All cyber-security professionals undergo constant pressure to keep their business networks secure. It has become essential for CISOs to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
Businesses need to understand their vulnerabilities thoroughly to be vigilant of cyber risks. There are multiple ways that cybercriminals can leverage to infiltrate the business network. Enterprises need to implement a defense mechanism based on vulnerabilities and threats.
The approach used by threat actors to breach or infiltrate the business network is a cyber-attack vector. These threat vectors allow malicious actors to exploit system vulnerabilities.
In this article, let’s explore criminals’ most common cyberattack vectors.
How do malicious attackers exploit attack vectors?
Cybercriminals are well-versed in all the common security attack vectors accessible to them. Cybercriminals explore vulnerabilities or security loopholes, which they can exploit as a vector to infiltrate a network.
A security loophole is present in an operating system or software code. A security vulnerability can exist due to an application coding mistake. It might also arise because of a faulty security configuration.
Cybercriminals can achieve their malicious goals by stealing employees’ security credentials. They can even break into a building and get access to sensitive data.
Cyber-attackers constantly prowl to scan enterprises to look out for vulnerabilities. They look for potential entry points to infiltrate the systems, applications, & networks.
In a few cases, they might compromise physical facilities or identify internal threats. They seek vulnerable resources that intentionally or unintentionally share their access credentials.
Common Cyber Attack Vectors
Attackers use a few common vectors to infiltrate the business network and accomplish their malicious goals.
1. Stolen Credentials
User IDs and credentials stealing is a common attack vector. Data leaks, phishing scams, and malware attacks can expose user credentials.
Once this leak happens, hackers get access to the entire business network. So, businesses must use tools that constantly monitor data exposures and leaked credentials.
Following are the tools that reduce the risks of credential data leaks resulting in a full-blown security incident:
- Two-factor authentication (2FA),
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA),
2. Weak passwords
Poor and reused credentials will result in one or more data breaches. An ineffective password management policy is a common cyberattack vector that cybercriminals exploit.
It is crucial to educate the entire organization to create a secure environment. SecOps teams need to set the best password management policies to enhance security. Enterprises can integrate a password manager or a single sign-on tool on their cybersecurity tech stack.
3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Cybercriminals can use DDoS cyberattack vectors for a full-blown attack against networked resources.
They try to compromise systems that can bring down the business network availability. Malicious actors compromise data centers, servers, websites, or web applications through DDoS.
Cyber-attackers flood the business network with messages that results in a system lag or even crash. Then, company employees and business users cannot access the network for some time. Businesses can leverage content delivery networks (CDNs) and proxies to fight potential threats.
4. SQL Injections
Structured query language (SQL) is a coding language used to interact with databases. Multiple servers that save sensitive information use SQL to maintain their database.
An SQL injection uses malicious SQL, so it exposes server data. It is a significant cyber threat to all the databases that save sensitive information.
There could be threats to datasets with client information, credit card details, credentials, or other personally identifiable information (PII).
Trojans are malware that misleads users by pretending to be from a legitimate source. Cybercriminals often distribute this cyberattack vector through infected email attachments. They can also use fake malicious software to spread Trojans in the business network.
6. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
XSS are attack vectors that inject malicious code into a website without attacking it. They impact the website’s visitors.
Malicious actors use ransomware to extort money. These criminals delete or encrypt the data and blackmail the organizations to pay the ransom. Businesses can reduce the impact of the ransomware plan by implementing a robust defense mechanism. SecOps teams should constantly patch and back up sensitive data to stay secure.
8. Lack of encryption
Data encryption approaches such as:
- Secure Sockets Layer(SSL),
- Domain Name System Security Extensions(DNSSEC),
can help businesses to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks. These data encryption strategies help to secure the confidentiality of data in transition.
Lack of encryption or poor encryption can expose sensitive data during a data breach.
9. Malicious Insider
Dissatisfied or irate employees can expose sensitive business data. Malicious insiders can offer company-centric vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can use as attack vectors.
10. Hijacking User Session
While logging in, users provide the computer with a session key or cookie. This session key or cookie does not ask the user to log in again. Cybercriminals can hijack this cookie and use it as a cyberattack vector to get access to sensitive information.
11. Social engineering Attacks
Social engineering attacks like Phishing target the user through phone, email, or text message.
In such attacks, the cybercriminals pose as legitimate coworkers or vendors. They trick the user into offering sensitive data or credentials by posing as a legitimate source. These illegal messages can redirect users to spoof websites with viruses or malware payloads.
Common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) have a constant new addition of security vulnerabilities. Additionally, zero-day vulnerabilities are very common too.
Cybercriminals can exploit the gap if the SecOps teams do not release zero-day vulnerability patches. After that, it is challenging for businesses to secure their network against zero-day attacks.
13. Brute Force
Malicious actors can leverage brute force attack vectors based on a trial-and-error approach.
They constantly try to get access to the business network until one cyberattack vector works. It could range from attacking poor credentials or sending infected email attachments with malware.
Cybercriminals can also use the misconfiguration of cloud service vendors as attack vectors. Misconfigurations of Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or AWS can lead to data breaches.
Moreover, using a default password will also lead to a successful data breach or leak. SecOps teams can automate the configuration management at all the possible touch points to prevent configuration drift.
The cyberattack vectors are significantly increasing and becoming sophisticated. Security decision-makers must know all the common cyberattack vectors to set a strategic defense mechanism.