Cyber attacks can be devastating for businesses and individuals. Attackers can access information systems without authorization and even gain control over data stored therein.
As cyber attacks continue to gain in frequency and sophistication, hackers or cybercriminals who commit such offenses become known. Some hack for personal gain while others join hacktivist groups to bring about social or political change.
What is a Cyber Attack?
Cyber attacks are offensive maneuvers designed to compromise computer information systems, networks and infrastructures – including personal devices like tablets and smartphones – using hacker techniques and tools. Cyber attackers range from criminals acting alone, organized crime syndicates or nation-state efforts with the intention of stealing data or crippling systems.
Phishing attacks are cyberattacks where hackers use emails, text messages or social media platforms such as Twitter to trick victims into divulging sensitive data or downloading malware like Trojans, viruses or worms. DoS attacks involve hacker flood servers with fake requests to disrupt operations while man-in-the-middle attacks may include altering server code to gain entry into an organization’s systems through man-in-the-middle exploits.
Financial institutions are an especially vulnerable target for cyberattacks. Should funds be diverted or stolen from these centers, it could halt daily transactions and destabilize the economy nationwide – for instance tampering with New York Stock Exchange computers for even a single day could cost the company millions in losses.
14 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks
No matter if it’s news from elsewhere or happening to your organization directly, understanding cyber attacks is invaluable. While the strategies hackers employ vary greatly from instance to instance, criminals tend to resort to several tried-and-tested approaches when conducting cyberattacks.
Malware (or malicious software) attacks are among the most frequent cyberthreats, often launched using exploits, unpatched vulnerabilities, policy misconfigurations or through email scams. Hackers frequently employ this form of cyberattack against vulnerable systems using unpatched vulnerabilities, policy misconfigurations and phishing emails as launch points.
Other types of cyberattacks include brute force attacks and social engineering attacks. With brute force attacks, hackers try various combinations of usernames and passwords until one works; they might also leverage logins that have been leaked onto the Dark Web to conduct these attacks.
Social engineering attacks use emails, texts messages, phone calls or social media posts to lure individuals into giving up sensitive information such as passwords and account details. Some common examples include phishing, spear-phishing and whaling attacks.
1. Denial-of-Service DoS Attacks
Denial-of-service attacks work by overwhelming servers with more traffic than they can manage, making the target website, service or server unavailable to users. Criminal perpetrators typically target high-profile web servers such as banks or payment gateways with these attacks, often to gain business at their expense as well as damage their brand awareness and reputation in the form of public condemnation and negative brand recognition. Such acts of mischief may be motivated by extortion, revenge, hacktivism or hacktivism and can wreak havoc with public perception as well as damage on these servers can have far reaching repercussions that affect business at large scale as a whole resulting in business loss as well as damage public perception resulting in this regard affecting brand recognition & reputation issues for many companies they target with this form of attack; criminal perpetrators often target high profile web servers such as banks & payment gateways as these types of attacks can create havoc causing harm both internally causing loss & public perception issues for brands being attacked due to these types of attacks motivating by either extortion, revenge or hacktivism driven attacks against companies that suffer as they could do, hacktivism may occur within days or hacktivism against such servers with this type of attack occurring as it affects brand awareness & brand perception negatively within companies being attacked in addition to loss causing loss for both company victims involved with hackers in such attacks for some may target high profile banks/payment gateways being targeted with their banking or payment gateway services not paying out due to banks/payment gateways such banks or hacktivism against targeted.
One common form of DoS attack is known as a buffer overflow, which exploits memory storage regions on the target machine to send out meaningless requests that exhaust its bandwidth. A DDoS attack leverages multiple systems under an attacker’s control in order to simultaneously overload their target system’s bandwidth with meaningless traffic – though harder to stop and severely impact network performance. Threat actors may use DoS attacks as part of malware testing programs or selling malicious tools on dark web markets for other cybercriminals to use against themselves or against innocent customers.
