Network Security Threats to Government and Commercial Entities


Network Security Threats

Network security threats have continuously been an area of tremendous focus for governments and commercial entities. No matter the form your institution takes, network attacks can cripple your organization in its tracks.

In October of 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency put out over 30 cyber alerts across several industries and government institutions.

Currently, there are many network security threats that governments and commercial entities face and must be aware of. Therefore, these entities must know and use cybersecurity best practices, frameworks and  information security compliance with regulations to ensure continuous protection for your systems, data, and software.

What Are Network Security Risks?

Network vulnerabilities and risks are known flaws in software, hardware, and other organizational systems, think people-process-technology, that attackers can exploit to breach your network. Some vulnerabilities on your network can lead to a severe security breach. The extensive accessibility and use of the internet presents different kinds of risks and network threats. The most common one being the Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

In all cases, it is always best to identify, reduce and manage network security risks rather than act after an attack.

Network Security Threats to Governments and Commercial Entities

Distributed Denial-of-Service

DDoS is another common network threat most government/public sector entities face. It is an attempt to make online services unavailable by flooding the service with traffic from different sources. DDoS attacks usually target news, banks, and other important websites that polish and have access to vital information.

A DDoS attack denies you access to your company’s data. This can be very disastrous, especially for government and business entities that sell products and services online.

Web application firewalls are an excellent tool for defending your networks from DDoS attacks. Conducting a comprehensive NIST Cybersecurity Framework Assessment should also help you identify and address any network vulnerabilities that might make you prone to DDoS attacks.

1. Viruses and Worms

Viruses are the most common threats everyday internet users face, with 10.5 billion malware attacks reported between 2015 and 2019. Approximately 33% of computers are affected by malware, most being viruses.

A computer virus attack on your network can bring about irreparable damage to your system. This concern is even more prevalent now, with over 59% of the world’s population being active internet users. This amounts to over 4.57 billion active internet users worldwide, all of whom can be exposed to virus threats.

While some viruses may look practically harmless others, like Klez, have stolen millions of confidential emails from government and commercial entities, which spreads across the internet. Such viruses cause millions of dollars in damages and often are likely due to the absence of basic cybersecurity practices like anti-virus and anti-malware solutions.

2. Botnets

Botnets are also considered one of the biggest threats to network systems. These are powerful networks of compromised machines that can be controlled remotely and used to launch network attacks.

Botnets trigger several “zombie” computers to carry out network attacks, such as the meticulous DDoS mentioned above. These attacks often overwhelm the victim and force them to pay a ransom to regain control of their networks.

3. Ransomware

This is one of the most dreaded network attacks among all cyber threats. The attackers use ransomware to infect your database and encrypt vital data. They then demand a ransom or threaten to delete the files they have stolen if the ransom isn’t paid. Many government institutions and large corporations have lost millions of data due to this network attack.

Maintaining a backup of your data and implementing appropriate cybersecurity controls commensurate with your organization’s size and complexity is an excellent strategy to maintain system integrity and availability.

Reason for the Prevailing Network Security Threats

As technology continues to evolve, so do network security risks, which become even more sophisticated with time. Additionally, the one constant we know is change and over time there will be changes to the people, process and technology mentioned earlier. These changes come with their respective risks. As a government or business entity, it is very easy to lose sight of the importance of cybersecurity as other business or operational initiatives compete for limited human and economic resources.

Often, you hardly realize the seriousness of the situation until it is too late. This lack of focus and education on network security threats can cause irreparable damage to your government or business. The good news is that these threats can be managed, and your risk exposure reduced!

Contact SCA to Learn More About Network Security Risks

Security Compliance Associates has the technical expertise and tools to help you evaluate, identify, and investigate any vulnerabilities attackers might use to compromise your network security.

Our Breach Notification Guide will also provide you with a detailed overview of the breach notification laws and requirements in your state to help you better respond to such an event.

Call us on 727-571-1141 today for more information on network security threats and how to address them.