Threat Intelligence: The Most Critical Types of Cyberthreats
You already know that there’s no shortage of malicious hackers waiting to get their hands on your most vital personal and business information. With each new technological advancement comes a new batch of nefarious cybercriminals ready to take advantage of it. For this reason, you should be aware of all the most critical cyberthreat types you face today. Knowledge truly is power, and by understanding cybercriminals’ tactics—and how to anticipate them using threat intelligence—you can learn how to prevent a security incident from compromising your most essential information.
Malware remains the most prevalent type of cyberthreat around. Odds are, you’ve probably already dealt with it in some form before. Malware won’t rest until it invades a system and steals data or performs whatever other malicious acts it’s been programmed to accomplish.
There are many kinds of malware and methods it can utilize to infect a system or computer. Whether it arrives via a suspicious link, email, pop-up, or another form of delivery, malware can include a range of variants, such as ransomware, spyware, viruses, and worms.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack diverts the usual traffic of a server, network, or service by crowding its vital infrastructure with an overwhelming influx of traffic. This action effectively runs the server into the ground.
DDoS attacks are effective because they utilize multiple systems and machines—not only other computers but any device connected to the internet, including something as innocuous as a smart TV. DDoS attacks are almost like a traffic jam blocking the highway, stopping all the normal traffic from continuing to its destination as usual.
Second only to malware, phishing is another frequently used tactic you’ve undoubtedly faced before. This cyberthreat sees cybercriminals contacting targets over email, phone, text, or even social media and pretending to be a reputable person or institution.
They do this to try and convince the targets to disclose important personal data, such as credit card information or banking passwords. The cybercriminals then use the information obtained to steal the target’s identity, gain access to their finances, or even apply for credit cards under the target’s name.
Third-party software helps make the world go round by providing the sites, tools, and services that bigger, more popular websites need to stay up and running. The largest sites—Google, Meta, Spotify, and the like—connect to hundreds of these third parties.
However, these software dependencies also make it much easier for cybercriminals to get the user data they want to exploit. Because these third-party platforms are much smaller (and, as a result, much weaker), cybercriminals know that they can acquire enormous amounts of information if they gain access to the internet giants through these less secure third parties.
Scareware, quid pro quo, email scams…each of these forms of social engineering attacks sees cybercriminals using psychological manipulation tactics to get what they want. Targets are tricked or lied to in an attempt to get them to give up their personal information and passwords to the hackers.
Social engineering is especially effective against people with little technological experience. This is because this group is far less informed of the dangers of speaking with strangers online or clicking on links they don’t recognize.
Cybercriminals pride themselves on exploiting any and every technological weakness they can get their hands on. One popular way to do this is through an OnPath (also known as a “man-in-the-middle” or MITM) attack.
In an OnPath attack, a hacker inserts themselves into a two-party transaction, often over an unprotected public Wi-Fi network, and uses malware to steal personal and financial information from the user without their knowledge. Since these attacks often take advantage of people using free Wi-Fi, they have only become more prevalent as Wi-Fi becomes more and more readily available to the public.
Your passwords are everything in this day and age. Because there are so many passwords to remember, people often either reuse the same ones or store everything in a password manager. For this reason, cybercriminals are eager to access one of a user’s commonly reused passwords or gain access to their password manager.
In a password attack, a malicious hacker acquires a target’s most frequently used passwords to gain access to their data and vital information. The cybercriminal may then change the user’s passwords after gaining access in an attempt to lock them out.
The Bottom Line: Becoming a Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst
When it comes to the most critical types of cyberthreats, there’s no such thing as being too educated or too protected. For this reason, it’s well worth continuing to stay up to date with the latest threats in the cybersecurity industry.
EC-Council developed the Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (C|TIA) program in collaboration with the world’s leading cybersecurity and threat intelligence experts. The C|TIA certification is designed to create trained professionals who can identify and mitigate business risks, convert unknown threats into quantifiable entities, and ultimately stop attackers in their tracks. Contact EC-Council to learn more and earn your C|TIA certification today.