What Is a Cybersecurity Attack? | Nine Types of Cyberattacks


Cybercrime is a rampant crisis that affects industries, businesses, and individuals. Present vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital systems or networks can provide attackers with the perfect opportunity to commit cyberattacks. 

What Is a Cyberattack?

A cyberattack occurs when there is a malicious attempt to violate digitilized data or information. There could be threats from inside a company or externally. The purpose of these attacks is to steal, corrupt, destroy, change, or exploit confidential documents, messages, and knowledge. 

If taken, such data may be returned only for a ransomware price. There are numerous types of cyberattacks carried out by hackers. Understanding the top cybersecurity threats can educate you on what to watch out for and how to defend against malicious attacks.

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Nine Types of Cybersecurity Attacks

Malware

Originally known as “malicious software,” malware encompasses any intrusive software created to invade and destroy digital networks, often on computers and other devices. Trojan horses and ransomware are two examples of the kinds of malware that can harm a server. The intent of malicious software is to encrypt, delete, steal, or even hijack a computer. Once this happens, the hacker can have control over a network to complete this plan of attack. 

While malware is scary, some malware experiences are benign. However, there are those that can ruin a business. In preparation for an event, it’s vital to not only resort to reactive fixes and preventative measures to stop these kinds of breaches. In some cases, malware may be inevitable. As a result, companies should have adequate malware protection with close monitoring and frequent safeguard check-ins. Backing up your software is one of the steps to protect your data. 

Phishing 

Chances are that you’ve probably encountered some form of a phishing attack whether at work or through your personal email. Falling for this type of scam could risk you accidentally disclosing credit card and login information. These cyber attackers skillfully communicate an urgent or sentimental message to incline victims to help them and unknowingly give them personally identifiable credentials. 

By pretending to be a CEO, distant relative, or some other form of authority, cyberattackers can trick you into trusting them. It’s a form of manipulation. They can also contact you through phone calls or text messages.

The hallmark of a true phishing scam includes: 

  • An offer too good to be true
    Is someone contacting you about a random prize? An unexpected inheritance? It’s probably a tactic to lure you in and to make you reveal some personal information. 
  • Hyperlinks
    Don’t click on anything from a random stranger. Misspelling in the hyperlink, a funky-looking link, or anything else that seems “off” is a key indicator that it’s a fraudulent website that will start a malware download or have a browser-based script attack. 
  • An Unknown Sender
    If you don’t recognize the person or organization sending you the link, email, text, or phone call, it’s best to not give away any credit card, bank account, or login information. 
  • Attachments
    Similar to a spammy hyperlink, an unrecognizable or random attachment could contain malicious viruses and ransomware. 
  • A Sense of Urgency 
    If the contact is urging you to respond right away, then it’s probably not legitimate. These scammers will make you believe that if you don’t give them information immediately, then you will you out on some kind of deal or be in trouble with the law. 

These examples come from Phishing.org, which advises readers on how to discern phishing attacks

Password Attack

When a cybercriminal attempts to steal your password, this is identified as a password attack. It’s prevalent among corporations and it can happen to personal accounts in order to breach data. Weak passwords are easier for hackers to test and guess. Some businesses don’t have secure-enough passwords, which is a gateway for cybercriminals to predict. Multi-factor authentication can deter hackers since it has more than one step to log in, making it more complex. 

According to One Login, there are several other types of password attack tactics

  1. Phishing 
  2. Man-in-the-Middle
  3. Brute Force 
  4. Dictionary 

Securing your password is necessary to prevent password breaches. Additionally, it’s encouraged to change your password routinely, install antivirus software, create passwords with numbers and symbols, and consider biometric authentication.

Denial-of-Service Attacks

When a cyber threat actor carries out a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, users cannot access computers, networks, devices, and systems. The DoS attack floods a server with traffic to trigger a crash that infects or destroys computers or services like emails, websites, or online banking accounts. 

DoS attacks paralyze the user from being able to access or operate a digital device or system. It costs organizations loss of business, interrupted services, time, failure of resources, and reputation. Threat actors can employ a single computer to launch an attack on an entire network.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends taking “steps to strengthen the security posture of all of your internet-connected devices in order to prevent them from being compromised.” Another solution the CISA provides is to establish “a disaster recovery plan to ensure successful and efficient communication, mitigation, and recovery in the event of an attack.”

