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Beware of Software: Today’s Web Security Threats

Web ThreatInternet users are in an ongoing cyber race with hackers: they struggle to keep their information safe, while attacks become quicker and more malicious. In 2015, software was twice as vulnerable than the year before. This trend will continue as more devices are connected to the Internet, making cybersecurity an increasingly serious concern. Let’s discuss three of the biggest web security threats of 2016.

Ransomware uses encryption to restrict access to digital assets until the hackers are paid a requested amount. Individual victims are usually asked for a ransom ranging from $300 to $500, with no guarantee that their files will be freed. Those virtual extortions are not limited to small targets; entire institutions are also at risk. This year, a hospital in Los Angeles was the victim of a ransomware attack that shut down its entire internal computer system. The hackers initially requested a ransom of $3.7 million to restore the systems.

A botnet, also known as a zombie army, is a collection of infected computers. It goes largely undetected and while controlled by its originator, can spread malware (malicious software), take over entire Wi-Fi networks, gain access to other Internet connected devices, and/or steal personal information. As a result, any device connected to the Internet is vulnerable to becoming part of a botnet.

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
A DDoS attack consists of a malicious user commanding a botnet to sabotage a specific website or server. The hacker gets multiple zombie computers to attack the target by “flooding” it with data, sending a large amount of requests, or mailing spam to specific email addresses. This large quantity of useless information eventually forces the website or server to shut down, thus denying access to its legitimate users.

As we get more knowledgeable about cyber threats and the ways to protect ourselves against them, hackers are finding more sophisticated and craftier ways to get around security systems. There are always new threats out there, some of which are practically undetectable. Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity solutions and pay attention to what you click on!

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