Life today has become far more comfortable because of various digital devices and the internet to support them. There is a flip side to everything good, and that also applies to the digital world today. The internet has brought in a positive change in our lives today, but with that, there is also an enormous challenge in protecting your data. This gives rise to cyber attacks. In this article, we will discuss the different types of cyber attacks and how they can be prevented.
There are many varieties of cyber attacks that happen in the world today. If we know the various types of cyberattacks, it becomes easier for us to protect our networks and systems against them. Here, we will closely examine the top ten cyber-attacks that can affect an individual, or a large business, depending on the scale.
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Let’s start with the different types of cyberattacks on our list:
This is one of the most common types of cyberattacks. “Malware” refers to malicious software viruses including worms, spyware, ransomware, adware, and trojans.
The trojan virus disguises itself as legitimate software. Ransomware blocks access to the network's key components, whereas Spyware is software that steals all your confidential data without your knowledge. Adware is software that displays advertising content such as banners on a user's screen.
Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability. When the user clicks a dangerous link, it downloads an email attachment or when an infected pen drive is used.
Let’s now look at how we can prevent a malware attack:
- Use antivirus software. It can protect your computer against malware. Avast Antivirus, Norton Antivirus, and McAfee Antivirus are a few of the popular antivirus software.
- Use firewalls. Firewalls filter the traffic that may enter your device. Windows and Mac OS X have their default built-in firewalls, named Windows Firewall and Mac Firewall.
- Stay alert and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
- Update your OS and browsers, regularly.
Phishing attacks are one of the most prominent widespread types of cyberattacks. It is a type of social engineering attack wherein an attacker impersonates to be a trusted contact and sends the victim fake mails.
Unaware of this, the victim opens the mail and clicks on the malicious link or opens the mail's attachment. By doing so, attackers gain access to confidential information and account credentials. They can also install malware through a phishing attack.
Phishing attacks can be prevented by following the below-mentioned steps:
- Scrutinize the emails you receive. Most phishing emails have significant errors like spelling mistakes and format changes from that of legitimate sources.
- Make use of an anti-phishing toolbar.
- Update your passwords regularly.
It is a form of attack wherein a hacker cracks your password with various programs and password cracking tools like Aircrack, Cain, Abel, John the Ripper, Hashcat, etc. There are different types of password attacks like brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and keylogger attacks.
Listed below are a few ways to prevent password attacks:
- Use strong alphanumeric passwords with special characters.
- Abstain from using the same password for multiple websites or accounts.
- Update your passwords; this will limit your exposure to a password attack.
- Do not have any password hints in the open.
A Man-in-the-Middle Attack (MITM) is also known as an eavesdropping attack. In this attack, an attacker comes in between a two-party communication, i.e., the attacker hijacks the session between a client and host. By doing so, hackers steal and manipulate data.
As seen below, the client-server communication has been cut off, and instead, the communication line goes through the hacker.
MITM attacks can be prevented by following the below-mentioned steps:
- Be mindful of the security of the website you are using. Use encryption on your devices.
- Refrain from using public Wi-Fi networks.
A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attack occurs on a database-driven website when the hacker manipulates a standard SQL query. It is carried by injecting a malicious code into a vulnerable website search box, thereby making the server reveal crucial information.
This results in the attacker being able to view, edit, and delete tables in the databases. Attackers can also get administrative rights through this.
To prevent a SQL injection attack:
- Use an Intrusion detection system, as they design it to detect unauthorized access to a network.
- Carry out a validation of the user-supplied data. With a validation process, it keeps the user input in check.
A Denial-of-Service Attack is a significant threat to companies. Here, attackers target systems, servers, or networks and flood them with traffic to exhaust their resources and bandwidth.
When this happens, catering to the incoming requests becomes overwhelming for the servers, resulting in the website it hosts either shut down or slow down. This leaves the legitimate service requests unattended.
