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5 common network security risks (and how to stop them)

When you think of network security risks, what comes to mind? Viruses, worms, and Trojans may be obvious concerns. However, there are many common network security risks that enterprises often overlook until it is too late. These hidden dangers can have just as much of an impact on your company’s security as cybercriminals or a malware infection.

Unpatched vulnerabilities in software could leave the network open to attack, or your network may be maliciously overloaded with requests, causing it to crash.

Reading through this list may seem like a lot of bad news, but identifying these risks early on will help you avoid them later on and keep your business safe from potential threats.

What is network security?

Network security is the process of protecting your company’s computer network and information systems from attack. It includes a wide variety of different activities, from setting up firewalls to configuring antivirus software on every device on your network.

Network security also involves managing access to certain parts of your network and certain pieces of information. This means controlling who has access to sensitive data and how that data is accessed so that only authorised users can see it.

Monitoring the accuracy, availability, and integrity of your computer systems to make sure they’re functioning correctly will also help you detect and respond to any network security incidents.


Malware is short for malicious software. It is a type of software that can cause harm to your computer, such as slowing it down or causing it to crash. Malicious software can take many forms: viruses, worms, Trojans, and ransomware are just a few examples. Ransomware attacks are a particularly significant threat, having more than doubled among UK businesses since 2020.

These types of software infect your computer by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system, browser, or application. Once an infection happens, it spreads from device to device by using email or other means.

One of the simplest ways to protect yourself against malicious software is to always use a reputable antivirus program. In addition, make sure that you regularly update all your software, including any antivirus programs, so that you are always protected against the latest threats.

Finally, be careful when giving out personal information online – especially if someone asks you to login to their site or to enter your credit card information.

Software vulnerabilities

Errors in software code can leave systems open to attack. When someone discovers a vulnerability in software, it becomes a security risk. What does this mean for you? You may not be aware that it exists and you may not know how to fix it.

Once vulnerabilities are discovered, malicious users may use them to access your systems, putting your data at risk. Vulnerabilities often remain undiscovered for a long time because they’re difficult to find. This is why it is important to keep your network security software up-to-date.

It’s important to keep track of which software is on your network and when it was last updated. You can use software inventory tools to track this information and make sure you’re not putting your network at risk.

Another way to ensure software protection is to hire a third-party security expert who can conduct penetration tests and uncover weaknesses before they become problems.

Insecure networks

One of the most common cyber security risks is an insecure network environment. This means that your network is either not configured correctly or not managed properly. An insecure network environment can leave you exposed to data theft and unauthorised access.

Network security tools like firewalls will help prevent some of these risks, but an improperly configured network will leave you even more exposed. Poor network configuration can also impact the performance of your network and the productivity of your employees.

Enforcing compliance rules and security best practices among your employees will lower your network risks, as well as implementing secure web application firewalls, creating strong passwords, and monitoring your network for unusual activity.

Phishing attacks

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where malicious users try to trick you into giving them sensitive information or taking an action that puts your data at risk. You may receive emails or messages on social media from people who appear trustworthy. They may try to convince you to visit a malicious website or give them your login credentials. In the last 12 months, phishing attacks have been the most common threat vector against UK businesses.

Reduce the risk of phishing attacks by taking steps to protect your accounts and training your staff on how to spot suspicious activity. Avoid clicking links in emails, use multi-factor verification, and ensure your staff are aware of the latest scams and threats.

DDOS attacks

A distributed denial-of-service attack (DDOS) is when a malicious user or botnet floods your network or website with requests. This can overload your systems and make them inaccessible for legitimate users.

Even though a DDOS attack may affect your entire network, it’s often focused on a particular device or server. This makes it hard to defend against. It also means that it’s possible for the attack to disrupt other parts of your network even if they aren’t targeted.

You can protect your network against DDOS attacks by monitoring your network and systems for abnormal activity. Using a network security tool with built-in DDOS protection can also help you detect potential DDOS attacks and shut down traffic coming from malicious IP addresses.

Protect your network with help from the experts

Your network security is your company’s first line of defence against cyber threats. From viruses and worms to malware and phishing, the threats we face on a daily basis are only getting more sophisticated, and the consequences for businesses that don’t take the necessary precautions can be severe.

The network security specialists at NetworkIQ have all the resources, tools, and expertise to implement the security solutions your business needs to defend against attacks. Talk to them today.

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