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What are the Top Cybersecurity Threats?

Earlier this year, a massive cyberattack impacted millions of Microsoft users around the globe, including nine government agencies and 60,000 private companies in the United States.

In another 2021 attack, a cybercriminal attempted to poison the water supply in Florida by hacking into the utility’s computer system and briefly increasing the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million.

The two attacks mentioned above are not isolated incidents. Cyberattacks have steadily increased in frequency during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the best defenses in preventing cyberattacks is learning what they are and how they occur.

What are the top cybersecurity threats?


Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is when cybercriminals fish for information by tricking individuals into opening malicious email links or attachments. Malware could possibly be installed when the user “takes the bait” and clicks on the link or opens the attachment.

Ransomware and malware

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to companies that store a large amount of data. A type of malware, ransomware encrypts files on any device. After a while the files on the infected device are unusable and the cybercriminal seeks ransom to unlock the data. Not only are these attacks costly, but they are also harmful to the company’s reputation.

Denial of service attack

Cybercriminals send out massive amounts of traffic to a website, email, or any online subscription service so that the site is no longer accessible by actual users.

Man in the middle attack

A man-in-the-middle attack occurs when a criminal disrupts communication between their victim and a reputable source. One example is when a cybercriminal sends an email that appears to be from a bank or employer requesting information.

The best defense

The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” applies to defending your company from malicious cyber activity. Below are a few suggestions on how to prevent a cyberattack:

  1. Education and awareness. Continued employee awareness about the types of and methods used to execute an attack is key to prevention.
  2. Keep systems updated. It is important to keep all software and hardware up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates. Failing to do so may result in a weak security infrastructure that leads to cyberattacks.
  3. Enable multi-factor authentication across the organization’s network.
  4. Carry out regular testing to detect vulnerabilities in the organization’s IT infrastructure.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding cybersecurity threats. For more information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

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