10 Common Types of Computer Security Threats


Your computer is likely an important piece of equipment in your life. Much of what we do is digital – whether it be social, leisure, or work. And many of the behind-the-scenes moments of our life are also digital. The ticket you bought at the zoo, the advertisement you saw on the street. Computers hold such a large spot in our lives, we would probably be lost without them.

This is why it is so important to understand the threats that can come knocking at your digital door at any moment. Here are the ten most common types of computer security threats:

1. Computer virus

Pretty much everyone is familiar with this common type of computer security threat, but they may not be as familiar with exactly what it does. Sometimes, this term is used interchangeably to describe other types of malware that are not viruses.

A virus specifically replicates itself and moves from one device to another. Viruses can do a number of different things, including deactivating security settings, deleting data, stealing data, and sending spam to your contacts.

2. Keylogger security threats

A keylogger is a computer security threat that tracks the keystrokes that are made on a keyboard. This is dangerous because it makes it easy for attackers to gain access to passwords, security questions, usernames, and more. Keyloggers, also known as keystroke loggers, track these actions in real time, making it super easy for attackers to gain access to your info.

3. Spyware and adware

Spyware and adware work similarly, in that they both collect information about your personal data without you knowing. This software can give the collected data to third parties, including personal information like passwords, usernames, and banking information.

4. Phishing

These attacks come as links, videos or other legitimate-looking clickables, but they are not what they say they are. Phishing attacks try to get users to click on them, and that click can unleash whatever malicious software, virus, or worm that is embedded within.

New phishing schemes are always popping up, and it is getting increasingly difficult to detect them with the sheer volume of messages and emails we send and receive each day. Your IT support may have certain measures to protect you from these computer security threats.

5. Pharming

This computer security threat is the recreation of a website that is intended to trick individuals into typing in their personal information, so that it can be stolen. These websites will look identical or almost identical to the website that the user was trying to access, but when the personal information is entered, it will be accessible by the attacker.

6. Swindlers

It turns out it is really easy to pretend you are someone else online. Although digital users are becoming a lot more savvy, swindlers have found many ways to trick users into believing they are trusted companies, friends, potential love interests, or other individuals.

In this way, they have managed to get individuals to send them money and personal data online, which puts the person’s personal data at risk. With that person’s personal data in hand, certain individuals may be able to easily access that person’s digital information and their computer.

7. Rootkit

A rootkit allows remote access to a computer, which ultimately allows the attacker to make changes to data, steal data and information, install keyloggers, any other malicious activity.

These types of computer security threats are sneakily downloaded onto computers, disguised as legitimate software, and the user typically unknowingly accepts the rootkit download thinking it is something else.

8. Man-in-the-middle attacks

Imagine someone effectively eavesdropping on your online conversations. This is the essence of a man-in-the-middle attack. There are several different ways in which an attacker can carry out this kind of attack, but it ends up with them gaining access to a communication which should be private, often unbeknownst to either party involved in the communication.

9. Botnets

These software ‘bots recruit an army of zombies – infected computers that do their bidding. This includes sending out spam emails and spreading malware around to other computers. These computer security threats are difficult to detect, and are therefore hard to control.

10. Computer hacking

Some hackers use their skills to gain unauthorized access to people’s or companies’ systems for malicious reasons. Some malicious reasons are to steal data or money, to erase or change data, and more. People and companies who do not have sufficient cybersecurity settings on their systems may be at risk to hackers who are working to gain access.