The 5 Most Common Security Threats (and How to Avoid Them)

The 5 Most Common Security Threats (and How to Avoid Them)

Modern cyber criminals are smarter and more innovative than ever – leaving many businesses vulnerable to various forms of attack. With the vast variety of breaches that are now possible, staying secure is a bigger and more urgent challenge than ever. The first step toward staying protected from cyber attacks is to know what the most common threats are. These are the five most common security threats that your business needs to be wary of:


Malware most often makes its way into a business’s system when an unknowing user gets tricked into downloading it. Hackers either send emails with infected attachments or plant malware on a website. A user that visits the site will be prompted to download the software in order for the site to load properly, thus infecting the system. 

To minimize the risk of malware entering your system, there are a few things you can do: 

  • Avoid downloading files from sources you don’t know or trust.
  • Verify that filenames look legitimate. Malware is often saved under a name with minor spelling or wording errors that wouldn’t be noticed at a glance. 
  • Beware of adult websites and dubious video streaming sites that are often sources of malware. 
  • Never install a file without scanning it for viruses. 

Modifications to Your Operating System (OS) Settings

Users that are logged in as admins: beware of hackers accessing using your credentials! Admin rights allow you to change settings, manage other accounts, and install programs. If a cyber criminal accesses a device with admin rights, they’ll be able to install malware, take control of the device, or even take over your entire network.

Businesses can avoid this problem by limiting the admin role to users whose jobs require that broad level of access. All devices should have security software installed that is updated regularly. 

Access to a Physical Device

While most businesses worry about security threats that attack IT infrastructure from the outside, cyber criminals can also introduce malware or steal data by simply accessing a system through a physical device. 

An employee might walk away from his or her computer for a break and leave the device unlocked. Someone could easily use a USB drive to physically infect the system with malware or simply reset the password so that the intended user loses access. 

The easiest way to prevent this problem is to require employees to set up access control passwords on their devices. Employees need to log off, lock, or shut down their devices when they step away. Unused CD or DVD drives or USB ports can be disabled if they’re not used – limiting physical access. 

An Attack Comes From the Inside

Hell hath no fury like a disgruntled employee. Someone on the inside who still has access can easily delete data or even introduce malware into your system. 

The solution to this type of attack (aside from focusing on employee satisfaction initiatives) is to limit access to your systems. Take the time to examine the access rights of your employees and remove any that are unnecessary for someone to do their job. 

Password Compromise

Weak passwords are a big problem for organizations without strong security policies or employee training. Untrained employees may use weak passwords that are easy to crack or, they may create even broader vulnerability by utilizing the same password across multiple accounts. 

Employees need to be trained in good password hygiene. Strong passwords should be used and they should be changed regularly. Other, more layered security practices such as dual-factor and multi-factor authentication are also effective ways to prevent hackers from accessing devices and systems. 

If you have concerns about cyber security, the experts at Xceptional can help. Our XceptionalCare Security program gives you the support and tools you need to stay protected from today’s savvy cyber criminals. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to common security threats. Contact us today and keep your data, network, and systems protected.

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