2. Phishing Attacks
Cyber attacks involve using malicious software (malware) to breach computer systems, obtain sensitive data or gain control over a network or individual device. Such attacks can be initiated by hackers and cybercriminals who exploit existing system flaws to exploit vulnerable businesses.
Malware attacks include viruses, worms and Trojan horses that secretly install themselves on computers without your knowledge and can then self-replicate, slow down devices, delete files and allow hackers remote access into your system.
Many cyber attacks are conducted for financial gain, with cyber criminals seeking to gather customer credit card data or employee confidential details to exploit. Some attacks even lock computer systems so their owners and authorized users cannot access data – demanding ransom to release it.
Phishing attacks are designed to trick individuals into divulging personal data or performing specific actions, like clicking links that contain malware. Cybercriminals use spear phishing attacks against specific organizations by sending messages posing as from superiors (e.g. a CEO or other executive).
Spoofing attacks involve malicious actors impersonating trusted individuals, brands or organizations in order to gain entry to systems, infect devices with malware, steal data or cause disruption and damage. Email and phishing attacks may be employed alongside ARP spoofing as part of this attack technique.
Hackers conducting cyberattacks may either work alone or in collaboration with other criminals to execute attacks, commonly referred to as threat actors, bad actors and cybercriminals. Their computer skills allow them to identify vulnerabilities in software code, systems and networks they attack.
Most cyberattacks are launched for financial gain by hackers. This may take the form of ransomware attacks where hackers lock a company’s computer systems and demand money to unlock them; or other attacks designed to steal sensitive data, harvest credentials for future fraud attempts and bypass security controls through techniques such as man-in-the-middle attacks (eavesdropping between source and destination users). Disruption and revenge attacks by hacktivists or nation-state attackers who target government entities, commercial and nonprofit organizations with the intent to embarrass or damage their reputations; or hacktivists or nation-state attackers targeting government entities commercial and nonprofits in order to embarrasss them or harm them in some other way.
4. Code Injection Attacks
Cyber attacks are attempts by hackers to gain entry to computer networks or systems with the intent of changing, stealing, or exposing information. This may occur either individually through malware infection or more widely by hacking servers and altering network protocols in order to achieve unanticipated results, usually to their advantage.
These types of attacks typically target web applications. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in the application to inject arbitrary code by exploiting untrustworthy data sources and then running it via server-side interpreter; common means include direct string concatenation, PHP’s eval() function or SQL injection.
These cyberattacks vary in their severity, yet their end goal remains the same: breaching your privacy and/or stealing data. Examples of cyberattacks include ransomware that encrypts files with encryption keys requiring payment; phishing attacks that lure victims into clicking risky links or downloading malware; and man-in-the-middle attacks that intercept communications. All of these can be avoided by adhering to secure coding practices and understanding that poorly written code opens doors for cybercriminals.
5. MITM Attacks
Man-in-the-middle attacks target data as it travels from one computer or networking appliance like a Wi-Fi router, impacting personal computers, mobile devices, IoT devices and video game consoles. Attackers can use tools (like Superfish Visual Search adware which was installed onto Lenovo computers in 2014) to intercept web activity and login information and redirect it for abuse by another party.
Cybercriminals often employ techniques like DNS tunneling, side-jacking and sniffing to gain access to credentials, banking data and make unauthorised purchases. Furthermore, these attack methods serve as gateways for long-term Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) campaigns designed to mine company data, disrupt production environments or take over network infrastructure.
Not all cyberattacks are committed for criminal reasons, however; many cyberattacks are launched for political gain – this phenomenon is known as hacktivism and often takes the form of Anonymous or WikiLeaks attacks to raise awareness on issues including government control of the internet, censorship, regulation and regulation of organizations they target to raise awareness. Nation-state-backed attackers often launch such cyberwarfare against each other – becoming an increasing challenge to cybersecurity professionals as their systems come under attack from different directions. As these attacks increase, cybersecurity professionals must work constantly to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities within their systems managed under management in order to safeguard those they manage.
