As of 2022, the global average cost per data breach amounted to 4.35 million USD. Irrespective of the size and industry, all types of IT-driven enterprises are prone to impersonation-based cyber attacks like BEC (Business Email Compromise), whale phishing, DNS spoofing, social engineering, etc. 

An attacker imitates company owners or employees and sends fraudulent emails on their behalf to customers and prospects. The email asks for personal details like login credentials, social security numbers, financial details, OTPs, medical reports, etc. The primary reasons to exploit the information are to make money or damage a brand’s reputation for business rivalry.

What are Cybersecurity Threats?

A cybersecurity threat refers to the malicious act of spotting and exploiting the vulnerability of a system to steal or intercept data, inject malware, disrupt operations, or attempt Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. The fraudulent use of attack vectors enables attackers to plan and execute such malicious acts. Common attackers include-

  • Hostile Nation-States: These are government-sponsored programs planned to spread propaganda, disrupt key infrastructure, or cause website defacement. Their development 
  • Terrorist Groups: These groups attempt cyber attacks to damage national interests.
  • Cybercriminals: They steal data to exploit them themselves or sell it on the dark web.
  • Corporate Spies: Corporate spies conduct industrial espionage to obtain business secrets like marketing strategies and source codes.
  • Hacktivists: They attempt cyber attacks for political ideals and issues. They generally don’t intend to damage an IT infrastructure and instead are concerned about spreading propaganda.

8 Cyber Threats Faced by Enterprises in 2023

1. BEC Scams

In BEC scams, an attacker targets a business to defraud the company. This is done in the following ways:

CEO Fraud

An attacker positions themselves as the CEO or company’s executive and sends a message to an individual (typically from the finance team). The email requests them to make a financial transaction to the account controlled by the cybercriminal.

Account Compromise

Cybercriminals hack an employee’s email account and send payment to vendors where they request the transfer of funds to the hacker’s bank account.

False Invoice Scheme

The typical targets of a false invoice scheme-based BEC attack are foreign suppliers. They use social engineering tactics and send fake invoices by acting as suppliers.

Attorney Impersonation

In this, threat actors mimic a lawyer or legal representative to exploit a vulnerability and attempt a BEC attack. 

Data Theft

These types of BEC scams usually target HR employees of a company, where cyber actors try stealing confidential information about employees and executive members. The obtained PII is further misused to breach cybersecurity.

2. Social Engineering

Social engineering compromises human connection to technology rather than a direct system breach. Attackers send phishing emails to employees where they generally impersonate a senior authority and ask them to download malware-injected files, share confidential data, or make financial transactions. 

A multi-step social engineering attack starts when an adversary gathers background information on an IT structure. This includes system vulnerabilities and unprotected entry points.

3. Spear Phishing

In a spear phishing attack, an attacker targets a specific individual or organization to steal or intercept personal details or manipulate them into downloading malware-infected files. It’s a personal attack requiring in-depth information about the target person’s background and user behavior. 

Spear phishers usually stalk targets’ social media profiles to obtain information and impersonate them. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, the three robust email authentication protocols, prevent these attacks by blocking unauthorized senders.

4. Whaling/Whale Phishing

Whaling phishing attacks target high-profile employees like CEOs and CFOs by tricking them into sharing Personal Identifiable Information (PII) or making wire transfers. Detecting and mitigating a whaling attack is difficult as it’s highly specified and personalized. Sometimes, attackers imitate company employees to send emails so that the target believes them to be coming from official sources. However, robust security awareness training amongst employees and executive members helps read the flags of such attacks.

5. Domain Spoofing

Domain spoofing is a type of phishing attack where an adversary impersonates a reputed brand or individual using a spoof website or email domain. They manipulate recipients into believing that the sending source is legitimate; however, on closer inspection, you’ll notice typos or smart spelling alterations like using VV (double Vs) instead of a W (the 23rd letter in the English alphabet series) or l (lowercase L) instead of I (the 9th letter in the English alphabet series).

Red Sift’s OnDOMAIN offers a domain takedown service where we uncover and disarm lookalike and impersonated domains. We take on the process by leveraging existing relations with registrars and hosting providers.

6. Account Takeover

Account takeover is a form of identity theft and fraud where an attacker gets access to a system or account. They act as the legitimate email sender and send phishing emails asking recipients to share Personal Identifiable Information (PII) or make online transactions to bad actors’ accounts. They exploit a company’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities like unsecured entry points, unpatched software, weak login credentials, etc. 

Account takeover attacks target multiple end users of an IT infrastructure that’s detrimental to a company’s growth and reputation.

7. DNS Spoofing

DNS spoofing is a cyber attack where malicious actors poison entries on a DNS server to redirect users to cloned or unsecured websites. It typically hits the public Wi-Fi zone by disrupting the Address Resolution Protocol or ARP. They attempt DNS spoofing attacks by using premade tools or coding them according to the target’s IT infrastructure’s vulnerability type. 

8. Data Theft

Data theft is an illegal and unauthorized transfer of confidential personal, professional, and financial information. It’s a serious privacy breach issue that disrupts a company’s operational system and hampers its reputation. Threat actors use the stolen information for spear phishing and BEC scams.

How To Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Safeguarding your organization’s cybersecurity structure is inevitable for reputation management and unhampered growth and operations. Here’s how you can prevent yourself from them.

  • Hover over links in a suspicious, unrecognized, and unrequested email before clicking them. Look at the bottom left corner of your screen to see the webpage they will redirect you to. 
  • Carefully check all senders' email addresses.
  • Educate your employees about ways to identify a phishing email.
  • Be careful while sharing confidential and personal details.
  • Keep your software and devices updated to combat new tactics of cyber attacks. 
  • Invest in premium patch management service
  • Use endpoint protection software to shield all access paths from security threats.
  • Install a firewall to block brute-force attacks attempted on your network or devices.
  • Keep a clean and updated data backup on the cloud and external storage devices.
  • Have physical control over your system.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi by changing the default name and password, enabling network encryption, and turning off network name broadcasting.
  • Complying to email authentication protocols- SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
  • Invest in services that uncover and takedown look-alike domains on day zero. Know more about domain takedown services here.

Cybersecurity management involves a multilayered plan devised to control, assess, and remediate all spheres of an IT structure. Network perimeter security helps automate the discovery of digital assets. Contact our experts today to get a free analysis of your attack surface.

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