ransomware is the process in which malware blocks access to a users data or systems and threatens to delete or publish it, should a certain demand not be met.

Ransomware has come to the public’s attention recently with TV shows such as ‘Homeland’ depicting a situation in which Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is a victim of a ransomware attack. After clicking on what she believes to be a simple download of a picture she is locked out of her PC and threatened with her confidential work data being leaked should she not pay a hefty bitcoin ransom. (Spoiler Alert) In Homeland, Carrie with help from a friend, is able to locate the cyber criminal and beat him into releasing her data! Unfortunately this Hollywood style approach is not recommended and typically data can be very difficult to retrieve.

Another costly example of ransomware in action was the ‘WannaCry’ attack on the NHS in May 2017. The attack locked systems for 80 “severely affected’ trusts and left the NHS with a staggering £73 million IT bill.

Phishing & Spear Phishing

Phishing is one of the more well known and common cyber security threats. Phishing occurs when a user sends an email in disguise, pretending to be from a trustworthy source with the goal of gaining personal information or to lead a user into performing a certain action or task. Phishing is performed on a large scale with BBC News estimating more than 746,000 phishing emails were sent during one month in 2017 pretending to be from the NHS.

How To Reduce Phishing Attacks

    • Hover before you click

If you are suspicious of an email hover your cursor over clickable elements and check to see where the URL leads. If the URL is extremely long and doesn’t match where you would expect it to go then report it to your IT team or as spam.

      • Keep your eyes open

Phishing scams that work are mostly due to negligence from users deciphering email content. Taking time to evaluate an emails appearance and content as well as looking at who the ‘reply to’ email address goes to will often give away phishing scams.

      • Bring out the sandbox

If you are very concerned about an email you can test open it within a Sandbox environment. To learn more about this method you can call us on tel:03330504372 or email our team at

SQL Injection Attack

An SQL Injection Attack may be the most fearsome sounding of our common cyber security threats. SQL injection attacks tend to be an issue with database driven websites and occur when a malefactor executes a SQL query to the database via the input data from the client to the server.

If an SQL injection attack is successful it can read potentially sensitive data from your database as well as modify data or undertake admin operations on your behalf, such as issuing commands to the operating system.

Drive By Attack

Not as action packed as the ones you see in the movies! However, drive by download attacks can still be extremely harmful to your computer systems. A drive by download attack is a common way of spreading malware and works by hackers planting malicious scripts within code of vulnerable websites. Drive by download attacks tend to take place when a user visits a website or views an email message. However, unlike phishing attacks the user does not specifically have to interact with the page for an attack to take place. To avoid a drive by download attack you need to make sure your internet browsers and operating systems are up to date and will take steps to warn you of websites that may contain a cyber threat.

With attacks on the rise, protecting your business from common cyber security threats has never been more important. At Virtanix we help small and medium business across the United Kingdom in securing their data and giving them peace of mind from potential threats. We utilise the latest software updates and protection methods and offer businesses a completely free cyber security review so that you can understand just how at risk your business is from an attack.

To learn more you can Get in touch

Be safe out there!