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The Top Five Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities for Businesses

The Top Five Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities for Businesses

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by Ali RazaAugust 29, 2015

Cyber crime is the biggest threat that any major financial or governmental organization face in today’s world. This form of crime is not physical, but ramifications of it are far more severe and ghastly than  conventional crime. Where physical attacks are threatening to loss of life of personnel, cyber crimes can put entire economies at risk, wipe out the bank accounts, expose the biggest secrets of any nation, and more.

The attackers may be located hundreds of miles away from the site of the attack. Government agencies all over the world are fighting hard in the battle against cyber crimes. It is not just the big guns that are at risk, though. Small business owners, as well as everyday users, are constantly at risk of being attacked by cyber criminals.

As this is one of the biggest threats we face in today’s world where almost everything is either already computerized or is on the brink of being computerized, one needs to be aware of the most common cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Below are the top five cybersecurity vulnerabilities for businesses:

1. Sensitive Data Exposure

This is one of the most primary areas that hackers (or insiders) target. They snoop around inside a big corporation’s network and then steal, damage, or expose some of the most sensitive data like financial statements, company policies, different databases, and customer information which can cause major problems for the targeted organization.

2. Buffer Overflow

If the attacker has knowledge of the buffer management and space allocation system of the target machine, then he can send a code with malicious data. The data would be bigger for the size allocated to the application that runs it, causing the application to use more than its allocated buffers. When control reverts back to the hacker, he can overwrite or damage the adjacent buffer blocks.

The attackers basically send an application on the user’s system a code, requiring it to store some data by allocating space in the buffer. Now, the attacker knows that the data the app would be storing requires extra buffer space than it will be allocated, so the app running his code will use more buffer blocks than it was supposed to. On completion, it returns the pointer to the location it stored the data in. This will be different than it was because it took up further buffer blocks than it was allocated. This information is sent back to the hacker, who can use the knowledge to manipulate data in the buffer address pointed at by the returning code. You can read more about it here.

3. Injection Vulnerabilities

Injection Vulnerabilities occur whenever a client sends untrusted data to an interpreter. Applications like XML parsers and program arguments as well as SQL can easily be victimized using this cybe-security vulnerability. Sensitive data can easily be compromised once injection vulnerabilities are exploited. Despite being relatively easy to detect and prevent, attackers who target this vulnerability are successful quite regularly.

4. Broken Authentication or Session Management

This is also a common cybersecurity vulnerability. Data, when unencrypted, is vulnerable to theft when it is exchanged over an internet session. The cyber criminals specifically target weak areas in the authentication and session management that is done between any two systems for exchange of packets. Using techniques like the Man-in-the-Middle attack, an attacker can intercept and decipher the data sent by a user if it is encrypted poorly. The attacker can then masquerade as the user, exploiting all the privileges granted to the user to manipulate the other system into disclosing more information that the attacker could mishandle.

5. Security Misconfiguration

These are small mistakes that the users make which can easily be taken advantage of by any hacker. Employees often use default passwords for security systems, or run some outdated software, or even run some unnecessary applications on their systems. All these are simple targets for any attacker that has some basic knowledge about hacking.

End Note

This article looks at the top five cybersecurity vulnerabilities for businesses. However, there are more than just these five, and it is vital that you be aware of them in order to safeguard yourself as well as your system from being victimized by notorious attacks.

Image from Shutterstock.

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