6. Whale-phishing Attacks
Whaling attacks involve hackers using social engineering and email spoofing techniques to impersonate senior members of an organization and request wire transfers, access to sensitive information or install various types of malware – with the goal being theft of both money and data as well as credentials that lead to greater profit yields.
Whaling attacks differ from phishing and spear phishing by targeting high-value targets within organizations with authority. As they target these individuals more directly, whaling can be harder to spot and can coax victims into giving out sensitive information or transfering money without realizing what has happened.
Attackers typically start their campaigns with fake emails or texts purporting to come from trusted sources, like colleagues. These fraudulent messages often contain links or attachments containing malware designed to compromise vulnerable devices; and hackers often call victims directly with encouragement for immediate action; for instance, aerospace company FACC lost $55.8 million after one employee followed an email request that required wire transfers be made immediately to an offshore account containing fraudulent details. Security awareness training can help employees detect these spoofed communications more easily as well as adhere to protocol by verifying wire transfers via multiple means of communication such as calling multiple numbers before proceeding with making wire transfer confirmation requests from trusted colleagues or checking with another means of confirmation of confirmation before proceeding with transfers confirming wire transfers using two means of confirmations of communication confirming them at once.
7. Spear-phishing Attacks
Like regular phishing attacks, spear-phishing relies on emails to trick recipients into opening attachments containing malware, which then steals personal information like passwords, account numbers, access codes and PINs from users. Criminals gather target details through social media websites or public data sources before sending targeted e-mails impersonating people they know or organizations with which they do business.
Attackers use this information to craft more convincing messages for victims. For instance, attackers could pose as vendors to an organization’s business dealings and ask for invoices or personal data. E-mails might contain links leading to fake websites with authentication requests embedded.
Spear-phishing attacks can have severe repercussions for businesses, from financial loss to compliance-related issues. By investing in a program combining training for employees with the implementation of a data protection solution, businesses can reduce the likelihood of data loss while decreasing spear-phishing attacks succeeding.
Cybercriminals steal data from their targets and use ransomware attacks to hold it hostage until they receive payment for ransom. Victims’ files may suddenly disappear without warning or get deleted altogether; recovering it may take days.
Ransomware typically infiltrates computers through malicious emails that contain macros that run and download ransomware onto user machines. Once downloaded, this malware covertly encrypts local files as well as network accessible systems before adding instructions for purchasing decryption keys and displaying ransom messages on screens.
Some ransomware variants, like BlackCat, are more intrusive, using keyboard layouts to identify exempt systems and connect devices for attack. Such attacks can cripple businesses and result in downtime.
Ransomware attackers have become more innovative, using various means to extort victims. Payments often come in the form of cryptocurrency payments which make tracing them hard; ransomware attackers reportedly targeted JBS Foods – one of the world’s largest meat suppliers – by hacking into its servers and encrypting critical data, forcing the company to pay out $11 million worth of Bitcoin following an attack.
9. Password Attack
Password attacks are an essential threat vector, enabling hackers to gain entry to confidential data and systems. These cyber attacks take various forms: from phishing campaigns and spear-phishing to software tools that steal passwords from login portals; brute force guessing attempts using lists of words/variations can also be utilized; dictionary attacks also include brute force password guessing attacks by going through all possible combinations a dictionary might offer (known as dictionary attacks); while “password spraying,” where hackers test stolen credentials on multiple websites simultaneously; to account hacking attempts using different variations of same passwords from different accounts and services by repeatedly trying different ones again at each one.
For businesses to prevent password attacks, businesses should avoid public Wi-Fi networks or unencrypted websites that require password access, as well as using security protocols like HTTPS which encrypt communications between two parties to prevent data eavesdropping. Unused accounts should also be removed so as to not provide attackers an opening into their networks – attacks may be motivated by financial gain or the desire to disrupt operations and reputation of an organization.
