The Top 10 Most Common Types of Cybersecurity Threats to Small Businesses & Startups in 2024

By David D | Last Upload on February 23rd, 2022 | Home Cybersecurity 10 Common Types of Security Threats to Organizations

Cyber criminals know that large organizations can be easy targets for common security attacks. Modern day hackers are committed to gaining access to weak information security systems. Efforts to make online platforms more secure are growing, but a variety of information security concerns threaten many organization’s business continuity.

According to Forbes, “insider threats” were one of the most common types of security threats to organizations in recent years. Because of this, there is no way to guarantee that a company is free of cyber risks or immune from attacks.


The United States recently announced federal mandates and initiatives to improve the nation’s Cybersecurity infrastructure, and defend against Information Security threats.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order that directs all orders a collaboration of private companies, academic resources, and federal government agencies to enhance and streamline the nation’s efforts to enhance software supply chain security. This means that multi-national enterprises and small businesses will need to quickly evaluate, adapt and address their computer security.

Types of Security Threats to Organizations

Organizations face a wide range of security risks, including those outlined below:

Computer Viruses

Most people would consider “phishing” as the number one Information Security concern, but computer viruses have a remained a simple and catastrophic attack method used by malicious actors.

Computer viruses are simple programs or scripts that can be attached or downloaded through a wide variety of methods including files downloaded from the internet, spam emails, excel files, and even JPG images. This means that even downloading the latest selfie shared from grandma’s vacation to Cancun can put your entire organization at risk.

Similar to human viruses, computer viruses can vary in the way they attack. They can even be software programs that transfer and escalate from one computer to another without the user’s awareness and assaults. These viruses can cause files to be deleted or corrupted, and can even format hard drives.

1. How Does A Computer Virus Attack?

A virus may propagate or attack in a variety of ways, including:

– Opening a malicious executable file

– Downloading and installing free software and programs

– Visiting an infected and insecure website

– Clicking on advertisements

– Using infected external storage devices, such as USB drives

– Downloading free games, toolbars, media players, and other applications.

– Opening suspicious links or emails

Did you know viruses can even attach to or disguise themselves as Image (JPG) files?


2. Trojan Horse

To get into an organization’s computer system, hackers make malicious software that looks legitimate. This way, they can get into the computer system. An attack on your data or network has been built into it and is meant to do so.

How does Trojans horse attack?

The victim gets an email with an attached file that seems to be an official email from the sender. When the victim clicks on the attached file, it may include malicious code that immediately runs.

In this situation, the victim has no idea or doesn’t realize that the attachment is a Trojan horse.


Adware is a kind of software that displays commercial and marketing-related adverts on your computer screens, such as pop-up windows or bars, banner ads, and video commercials.

Its primary objective is to profit its creator (Adware) by displaying various forms of adverts to internet users.

How does adware attack?

This sort of advertising redirects you to an advertising website that collects your personal information when you click on it.

As a result, it may also be used to steal all of your personal information and passwords by monitoring and selling information about your internet actions to other parties.

Small businesses are especially prone to this type of threat vector since they do not have proper Acceptable Use Policies into place.


When Spyware is placed on a user’s computer, it gathers sensitive information such as personal or business information or login passwords and credit card numbers without the user being aware.

They monitor your online activities, tracing your login credentials, and spy on your private data.

Using antivirus software, a firewall, and only downloading software from reputable sites are steps that any business or person should take to protect themselves against Spyware.

How does Spyware install?

There are various ways malware may be installed on a computer, either as an autonomous component of a piece of software or as classic malware such as false adverts, email and instant messaging.


Malicious software is a “computer worm” that moves via a network and replicates itself from one device to another inside an organization.

How does a worm spread?

It’s self-propagating and may take advantage of software security flaws to steal sensitive data, corrupt files, and provide remote attackers back door to the system.