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The CISA also provides examples that signal a DoS attack: 

  • Unusually slow network performance (opening files or accessing websites),
  • Unavailability of a particular website, or
  • An inability to access any website.

Trojan Horses

Also referred to as a Trojan, this is malicious programming, code, or software intended to harm, steal, or corrupt your computer or online data. Individuals may download the Trojan horse, not realizing it’s a ploy, although it may appear legitimate. A cyber attacker can send an email with an attachment, document, or free download hiding disruptive malware or malicious code. 

This type of attack is different from a virus as Trojans cannot self-replicate and perform. The user must download the destructive program and install it in order for the Trojan to work effectively. 

You may detect you have a Trojan horse if there are unexpected changes to your computer or there is strange and random activity. Protecting against this type of malware is crucial as one infected computer can impact a network of computers.

SQL Injection

Simply put, an SQL injection attack attempts to interject SQL code into a database. From there, attackers can control, modify, steal, and access sensitive data and information. A hacker may want a company’s valuable and confidential assets like business plans and client contacts. 

There could be widespread destruction. A cybercriminal could delete critical documents or get administrative privileges. 

SQL injections may be initially undetectable to non-IT workers. However, a company’s IT department should have SQL monitoring and protection that can defend against these threats.

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Eavesdropping Attacks

An eavesdropping attack, also known as a sniffing or snooping attack, directly violates cybersecurity. It happens when a cyberattacker deletes, intercepts or alters data transferred between two digital devices. In insecure network settings, hackers can infringe on weak traffic and exploit business data. Cybercriminals may also want account information, user habits and history, confidential communications and content, and passwords. 

A similar attack that falls under Eavesdropping attacks is the Man-in-the-Middle attack. Hackers can pose as a participant in the transfer of data between two parties. The two parties believe that they are solely communicating with each other. However, the cyberattacker has covertly invaded the conversation to change or steal private information. 

Victims of Eavesdropping attacks suffer from identity theft, stolen finances, and violation of privacy. Individuals should: 

  • Tighten encryptions
  • Update software
  • Avoid public Wi-fi
  • Download only from trusted sources
  • Use a personal firewall 

Ransomware

Ransomware is when malware encrypts files on a computer and denies the user access and control over their device until they pay a ransom. The cyberattacker will hold restricted data until the company or individual pays the fee within a deadline. If the hacker does not receive a payment, then they destroy the data forever, leaving the victims helpless and at a significant loss. 

It may seem like the only option is to pay the ransom. Yet, experts warn against this as it encourages cyberattackers, prolonging this cybercrime. Even more, if an organization does not have strong and adaptable cybersecurity, then it is likely this will become a repeat offense.

Companies can reevaluate their cybersecurity protocols. Whether that means reinforced defenses, new software, or installing backups so that data is never lost or compromised, ransomware is statistically common. Due to this, the recovery and insurance of protected data are most important. 

Insider Threats

Insider threats are exactly what they sound like. An insider of an organization can expose privileged information. With specialized knowledge, insiders are privy to confidential data that is not open to the public and would threaten a company’s infrastructure. 

CISA classifies insider behaviors as the following:

  • Sabotage
  • Terrorism
  • Workplace violence
  • Intentional or unintentional loss of degradation of departmental resources or capabilities
  • Espionage
  • Corruption, including participation in transnational organized crime 
  • Unauthorized disclosure of information

Notably, an insider threat is not necessarily an employee. It could be a third party, partner, or contractor. Insider threats can come from an uneducated individual accidentally or misleadingly opening a hyperlink from a phishing email. 

Insider threats are people threats. Informing your employees about the types of cybersecurity attacks can equip them to prepare and guard against these risks. 

Cybersecurity needs to evolve with the pace of cyberattacks. When businesses plan in advance and secure data from loss, theft, or damage, they are securing their business reputation, infrastructure, and finances. 

Macrium can restore data in the event of a ransomware attack, malware attack, or insider threat. When data is compromised, it can be the catalyst for the aftermath of problems a company faces from a single, but detrimental, attack.

Data is essential to your business. Macrium has solutions for every type of business to protect and store data that won’t be lost. Our Sales Team is ready to answer any questions and explain the benefits of choosing Macrium Reflect Software here: https://www.macrium.com/contact


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