It is also known as a DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack when attackers use multiple compromised systems to launch this attack.
Let’s now look at how to prevent a DDoS attack:
- Run a traffic analysis to identify malicious traffic.
- Understand the warning signs like network slowdown, intermittent website shutdowns, etc. At such times, the organization must take the necessary steps without delay.
- Formulate an incident response plan, have a checklist and make sure your team and data center can handle a DDoS attack.
- Outsource DDoS prevention to cloud-based service providers.
As the name suggests, an insider threat does not involve a third party but an insider. In such a case; it could be an individual from within the organization who knows everything about the organization. Insider threats have the potential to cause tremendous damages.
Insider threats are rampant in small businesses, as the staff there hold access to multiple accounts with data. Reasons for this form of an attack are many, it can be greed, malice, or even carelessness. Insider threats are hard to predict and hence tricky.
To prevent the insider threat attack:
- Organizations should have a good culture of security awareness.
- Companies must limit the IT resources staff can have access to depending on their job roles.
- Organizations must train employees to spot insider threats. This will help employees understand when a hacker has manipulated or is attempting to misuse the organization's data.
The term Cryptojacking is closely related to cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking takes place when attackers access someone else’s computer for mining cryptocurrency.
Cryptojacking can be prevented by following the below-mentioned steps:
- Update your software and all the security apps as cryptojacking can infect the most unprotected systems.
- Have cryptojacking awareness training for the employees; this will help them detect crypotjacking threats.
- Install an ad blocker as ads are a primary source of cryptojacking scripts. Also have extensions like MinerBlock, which is used to identify and block crypto mining scripts.
A Zero-Day Exploit happens after the announcement of a network vulnerability; there is no solution for the vulnerability in most cases. Hence the vendor notifies the vulnerability so that the users are aware; however, this news also reaches the attackers.
Depending on the vulnerability, the vendor or the developer could take any amount of time to fix the issue. Meanwhile, the attackers target the disclosed vulnerability. They make sure to exploit the vulnerability even before a patch or solution is implemented for it.
Zero-day exploits can be prevented by:
- Organizations should have well-communicated patch management processes. Use management solutions to automate the procedures. Thus it avoids delays in deployment.
- Have an incident response plan to help you deal with a cyberattack. Keep a strategy focussing on zero-day attacks. By doing so, the damage can be reduced or completely avoided.
The victim here is a particular group of an organization, region, etc. In such an attack, the attacker targets websites which are frequently used by the targeted group. Websites are identified either by closely monitoring the group or by guessing.
After this, the attackers infect these websites with malware, which infects the victims' systems. The malware in such an attack targets the user's personal information. Here, it is also possible for the hacker to take remote access to the infected computer.
Let's now see how we can prevent the watering hole attack:
- Update your software and reduce the risk of an attacker exploiting vulnerabilities. Make sure to check for security patches regularly.
- Use your network security tools to spot watering hole attacks. Intrusion prevention systems(IPS) work well when it comes to detecting such suspicious activities.
- To prevent a watering hole attack, it is advised to conceal your online activities. For this, use a VPN and also make use of your browser’s private browsing feature. A VPN delivers a secure connection to another network over the Internet. It acts as a shield for your browsing activity. NordVPN is a good example of a VPN.
An attacker impersonates someone or something else to access sensitive information and do malicious activities. For example, they can spoof an email address or a network address.
Perform to steal or manipulate others' personal information, like login someone's PINs to steal unauthorized access to their systems.
Performed by inserting malicious code into a software application to manipulate data. For example, the attacker puts malicious code into a SQL database to steal data.
Exploit software or hardware supply chain vulnerabilities to collect sensitive information.
Attacker uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to bypass security measures and communicate with a remote server.
Cyberattack in which an attacker manipulates the DNS records from a website to control its traffic.
Exploit vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things (IoT), like smart thermostats and security cameras, to steal data.
Encrypt the victim's data and demands payment in exchange.
