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What is a cyber security vulnerability and why it is a big problem?

What is a cyber security vulnerability and why it is a big problem?

Portia Linao Portia Linao
March 14, 2022, Post a comment

We've learned time and time again that there is no perfect cyber security solution.

We've seen many businesses get breached even with cyber security in place. And most of them were because of a vulnerability in their security that wasn’t detected and fixed early on.

Businesses have the impression that once they have cyber security in place, they’re safe from all types of threats. This misconception is already a cyber security vulnerability that one should address immediately.

Cyber security is essential for business continuity. In an era where almost everything is digital, data safety and security is critical for maintaining business operations and customer trust. But every year, more and more cyber threats are emerging, just waiting for the right time to attack any of your vulnerabilities.

Businesses usually only worry about their cyber security once something goes wrong. Something critical should never be treated as a last resort. Given more cyberattacks are happening to Australian businesses every year, it should be your duty as a decision-maker to ensure that cyber security vulnerabilities are recognised and fixed at once when detected. Because if you don’t repair those vulnerabilities right away, attackers will find them and target your business.

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What is a cyber security vulnerability?

A cyber security vulnerability is what one considers a flaw in an organisation’s IT and operational system. The existence of these vulnerabilities gives hackers the chance to infiltrate unsuspecting businesses to extract confidential data.

Your data is only protected when you make the effort of protecting it.

Look at it like this.

You’re closing your business establishment for the day. You make sure everything is safe, and you lock the front and back doors to secure the place from any intruders.

Cyber security works the same.

You put up features like firewalls and anti-virus to prevent cybercriminals from infiltrating your system and stealing valuable data. The key is to leave as few vulnerabilities in your IT security as possible to reduce the risk of a breach.

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Why are cyber security vulnerabilities a big problem?

Data is the most valuable asset for any business in the 21st century.

Cyber security plays a significant part in protecting those assets and maintaining business operations. But those valuable assets don’t just stop with secret business strategies and sales profits.

It also encompasses customer and employee data.

To fully protect these valuable assets, you need to take a proactive approach to cyber security by:

  • understanding vulnerabilities
  • assessing hacking methods
  • patching vulnerabilities ASAP

If these hackers can bypass your system through a cyber security vulnerability, expect several extensive effects that vary from reputation damage to business closure.

The key to spotting exploitable cyber security vulnerabilities is to find gaps within your system.

Constantly monitoring and managing your overall security posture will avert full-scale cyberattacks against your business.

Take note that not all vulnerabilities are exploitable. Hackers want to target weaknesses. Once they find a cyber security loophole, they want to ensure it’s a weakness they can exploit.

.All in all, it’s alright to have one vulnerability or two as long as they don’t pose any serious risk. What you should be more worried about is having exploitable vulnerabilities. Having reliable security protocols will help you find these cyber vulnerabilities early and prevent them from getting exploited.

Common types of vulnerability in cyber security

1. Weak/Stolen User Logins

Weak and/or Stolen user logins are a fairly common type of cyber security vulnerability. We’ve seen too many cases of users recycling or using predictable passwords on their accounts. Although reusing or using easy-to-remember passwords brings a sense of convenience, it puts you at great risk to cyber criminals just waiting for the right moment to strike.

Cybercriminals have many ways to obtain your login credentials. One of those is by purchasing company credentials on the dark web. And once they have it, they can launch brute force attacks to enter your system and wreak havoc.

To address this type of cyber security vulnerability, we strongly advise our clients to enforce a password policy along with MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) implementation. To know more about creating unique and strong passwords for each of your accounts, go here.

2. Outdated Software

No application if perfect. That’s why software vendors release updates from time to time not only to add new features but also patch the ongoing security vulnerabilities they have. It’s extremely important that you are on top of these software updates to prevent cyber criminals from exploiting any weaknesses you may have.

It is your responsibility to patch your networks, applications, and other possible endpoints you may have. And we know how easy it is to fall behind with this key task considering all the other security procedures you will have to consider. So to prevent that, you can implement a process within your organisation that concerns software updates and patching. You also have the option to automate all updates once they’re available to make sure you’re up-to-date and secured with everything.

3. Configuration Errors

As much as we don’t like it, manual configurations require the necessary skills and knowledge to be done the right way. Because it only takes one misstep to fill the entire process with errors which would only end up taking more time to fix.

Aside from stolen logins and unpatched applications, there are also many reports of data breaches caused by misconfiguration. A simple web crawler is all what a cybercriminal need to breach your system. Once they discover your weakness, everything ends from there.

So, to prevent this type of cyber security vulnerability, partner up with a trusted MSP or IT expert that has the skills to configure your system in the best way possible. You can also choose to automate the configuration process altogether to reduce possible risks in your IT environment like human error.

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How to find cyber security vulnerabilities?

Preventing cyber security breaches is always a better option than recovering from them. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the luxury to monitor cyber security vulnerabilities (especially if they have a set-and-forget security solution).

So, to help you improve your cyber security, we laid out some tips to help you find any security vulnerabilities in your IT:

Define your goals

Like any other IT solution, your task of finding cyber security vulnerabilities should have a set of clearly defined goals. The purpose of this is so you can focus on each small detail and prevent anything to slip from your watchful eye.

Run multiple audits on one part of your system at a time. We normally do this to our clients rather than the usual single audit of the entire system which can leave many portions unchecked.

Check your assets

Having a precise and up-to-date inventory of your assets will give you an advantage in finding security vulnerabilities within your network. This process should include hardware and software, such as the operating system you use and the applications you run.

Constantly checking your assets will help you keep track of legacy software or obsolete hardware that contains bugs and may pose risks to your cyber security.

Find leaks with ethical hacking

Ethical hacking or penetration testing is the process used by cyber security professionals to fix gaps within your system. They do this by finding vulnerabilities that may be exploited and creating solutions to patch the potential issue. This process will help you determine how capable your security is and how well-prepared you are in case of an attack.

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How Office Solutions IT can help

Office Solutions IT aims to strengthen Australian businesses by providing proactive cyber security solutions. We strive to bring business continuity with cyber security, data backup and retention, data privacy, and more. Of course, scanning cyber security vulnerabilities are.

We treat your data as if it's our own. That’s why we only let dedicated experts handle your IT, so you can peacefully work on your business knowing you are safe from malicious attacks.

Talk to us today to learn more about our cyber security services.

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