Understanding the Components and Evolution of Cybersecurity Threats

cybersecurity threats

The Various Facets of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is an extensive area that spans numerous disciplines. We can categorize it into seven primary components:

Network Security

The majority of cyber attacks transpire over the network. ITech Plus’s network security solutions are designed to detect and fend off these attacks. These solutions incorporate data and access controls like Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Identity Access Management (IAM), Network Access Control (NAC), and Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) application controls to enforce safe internet usage policies.

Advanced network threat prevention technologies using a layered approach comprise Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), Next-Gen Antivirus (NGAV), Sandboxing, and Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR). Network analytics, threat hunting, and automated Security Orchestration and Response (SOAR) technologies are also vital components.

Cloud Security

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud computing, ensuring cloud security becomes a top priority. A comprehensive cloud security strategy encompasses cybersecurity solutions, controls, policies, and services that aid in protecting an organization’s entire cloud deployment against attacks.

While many cloud providers offer security solutions, these often fall short of providing enterprise-level security. Supplementary third-party solutions are required to safeguard against data breaches and targeted attacks in cloud environments.

Endpoint Security

The zero-trust security model recommends creating micro-segments around data, regardless of its location. This can be achieved using endpoint security, especially with a mobile workforce. By leveraging endpoint security, companies can secure end-user devices like desktops and laptops with data and network security controls, advanced threat prevention mechanisms like anti-phishing and anti-ransomware, and technologies that offer forensics, such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions.

Mobile Security

The Mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, often gain access to corporate data, posing threats to businesses through malicious apps, zero-day, phishing, and instant messaging attacks. Mobile security thwarts these attacks and secures the operating systems and devices against rooting and jailbreaking. Combined with a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, it allows enterprises to ensure only compliant mobile devices access corporate assets.

IoT Security

The use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, while beneficial in terms of productivity, exposes organizations to new cyber threats. Threat actors aim to exploit vulnerable devices connected unknowingly to the internet for malicious activities.

IoT security protects these devices through the discovery and classification of connected devices, auto-segmentation to regulate network activities, and using IPS as a virtual patch to prevent exploits against susceptible IoT devices. In some instances, the device’s firmware can also be augmented with small agents to thwart exploits and runtime attacks.

Application Security

Web applications, like other things directly connected to the internet, are targets for threat actors. The OWASP has, since 2007, tracked the top 10 threats to critical web application security flaws like injection, broken authentication, misconfiguration, and cross-site scripting, to name a few.

Application security can halt the OWASP Top 10 attacks. It also prevents bot attacks and stops any malicious interaction with applications and APIs. Continuous learning ensures that apps remain protected even as DevOps releases new content.

Zero Trust

The traditional security model focuses on the perimeter, building walls around an organization’s valuable assets. However, this approach has limitations such as the potential for insider threats and the rapid dissolution of the network perimeter.

As corporate assets move off-premises due to cloud adoption and remote work, a new security approach is required. Zero trust offers a more granular security approach, protecting individual resources through a combination of micro-segmentation, monitoring, and the enforcement of role-based access controls.

The Evolution of the Cyber Security Threat Landscape
Today’s cyber threats are not the same as they were a few years ago. As the cyber threat landscape shifts, organizations require protection against the current and future tools and strategies of cybercriminals.

Gen V Attacks

The cybersecurity threat landscape is continuously evolving. Occasionally, these developments represent a new generation of cyber threats. To date, five generations of cyber threats and solutions designed to mitigate them have been experienced, including:

1-Gen I (Virus): In the late 1980s, virus attacks against standalone computers inspired the creation of the first antivirus solutions.
2-Gen II (Network): With the onset of internet-based cyberattacks, the firewall was developed to detect and block them.
3-Gen III (Applications): The exploitation of vulnerabilities within applications led to the widespread adoption of intrusion prevention systems (IPS).
4-Gen IV (Payload): As malware became more targeted and could evade signature-based defenses, anti-bot and sandboxing solutions were essential for detecting novel threats.
5-Gen V (Mega): The most recent generation of cyber threats employs large-scale, multi-vector attacks, prioritizing advanced threat prevention solutions.
Each generation of cyber threats rendered previous cybersecurity solutions less effective or essentially obsolete. Defending against the modern cyber threat landscape demands Gen V cybersecurity solutions.

Supply Chain Attacks

Historically, many organizations’ security efforts have centered around their applications and systems. By fortifying the perimeter and only allowing access to authorized users and applications, they attempt to deter cyber threat actors from infiltrating their networks.

However, a recent increase in supply chain attacks has exposed the limitations of this approach, demonstrating cybercriminals’ ability and willingness to exploit these vulnerabilities. Events like the SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Kaseya hacks showcased how trust relationships with other organizations can be a weak link in a corporate cybersecurity strategy. By exploiting one organization and leveraging these trust relationships, a cyber threat actor can gain access to all of their customer networks.

Defending against supply chain attacks necessitates a zero-trust approach to security. While partnerships and vendor relationships are beneficial for business, third-party users and software should have limited access, restricted to only what is necessary to fulfill their roles and should be under continuous monitoring.


While ransomware has been around for decades, it only emerged as the dominant form of malware in the last few years. The WannaCry ransomware outbreak demonstrated the feasibility and profitability of ransomware attacks, triggering a sudden increase in ransomware campaigns.

Since then, the ransomware model has drastically evolved. Whereas ransomware used to encrypt files only, it now also steals data to extort the victim and their customers in double and triple extortion attacks. Some ransomware groups also threaten or use Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to incentivize victims to meet ransom demands.

The growth of ransomware has also been facilitated by the emergence of the Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) model. In this model, ransomware developers provide their malware to “affiliates” to distribute in exchange for a share of the ransom. With RaaS, many cybercrime groups gain access to advanced malware, making sophisticated attacks more prevalent. As a result, ransomware protection has become a vital part of the enterprise cybersecurity strategy.


Phishing attacks have long been the most common and effective means by which cybercriminals gain access to corporate environments. It is often much easier to trick a user into clicking a link or opening an attachment than it is to identify and exploit a vulnerability within an organization’s defenses.

In recent years, phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. While the original phishing scams were relatively easy to detect, modern attacks are so convincing and sophisticated that they can be virtually indistinguishable from legitimate emails.

Employee cybersecurity awareness training is not enough to protect against modern phishing threats. Managing the risk of phishing necessitates cybersecurity solutions that identify and block malicious emails before they reach

  1. Network security
  2. Cloud security
  3. Endpoint security
  4. Mobile security
  5. IoT security
  6. Application security
  7. Zero trust security

With its comprehensive security solutions, ITech Plus can offer seamless and efficient protection, simplifying the management of an organization’s security and freeing its teams to focus on its core business.

If you would like to learn more about how ITech Plus can support your organization’s security needs, contact us today.