Flood a website with traffic to make it unavailable to legitimate users and to exploit vulnerabilities in the specific network.
Send unauthentic emails to spread phishing scams.
Hackers use stolen login credentials to access others' bank accounts.
Hackers get close to a bank's computer systems to withdraw large amounts of cash from ATMs.
Target high-profile individuals like executives or celebrities using sophisticated social engineering techniques to get sensitive information.
Target specific individuals or groups under an organization. Attackers use social engineering techniques to get sensitive information.
A web browser interprets a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and requests the corresponding web page to exploit vulnerabilities in the URL interpretation.
The hacker gets access to a user's session ID to authenticate the user's session with a web application and take control of the user's session.
An attacker gets unauthorized access to a system by trying various passwords until the correct one is found. It can be highly effective against weak passwords.
Targets websites and can insert SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS) and file inclusion.
Malware that appears to be a legitimate program but which contains malicious code. Once installed, it can perform malicious actions like stealing data and controlling the system.
The user's system is flooded with malware by visiting its compromised website to exploit vulnerabilities in other software to insert the malware without the user's knowledge.
An attacker inserts unauthorized code into a legitimate website to access the user's information to steal sensitive information like the user's passwords and credit card details.
An attacker intercepts communication between two parties to access sensitive information.
A cryptographic attack exploits the birthday paradox to access a collision in a hash function. The attacker successfully generates two inputs to get the same output hash value. This can be used to compromise to bypass access controls.
The attacker floods a system with heavy data to make it inaccessible to legitimate users. For instance, DDoS attacks in which various compromised computers flood a specific website with traffic to crash it.
Exploits vulnerabilities in network protocols to gain unauthorized access to a system or disrupt its regular operation. Examples include the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) SYN Flood attack and the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Flood attack.
Targets the application layer of a system, aiming to exploit vulnerabilities in applications or web servers.
An attacker attempts to guess a user's password by trying a list of common words. This attack becomes successful because many users use weak or easy passwords.
Malicious software can replicate itself and spread to other computers. Viruses can cause significant damage to systems, corrupt files, steal information, and more.
Replicates itself and spreads to other computers, but unlike viruses, worms don't require human interaction.
This vulnerability allows attackers to bypass standard authentication procedures and gain unauthorized access to a system or network.
These software programs automate network or internet tasks. They can be used for malicious purposes, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Targets businesses and organizations by using email. The attackers impersonate a trusted source to trick the victim into transferring funds or sensitive information to the attacker.
Targets web applications by injecting malicious code into a vulnerable website to steal sensitive information or to perform unauthorized attacks.
Use artificial intelligence and machine learning to bypass traditional security measures.
Provide attackers privileged access to a victim's computer system. Rootkits can be used to hide other types of malware, such as spyware or keyloggers, and can be challenging to detect and remove.
Is malware designed to collect sensitive information from a victim's computer system. This can include passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.
is a technique cybercriminals use to manipulate users to make them divulge sensitive information or perform actions that are not in their best interest.
Is a malware designed to capture keystrokes a victim enters on their computer system. This can include passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.
Are networks of compromised computers controlled by a single attacker. Botnets can launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, steal sensitive information, or perform other malicious activities.
Is malware designed to steal sensitive information and spread it to other computers on a network. Emotet is often spread through phishing emails and can be very difficult to detect and remove.
Is malware that displays unwanted advertisements on a victim's computer system. Adware can be annoying and disruptive, but it's generally less harmful than other types of malware.
Doesn’t rely on files to infect a victim's computer system. Instead, fileless malware executes malicious code using existing system resources, such as memory or registry keys.
Target individuals or organizations using highly targeted and personalized emails. Angler phishing attacks can be difficult to detect and are often successful in stealing sensitive information.
Is a cyberattack characterized by long-term, persistent access to a victim's computer system. APT attacks are highly sophisticated and difficult to detect and remove.