Types of Cyber Attacks

What Are the Main Types of Cyber Attacks on Businesses?

There are several different threats that many companies face. This informative guide breaks down the common types of cyber attacks.

As businesses have moved further into the digital space, so have their assets. This is a fact that hasn’t gone ignored by unethical opportunists. Fortunately, the majority of these attacks focus on a handful of specific routes of ingress.

For example, did you know that an incredible 255 million phishing attacks were reported in 2022? That’s a 61% increase from 2021. You don’t have to be a genius to guess how these statistics will pan out for 2023.

If you'd like to learn more about the different types of cyber attacks to look out for, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out more!

Types of Cyber Attacks

A cyber attack is what it’s called when someone targets your system with malicious intent. Depending on the criminal’s goal, there are a few different methods for them to achieve it. It can be difficult to protect your business without understanding what to look out for and defend against.

Thankfully, forewarned is forearmed in the realms of cyber security. When you’re aware of the most likely avenues of attack, they’re a lot easier to mitigate. The majority of attacks utilize the weakest point of the system; the human using it.

The weak link when seeking to infiltrate a system is the user and their permissions. Typically any attempts to brute force access through programs are unrealistic. To simply crack a password the hardware and time required to do so isn’t a feasible option in the face of modern encryption.

Cyber Security

Phishing Attacks

The key to preventing cyber attacks is to make sure your employees know of them, and what to look out for. Criminals will target them directly in one form or another to allow second-party access. Phishing attacks are among the most common and easily avoided methods.

The idea behind a phishing attack is to lure an employee with access to your system into divulging information. The criminal does this by posing as someone they’re not in an attempt to gain access to sensitive information. For example, they can pose as your company's bank or even as another employee asking for information.

Ensuring everyone with access to the system has relevant training is imperative. Imposing a blanket ban stating never to release information to anyone, no matter who they are is a good start. This way your business is safe from low-effort phishing attacks, most of which can be reported and avoided as they occur.

Most commonly these attacks will be targeted directly to specific employees through email. The best practice is not to even open these emails, as they often contain links to information-harvesting pages. If an email seems in any way sketchy, it should simply be reported and deleted.

Malware Attacks

Malware is an umbrella term for any malicious software. These programs can be unwittingly installed onto a system and have a wide range of purposes depending on their goal. They’re usually disguised as software the user is already familiar with, or as an update to it.

In essence, anything downloaded onto a system could potentially be malware. This is why software downloads and updates must be managed by a technician. Allowing anyone to download programs onto business computers is a recipe for infection.

Malicious software is capable of recording keystrokes to steal passwords, lock and ransom nodes, and even remotely access webcams and microphones. Some even enable completely unrestricted remote viewing of everything being done on a computer. Whatever the type of malware, they’re a serious security and productivity concern.

Denial of Service Attacks

This type of attack doesn’t serve to steal information directly. Instead, the idea is to grind a system to a halt to prevent it from functioning at all. The attack can also be ransomed so that the company has to pay a fee for the attack to end.

Alternatively, it can be used by competitors to give a business a bad name during a crucial moment. The attack works by flooding a website or system with illegitimate requests to completely take up all available bandwidth. This means that all legitimate queries by customers or other employees will go unanswered, effectively freezing the system in its tracks.

A competent technician will be able to diagnose this quickly as the cause of intermittent website shutdowns. Analysis of traffic will indicate whether or not you’re experiencing an attack or if the problem lies elsewhere. Running a company is hard enough without having to deal with business cyber attacks, so be sure to always have a professional on hand in the event of an attack.

Employing someone with deep knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity careers is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. When it comes to business management in the modern age, protection is of paramount importance for success. Having a small team of experts on call to help combat potential threats will pay for itself time and time again.

Safety First

The last thing any prospective business needs are more hoops to jump through. The importance of avoiding attacks and mitigating their damage speaks for itself. Companies and businesses alike have crumbled from data leaks, all from easily avoidable human error.

Avoiding the main types of cyber attacks is easy, and there are plenty of strategies you can implement to avoid disaster. The first step is to be aware, and put contingencies in place for the inevitable.

If you have any questions about cyber attacks and would like to learn more, contact us! We’d love to hear from you.

 Marcin Chmielewski - Blog Author 
He has extensive IT knowledge combined with enthusiasm for digital marketing.
His experience and knowledge come from many years of working for large corporations. Associated with Information Technology since the beginning of his career, he has qualifications in the fields of team management, Enterprise Architecture, IT Service Management, databases, application servers, and operating systems.
His hobbies include traveling, skiing, and hiking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  • 1. What is a cyber attack?
    The term "cyber attack" refers to any attempt by an individual or organisation to breach the security of a computer system or network. To obtain illegal access, steal information, or cause harm to the targeted system or network, cyber assaults are carried out.
  • 2. Which kinds of online attacks are most frequently seen?
    Cyberattacks come in many forms, but the most frequent are phishing, malware, ransomware, DoS, and man-in-the-middle. The goal of a phishing assault is to get the victim to expose private information by using social engineering techniques. In order to launch a malware assault, malicious software must first infect a machine. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a user's data and then demands money in exchange for a decryption key. Overloading a system with traffic is one method of launching a denial of service attack. Attacks in which a third party intercepts and modifies a conversation between two others are known as "man-in-the-middle" attacks.
  • 3. Who might be the target of a cyber attack?
    Each and every one of us who uses the internet or a linked gadget puts ourselves at danger of a cyber assault. Everybody from individuals to corporations to governments could be a victim. Some sectors, however, are more vulnerable than others because of the sensitive and lucrative nature of the data they manage, and these include the financial sector, the healthcare sector, and the energy sector.
  • 4. The question is, "How do I safeguard myself against a cyber assault?"
    If you take the necessary precautions, you can avoid being the victim of a cyber assault. Be wary about revealing personal information online, use strong and unique passwords, use antivirus software, avoid strange emails and links, and update software and operating systems periodically. If two-factor authentication is an option, use it to further secure your data and back it up routinely.
  • 5. If I am the target of a cyberattack, what should I do?
    If you've fallen victim to a cyber attack, you need to move quickly to contain the situation. You might need to change your passwords, unplug your device from the internet, file a police report, and get help from a specialist if you've lost data or your computer has been infected with malware. It's also a good idea to let friends, family, and coworkers know about the incident in case they were affected in any way.
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