Stuxnet, was computer worm that was specifically developed to take over programmable industrial control systems and cause the equipment run by those systems to go down, and report false data to the tech monitors indicating the equipment to running like normal.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks

A denial-of-service attack prevents users from accessing a system or network by shutting it down or blocking access. It floods a targeted system with requests until it becomes unresponsive to prevent regular traffic from being handled.

How does DoS attack?

– It happens when a hacker prohibits legitimate users from accessing specific computer systems, devices, or other resources.

– The attacker delivers an excessive amount of data to the target server.

– Overburdening the server with traffic, resulting in the downtime of websites, email servers, and other Internet-connected services.


Social engineering attacks, such as phishing, steal personal information such as usernames, passwords and credit card numbers.

How does Phishing attack?

– In a phishing email attack, an attacker sends phishing emails to the victim’s email address that seem to be from their bank, asking them to disclose personal information.

– The letter includes a link that will take you to another insecure website where your personal information will be stolen.

As a result, it is best to avoid or not click or read such emails and not to submit critical information.

SQL Injection

When an attacker gains access to the backend database, they may alter or remove data. SQL injection is one of the most popular types of injection attacks.

How does SQL injection attack?

To get access to a company’s database, an attacker might inject dangerous SQL instructions in an application’s SQL statements that are not properly sanitized. Through web page input, the assailant inserts malicious code into SQL queries.


There are harmful programmes known as rootkits that install malicious code on computers and networks without the agreement of their owners, granting them administrative privileges on such systems.

For example, Bootkits, Kernel-Level Rootkits, Firmware Rootkits and Application Rootkits to choose from.

How does Rootkit install?

A computer might get infected with the virus by exchanging infected discs or devices. Typically, it is installed through a stolen password or by exploiting system vulnerabilities, social engineering methods, and phishing techniques without the victim’s awareness.

Rootkit Hunter is a specially developed software to detect and report suspicious activity commonly used by rootkits.


“malware” refers to computer program or codes that computer hackers have created. An organization’s computer systems may be harmed, or a computer can be accessed without permission by cyber security risks.

How does malware attack?

– Malware may infect a system in a variety of methods. For example, it might be transmitted by email as a link or file, requiring the user to click on the link or open the file to run the malware. 

– Computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and Spyware are examples of this form of assault.



Ransomware is a security threat that prevents users from accessing their computers and demands payment in bitcoin. WannaCry, Petya, Cerber, Locky, and CryptoLocker are the most dangerous ransomware outbreaks.

How does Ransomware install?

Threats of various kinds are often implanted in a computer system in the following ways:

– When you open a fraudulent email attachment after downloading it

– Download and install malicious software or program

– When a consumer visits a website that is harmful or susceptible

– Do not click on any untrustworthy online links or graphics.

Data Breaches

A data breach occurs when unauthorized access to a system results in disclosing secret or protected information.

Credit card numbers, client information, trade secrets, and the like may be included in the data.

Zero-day attack

In computer security, a “zero-day attack” refers to a vulnerability in a computer programme or application that has not yet been discovered. When a business is ready to launch an application, they don’t know what vulnerabilities exist.

How does a Zero-day attack?

– Due to a lack of a patch release, the program developers were either ignorant of or did not have time to resolve this vulnerability.

– Unless the developer fixes the vulnerability, it might harm computer programs, data, or even a network.

Careless Employees in

the Business

Employees provide the most significant security risk to any company because they know everything about it, including where sensitive data is kept and how to access it. In addition to malicious assaults, careless staff are various forms of cyber security hazards to businesses.

How does it attack?

They use basic passwords to keep track of their credentials, and they often exchange passwords with one another. Another typical concern is that workers read questionable email attachments, click on the link, or visit malicious websites, bringing malware into the system.



Finally, in the cyber world, various security concerns might harm an organization’s ability to grow or enhance its image.. Organizational security risks have been examined, as have the methods used to attack or install them on a system. I really hope this information has been beneficial to you! If you would like to learn more about how you can secure your companies online security, check out our other cybersecurity resources.

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