The facts don’t lie, the US experiences more data breaches than any other country in the world.
In 2021, a total of 212.4 million users were affected by data breaches, second to only Iran (at 156.1 million). If these numbers somewhat startle you, you’re not alone.
Businesses all over the United States are becoming more aware of the types of vulnerabilities in network security they face every day, because to ignore them may spell the ruination of their enterprise.
In this blog we’re going to highlight and explore the 5 biggest network security vulnerabilities businesses in the US are facing today, and what you can do to mitigate your ongoing data security risk.
What are Network Vulnerabilities?
A network vulnerability is any aspect of your IT infrastructure that leaves room open for a cyber attacker to gain access to your network, and by extension your sensitive information.
An attacker may employ automated methods in the pursuit of stealing data like bot-delivered malicious software, or they may use more direct methods like social engineering or targeted attacks.
In either case, knowing where your specific cyber security vulnerabilities lie is the first step towards closing them and actively protecting your most sensitive data.
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The 5 Most Common Network Vulnerabilities to Know for 2023
To help better protect your network devices from a security breach, here are the 5 biggest, most common cyber threats and vulnerabilities plaguing the US business landscape today.
1. Lack of Unified End-Point Device Security
Put simply, if your employees are able to access company information via their mobile devices or personal computers, and they aren’t all monitored by your dedicated IT department, that’s a huge network vulnerability.
With more and more workers going fully remote, many employees access company data from home, often without any kind of VPN service, or company-imposed security measures in place like:
- Antivirus Software
- Antimalware Software
- Network Monitoring
It means that each device connected to the company network is an unsecured gateway just waiting for a hacker to exploit with the click of a mouse button.
The best way to solve cyber vulnerabilities like this is to either:
- Issue company devices that are all managed, monitored and configured by your IT department or managed service provider, or
- Block any device attempting to access the network unless it has the prescribed VPN, firewall connection or antivirus software properly installed.
2. Weak Passwords
Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest, most damaging information security vulnerabilities in the world!
Many people unfamiliar with the world of cyber security tend to believe that the majority of cyber attacks are performed using complicated algorithms and high-intensity code breaking requiring a large degree of tech knowledge. But, no.
The truth is most cyber attacks on small businesses (especially) occur from compromised credentials. I.e. someone just guessed one employee’s password, and it grants them access to the entire network.
The best defense against these types of network security threats is:
- Having a strong password policy
- Insisting on having passwords changed every few months
- Implementing multi-factor authentication on all accounts
- Using an IT Department-managed password manager system
3. Unsecured Wifi
Whenever one of your employees connects their mobile device to a public, unsecured WiFi network (and they don’t have any kind of security protection) that’s a major network security vulnerability.
It essentially means that (for a hacker) no password is required to access your company’s network. If they’re on the same unsecured WiFi network (which is beyond easy) then they can quite simply crack into your employee’s device and begin raiding your sensitive data for little nuggets of informational gold.
Sadly, these types of attacks in network security are all too common and can result in damages in the millions.
The most effective way to defend against these types of network vulnerabilities is to, once again, manage company VPNs and end-point device security.
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4. Social Engineering
In any system, no matter how simple or complex, the weakest element is almost always the human element.
This is something cyber criminals are all too aware of, and also something that no amount of penetration tests or security sweeps of operating systems can prevent.
There are 3 primary ways hackers take advantage of social engineering in order to perpetrate a cyber attack:
- Email Phishing Scams
- These are scams where attacker emails an employee pretending to be their boss, asking for their login info, or to use their personal credit card for a purchase
- Compromised USB Storage Devices
- Sometimes, a hacker will ‘gift’ an employee with a USB drive appearing to be from a reputable source. But, once your team member plugs it into a company computer, the hacker has full access to your network
- Stolen Devices
- Some hackers choose to cut out the middle man, so to speak, and simply swipe an actual device. They break into it, then proceed to steal all the data or financial info they can find.
- Email Phishing Scams
The best way to prevent these types of attacks in network security is to train your employees in cyber security awareness. Many MSPs offer this service (including Executech) as part of their normal offering.
5. Old/Legacy Software
It could be a software platform you’ve been using since day one and are just too familiar with it to upgrade. Or it could be software you don’t use anymore but neglected to remove from your network properly.
Whatever the case may be, both instances are network security vulnerabilities because hackers have access to technology that can cut through your old tech like a hot knife through soft cheese.
The number one way to close this cyber vulnerability is to properly remove any outdated software, either with the help of your IT department or with your managed service provider.
Closing Your Network Security Vulnerabilities with Qualified Security Experts
Finding and closing ALL of your network security vulnerabilities is no small feat.
It requires nothing less than years of IT industry experience and substantial resources to carry out the operation.
Thankfully, at Executech we have all the required knowledge and more to ensure your business’s sensitive data is as protected as possible.
If you’re concerned about the state of your network security or have recently suffered a data breach, please contact us to request a free consultation—and we can determine your specific business IT needs together.