10. SQL Injection Attack
Cyberattacks take many forms. Malware, ransomware or man-in-the-middle attacks all exploit system vulnerabilities to gain entry to computers or networks and gain control.
Cyberattack victims range from small businesses and startups to global corporations and government agencies. Hackers target these entities in order to gain access to data which they use for financial gain or disrupting company operations; it can even be used for terrorist purposes or acts such as extortion and revenge.
An attack against an organization typically takes place over an extended period and can be hard to detect or respond to, particularly since attackers typically employ multiple proven tactics – like brute force attacks that use trial-and-error techniques to gain entry to systems using login credentials such as passwords or encryption keys. Luckily, there are various cybersecurity best practices organizations can adopt to mitigate the risk of cyberattack. Among them: adopting a zero trust framework and initiating an automated threat hunting program using intelligence tools and advanced analyses in order to detect suspicious activity before it escalates into full scale attacks.
11. URL Interpretation
Cyber attacks use software to compromise a system for illegal purposes. Common attacks include ransomware, phishing, SQL injection and spam. Others include malware, spoofing and malvertising.
URL interpretation attacks involve the attempt by an adversary to gain entry to areas of a website where they shouldn’t by altering its structure or altering information in a URL. This can be accomplished by embedding special characters within requests (for instance using spaces as %20) that cause misinterpretation by servers and trick them into misinterpreting data as expected by them.
Attackers seeking to create negative press may target high profile sites or household names in order to generate bad press for themselves. Sometimes they have personal grudges against an organization due to animal testing, politics, or an ex-employee who left under unhappy circumstances). Attacks like these may only last briefly before continuing to drain your system’s resources – this may result in legitimate service requests not being met and disrupting regular operations as well as increase other forms of cyber attack.
12. DNS Spoofing
DNS Spoofing is a cyber attack in which hackers alter DNS server’s data in order to redirect visitors to an malicious website. They do this using techniques like phishing or keylogging malware in order to obtain credentials that grant them access to a DNS server’s cache, then forge responses when querying nameservers which causes DNS server’s IP storage with fake IPs that leads users towards dangerous destinations.
These fraudulent websites look authentic and can be hard to detect, making it easier for hackers to gain access to sensitive data such as login credentials and credit card numbers. In addition, hackers could install viruses onto user devices giving them long-term access to personal and corporate data.
Phishing attacks utilizing man in the middle attacks are among the most sophisticated types. An attacker intercepts digital traffic or data transfer to fraudulent websites and steals personal information from victims. An attacker may do this by hijacking a stub resolver to redirect it towards a recursive DNS server and forging DNS responses leading to their website of choice.
13. Brute force attack
Hackers use software and tools like Aircrack-ng to attempt brute force attacks against websites or accounts, typically by trying various combinations of passwords until one works successfully. Such cyberattacks include data breaches where personal information is stolen as well as denial of service attacks which infest websites with offensive material that discredits them and makes them inaccessible to visitors.
Cyberattacks pose an imminent threat to national security. To safeguard ourselves against them, cyber security systems that identify vulnerabilities quickly and respond swiftly are critical – this responsibility falls upon individuals, families, small and large businesses as well as local, state and federal governments alike.
As we become increasingly reliant on information technology systems and computer networks, the potential risk of cyberattacks increases significantly. Attackers could exploit our vulnerabilities to steal or damage vital services; that is why it is imperative that the United States create a powerful Cyber Command to counter them.
14. XSS Attacks
Cyber attacks are attempts to disable or steal data, often conducted by malicious hackers but also government agencies or military organizations. A cyberattack can take various forms including malware, phishing, ransomware attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks and XSS attacks.
Persistent and non-persistent XSS attacks exist. Persistent attacks store themselves on the server and may be activated every time an insecure web application is accessed; while non-persistent ones tend to be easier as hackers simply include their payload in a request sent directly to the server – which then sends it back out as part of its response back to browsers.