Vulnerabilities are flaws in software, firmware, or hardware that can be exploited by an attacker to perform unauthorized actions in a system. They can be caused by software programming errors. Attackers take advantage of these errors to infect computers with malware or perform other malicious activity.

Common types of cybersecurity vulnerabilities

When building a vulnerability management program, there are several key cybersecurity vulnerabilities that you must be aware of. Below are six of the most common types of cybersecurity vulnerabilities:

System misconfigurations

System misconfigurations occur as a result of network assets having vulnerable settings or disparate security controls. A common tactic cybercriminals use is to probe networks for system misconfigurations and gaps that can be exploited. As more organizations adopt digital solutions, the likelihood of network misconfigurations grows, so it is important to work with experienced security professionals when implementing new technologies.

Out of date or unpatched software

Unpatched vulnerabilities can be exploited by cyber-criminals to carry out attacks and steal valuable data. Similar to system misconfigurations, cyber adversaries will probe networks looking for unpatched systems they can compromise. To limit this risk, It is important to establish a patch management schedule so that all new system patches are implemented as soon as they are released.

Missing or weak authorization credentials

A common tactic attackers employ is to brute force their way into a network by guessing employee credentials. It is important to educate employees on cybersecurity best practices so that their login information cannot be easily exploited to gain access to a network.

Malicious insider threats

Whether unknowingly or with malicious intent, employees who have access to critical systems can share information that allows cyber-criminals to breach a network. Insider threats can be difficult to track since all actions taken by employees will appear legitimate and therefore raise little to no red flags. To help combat these threats, consider investing in network access control solutions, and segment your network based on employee seniority and expertise.

Missing or poor data encryption

Networks with missing or poor encryption allow attackers to intercept communication between systems, leading to a breach. When poorly or unencrypted information is interrupted, cyber adversaries are able to extract critical information and inject false information onto a server. This can undermine an organization’s cybersecurity compliance efforts and lead to substantial fines from regulatory bodies.

Zero-day vulnerabilities

Zero-day threats are specific software vulnerabilities that are known to the attacker but have not yet been identified by an organization. This means that there is no available fix since the vulnerability has not yet been reported to the system vendor. These are extremely dangerous as there is no way to defend against them until after the attack has been carried out. It is important to remain diligent and continuously monitor your systems for vulnerabilities in order to limit the likelihood of a zero-day attack.