7 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks and Breaches

A cyber attack (cyberattack) is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an attempt to gain illegal access to a computer or computer system for the purpose of causing damage or harm.” Cyber attacks are often difficult to detect and discern. In some cases, you won’t even know that your computer is being attacked until it’s far too late to do anything about it.

Cyber attacks happen every day against businesses. Some attacks are done in the name of “hacktivism” while others are maliciously or financially motivated. Keep reading to learn more about different types of cyber attacks and in some cases, what you can do to prevent them.

1. Malware Attack

Malware is the name used to describe any malicious software that can breach your network through a vulnerability like clicking a dangerous link. The link or email attachment installs the dangerous software that can then install malware or more harmful software, disrupt different components. These types of cyber attacks may cause your computer or computer system to become inoperable, covertly obtain info from your hard drive, or block access to key components of your network.

2. Denial-of-Service (DoS)

This type of cyber attack will flood your server, system, or network with traffic meant to exhaust your bandwidth and resources. This makes your system unable to fulfill any legitimate requests, and you may have to rely on an IT service provider to recover your processes quickly.

A distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is carried out when multiple compromised devices are used to launch the attack.

3. Password Attack

There are two main types of password attacks: brute-force and dictionary attacks. With a brute-force attack, a user guesses different passwords and hopes to find one that works. A hacker can use logic and knowledge of a person to try to guess their password in order to gain access.

A dictionary attack uses a list of common passwords to try to gain access to a computer or network. The best way to protect yourself against password attacks is to set up an account lockout policy that will lock the account after a certain number of invalid attempts are entered.

4. Phishing

Phishing is a kind of social engineering used to steal your user data like login credentials or credit card numbers. A person acting as a trusted individual (like a bank) tricks a person into opening an instant message, email, or text message. A malicious link is located within that message, and the victim is deceived into opening that link that will then either install malware or reveal sensitive information. The ramifications of a successful phishing attack can include unauthorized purchases, stealing of funds, or identity theft.

Different types of phishing attacks include spear phishing, which is aimed at a certain person or organization, not a random one done by random attackers; and whale phishing, which is aimed at the CEO or CFO of a company in order to steal vital information.

To reduce the chances of falling victim to phishing, there are some things you can do. First, think critically, Don’t accept that an email is real just because it appears to be so. Second, hover over any links in the email. Don’t click it! See where it would actually take you by deciphering the URL. Last analyze email headers, which define how an email got to you. The “Reply-to” and “Return-Path” parameters should take you to the same domain as said in the email. Those with experience in these matters can also run sandboxing tests to see what happens when a link is clicked in a safe environment.

5. Drive-by-Attack

Drive-by-download attacks look for weakness in networks and plant malicious scripts into PHP or HTTP code on one of the website pages. These types of cyber attacks could redirect a victim to a site controlled by the hackers, or might install malware directly onto the computer of the person who accesses the site.

Unlike with other types of attacks, a victim doesn’t have to click a link within an affected site to be infected. To protect yourself, keep your operating systems and browsers up-to-date and stay on sites you know are safe, keeping in mind that they can be hacked, too. Don’t keep too many unnecessary apps or programs on your device.

6. Eavesdropping Attack

These types of attacks intercept network traffic to obtain credit card numbers, passwords, and any other private information a user might send over the network.

The best way to protect yourself against eavesdropping is to encrypt your data.

7. SQL Injection Attack

SQL injection attacks are common with database-driven websites. This happens when a hacker uses the input data from the client to server to execute a SQL query to the database. A successful SQL injection can modify database data, read sensitive data, execute admin operations, recover the content of any given file, and in some cases, even issue commands directly to the operating system.

About Author

Justin is a journalism student from Ottawa, Canada. Since a young age, he has felt a passion for writing along with a knack for asking curious questions, which guided him into his current path today.